Some of IITA’s most important work is concerned with producing and keeping crops healthy. Plant Production and Health is a top priority for IITA. Pests, diseases, toxins, invasive flora, and damage all take their toll on crop yields leading to poor harvests and impacting farmers’ livelihoods as well as producing low-quality crops that pose health hazards to consumers. IITA uses a multifaceted approach to control and manage these issues.
By providing farmers with access to the latest information on such threats, and then giving them economical, environmentally-sustainable mechanisms to deal with them, IITA enables farmers to leverage their own solutions. Coupled with this is the creation and distribution of higher quality seeds, which help to negate some of these issues before they become a problem.
Overall IITA’s focus on making healthy crops ensures that farmers are aware of any threats and can act quickly and effectively to stop loss and keep their communities fed.
Healthy plants are vital to increasing agricultural productivity. Pests, disease, and weeds can reduce staple crop yields by at least 30%.
Distributing the latest, healthiest seeds to the food producers of sub-Saharan Africa is especially important to IITA. From farmers to private companies these seeds are the first step to healthy crops.
IITA has introduced aflasafeTM, a biocontrol product that drastically reduces aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts.