IITA Board of Trustees spring meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania
23 May 2019
The Board of Trustees of IITA convened in Arusha, Tanzania, from 6 to 10 May, for their annual spring meeting. This was to enable them to familiarize themselves with the Institute’s research activities in that part of the country as well as conducting their usual business of keeping abreast of developments at the Institute and guiding its future.
During the meeting, the Board members dedicated one and a half days of their program to tour IITA’s research sites and meet partners and the hub management and staff, led by Victor Manyong, Director for IITA Eastern Africa hub, who went all out to prepare for the field visits.
This included a visit to the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) where the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Emmanuel Luoga and IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue collaboration. During the event, Prof Rony Swennen, head of IITA’s banana breeding program, made a presentation on IITA activities in central and northern Tanzania to the board members and IITA senior management.
Thereafter they toured the IITA banana research program laboratories and fields and met the team led by Allan Brown, a banana breeder based at NM-AIST, who explained their work.
They also travelled to the Africa RISING research sites in Babati, Manyara Region and met with the project’s staff led by the chief scientist Prof Benda, partners, and beneficiaries of this research project that seeks to sustainably intensify agricultural production to tackle hunger and poverty.
Other events that took place during the Board of Trustees meeting in Arusha was the official signing of a Technology Transfer and Licensing Agreement (TTLA) with a private company, A to Z Textile Mills Limited, on the commercialization of AlfasafeTZ01 in Tanzania. The agreement was signed by the Mr Kalpesh Shah, CEO of A to Z company and IITA Deputy Director General, Kenton Dashiell, during a cocktail ceremony hosted by the Board.
With this, Tanzania joins three other countries, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal, in which IITA has transferred Aflasafe products and technology to a private company for commercialization and distribution to farmers.
The IITA-EA hub also hosted a dinner for the board members, IITA senior management, and all the IITA staff from the hub involved in preparation for the event during which, the hub director, thanked the IITA staff that had worked hard to ensure the board meeting was a success. The Board members also listened to young upcoming scientists at the hub—Christopher Mutungi, Everlyne Wosula, and Harun Muthuri based in Tanzania and Valentine Nakato based in Uganda.
The IITA Board meets twice a year; the first is usually held in different stations and countries that the Institute is working in to enable the Board members to get first-hand experience of the Institute’s research activities and meet partners. The second meeting is held at IITA headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria.