Director General

Breaking ground in Lusaka

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Hon. Rogers Mwewa, representing VP Guy Scott, unveiling the IITA-SARAH commemorative marker

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Hon. Rogers Mwewa, representing VP Guy Scott, unveiling the IITA-SARAH commemorative marker

Welcome to my blog! This is my first official blog post so I hope you will bear with me if I do not get this right the first time.

Almost a month ago, I – along with several members of IITA’s management and the Vice Chair of the IITA Board of Trustees – was at our Southern Africa Regional Hub in Lusaka, Zambia for two things: a management retreat, and for the “birth” of SARAH. In this blog, I want to talk about the latter. SARAH is not a person – SARAH is short for the Southern Africa Research and Administration Hub.

At the moment, our Southern Africa Hub office is a cramped, rented two-storey house from which more than 20 research and support staff operate. Not a very ideal situation, is it? However, with the completion of the first buildings of our permanent SARAH facilities by next year, we would be able to more effectively and efficiently carry out IITA’s mission and vision in Southern Africa.

At SARAH’s groundbreaking ceremony (the “birth” that I was referring to earlier), we invited the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia to grace the event. Unfortunately, he had to attend another official function, so he sent a representative in his stead – Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Hon. Rogers Mwewa.

To mark the occasion, the Hon Mwewa unveiled SARAH’s dedication plaque. I also had the honor of planting a tree with the honorable deputy minister, along with other important partners, to signify our commitment to improving the land and the lives of its people through agricultural research. On the side, we were also treated to some very energetic (read: flipping-through-the-air) cultural dances, displays and exhibitions, and a taste of different food items made from soybean, cassava, and cowpea. Overall, it was a significant and memorable event.

Just to give you an idea of what we’re building here: it will be a 50-hectare research, training, outreach, and business support campus. It will have state-of-the-art laboratories for natural resource management, agronomy and crop physiology, pest management, social sciences, plant breeding, biotechnology, GIS, crop utilization, and nutrition. It will also have facilities for producing high-value cassava-based products, postharvest and tissue culture, modern greenhouses, a fabrication workshop for labor-saving agricultural machinery as well training space for students, producers, processors, and other actors along the priority value chains.

There will also be a 3C (comprehensive, computerized, and connected) Knowledge Center that could accommodate about 50 people. A student hostel, recreation facilities, and secured parking area will complete the ensemble. In addition, our long-term vision is to establish two testing sites in Zambia, representing the more humid zones (northern Zambia) and dry savanna (Zambezi valley) of southern Africa.

We plan to build SARAH in phases – under the first phase, which will be completed by the last quarter of 2014, we will have built the administration building, the greenhouses, and the machinery fabrication facilities. Once completed, this will enable us to transfer our operations from our current temporary office. The rest of SARAH’s facilities will follow within 5 years. I encourage you to follow my blog for updates as SARAH “grows”.
Thank you for finding time to read through my first blog entry. I welcome comments, suggestions, and “constructive criticisms” to help me improve. I’ll get better at this, I promise! Talk to you again soon.

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  • Reply
    Peter Kolawole
    October 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you sir for renewing agricultural research glory in AFRICA.

  • Reply
    Niyi Oyatomi
    October 19, 2013 at 3:47 am

    This is a great achievement in the path progress for agricultural research in Africa,congratulations sir.We are proud to be part of this.

  • Reply
    Josiah Adeyemi
    October 21, 2013 at 7:56 am

    This is great. I really love your hardwork. You are good leader sir

  • Reply
    Okonjo Jeremiah
    October 22, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Sir, you are making tremendous impact in the area of agricultural reform and the impact is being felt by everyone. Kudos sir…

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thank you sir for this blog post, i am happy that the machinery fabrication facilities are coming in the first phase of SARAH because there is an urgent need for it as we know that post harvest\ processing equipments are very important in processing. In Zambia, the cost of materials and charges for fabrication of post harvest equipments and machineries by local fabricators are quite HIGH.So with the machinery \equipments facilities, the cost incurred in the fabrication processes will drastically reduce as compared with the charges offered by local fabricators.

  • Reply
    Sam Ofodile
    October 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Great news indeed following success of science building in the Eastern hub. I also saw a lot of work going on in Kinshasa. IITA really is making great stride under your able leadership. Keep it up sir, we are really happy to be associated with IITA.

  • Reply
    AGBODZAVU Komi Mawufe
    October 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    We are very happy for this tremendous achievement. We as NARS scientists, we hope to benefit from cooperation in leading IITA research activities. You are doing great.

  • Reply
    olanrewaju olateju
    October 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Sir, i really appreciate the good work you are doing as far as Agriculture is concern in Africa. You are a very good leader. Sir keep the good work going. Well-done sir.

  • Reply
    Owolabi Goke Timothy
    November 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Go forward! We’ll soon be exporting large quantity of agricultural products to various continents as a result of these innovative researches.

  • Reply
    Owolabi Goke timothy
    November 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Carry on! God’ll help.

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  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Sir, am really appreciate SARAH initiatives.

  • Reply
    Oke Bolanle
    November 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Great ! you are doing a good job Sir, You have eyes for good things and you are a great achiever with all these tremendous changes we see in our immediate environment and the ones we read and hear in other IITA hubs. We are proud and happy to work with you Sir in researching to alleviate poverty and hunger in Africa.

  • Reply
    Ebenezer olaleye
    November 21, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Thank God for Vision, you will NOT fail

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    Ebenezer olaleye
    November 21, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Thank God for your vision, you will NOT fail

  • Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm


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    Olusegun Adunoye
    November 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Numerology in the bible teaches us that 7 is a number of perfection(the world was made in seven days; seven pillars of wisdom; seven Spirit of God, to mention a few). The 7th Director General of IITA is doing amazingly well, not only on SARAH, but on all the fronts without exception. This is a glorious moment for Africa. How i wish the governments of Africa wake up to their responsibilities on aggressive extension services and collaborative works with IITA to drive in the research findings to the final end users – African farmers. You are doing excellently well, Your Excellency. May the Lord God bless and keep you, cause His face to shine upon you and grant you peace. May the Almighty God give you wisdom, good health and favor as you continue to drive the R4D agenda for the betterment of Africa and the world.

  • Reply
    sola adeleke
    December 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Well, all can say is that, Nteranya Sanginga is Jesus of our time in IITA, I will just pray for you that, God in His infinite mercy will give you good and sound health to finish all your good works. Not only Africa but the world will feel the impact of IITA both in research and Food supplies.

  • Reply
    Akinlabi Israel Tomide
    December 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    with this few and short time I have use in IITA, you have really try sir. Keep it up

  • Reply
    Akinlabi Israel Tomide
    December 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    u have really try sir, keep it up

  • Reply
    Dr Olawale Olayide
    December 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you for boosting agricultural development and social entrepreneurship in Africa.

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