In Western Africa, IITA works across six countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Ecologically, West Africa comprises various areas from the subhumid and mostly dry Guinea and Sudan savanna in the north to the more southern humid forests that receive ample rainfall.
Our mandate in Western Africa is to strengthen our R4D capacity in key farming systems located in these major agroecological zones, targeting farmers in various climates and pushing area-specific innovations. Therefore, in West Africa we want to consolidate the gains for cassava in lowland areas, enhance and diversify maize–legume farming system integration in the moist savannas, promote cereal, cowpea and livestock integration in the dry savannas, and develop high-value crops and enterprises suited to each of these different impact zones.
Our research facilities include laboratories for biotechnology, plant health sciences, GIS, biometrics, and crop utilization. The Hub hosts the Genetic Resources Center that conserves global accessions of crop species and their wild relatives and the world’s largest collection of cowpea. Similarly, the Biodiversity Center at our station in Benin maintains thousands of samples of insects, and is responsible for the largest collection of insects and microorganisms in West Africa.