On Wednesday, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan and German multinational Bayer launched a modern breeding project that would ensure yield improvement of important African food crops. Dr Michael Abberton, the Head of Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)-IITA’s Genetic Resources Center and the Project Lead, said the 30-month project would build a more effective plant breeding system.
The crops are cassava, maize, cowpea, banana, yam and soybean.
According to Abberton, the project is being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the cost of 1.2 million dollars.
“The project’s beneficiaries are the over 100 million smallholder farmers, who grow IITA’s mandate crops on about 60 million hectares in the humid to semi-arid zones of Sub-Saharan Africa. These cover countries such as Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia,” he said.