A Nigerian University Don, Prof. Lateef Sanni, has been re-elected for a second term as the President of the International Society For Tropical Root Crops, African Branch (ISTRC-AB) at the just concluded 13th triennial international symposium of the society in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
In a keenly contested election rounding off the one-week symposium, Sanni, who is the Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, emerged as the President while Dr Kiddo Mtunda, elected as the First Vice President.
Others were Dr Pheneas Ntawuruhunga, Secretary, Dr Simon Eze, Assistant Secretary, Dr Elizabeth Parkes, Treasurer, Dr Richard Okechukwu, Editor- In- Chief, Dr Godwin Asumugha, Associate Editor, and Dr Bosola Oladeinde as Fund Raising Officer.
Other elected officers for another two years were Dr Nzola Mahungu, Dr Robert Asiedu, Chief Alfred Dixon, Dr Peter Kulakow, as Ex-Officio while Dr Kanayo Chukwuka, Kwame Ogero and Ms Moita Nassy Laurentine Marielle, Vito Sandifolo, got elected for Western, Eastern, Central and Southern Africa respectively.
In his acceptance speech, Sanni promised that the team would redouble their efforts in uplifting the standard of the Society in order to meet up with the set objectives.
He said the Society has commenced capacity building for their early career scientists, especially on proposal writing and increased interactions among scientists from around the world working on all tropical root and tuber crops.
Sanni said “let us take advantage of other minor but resilience root and tuber crops that offer to our farmers and develop ambitious research and development plans to bring these crops into mainstream food basket into the market channels of our countries and Research for Development to build them into bastions of food security and income generation’’.
The International Society for Tropical Root Crops, African Branch (ISTRC-AB) symposia serves as a unique platform and a non-profit making professional society for interaction among scientists from all over the world.
The Society was created to foster, stimulate and support any type of activity leading to the general improvement of world tropical root crop production and utilization.
It is the avenue for leading African and world scientists, policy makers, emerging farmers, private entrepreneurs and funding agencies of research for development working on tropical root crops to meet, share current outputs, decide future strategies and make wide-ranging decisions on the position of tropical root crops on the global agenda.
It is said that total production of roots and tuber crops in Sub-Saharan Africa was estimated as 254 million tonnes/annum in 2012 (FAOSTAT, 2013); of this, cassava (Manihot esculenta) was the most important with a production of 132 million tonnes/annum followed by yam (Dioscorea spp.) at 56 million tonnes/annum and sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) at 17 million tonnes/annum.
Over 300 registered participants including the world President of the society, Prof Tomlin Keiths, attended the symposium from 21 countries with over 334 abstracts received were presented by the scientists during the symposium.
The countries include Germany, Switzerland, France, UK, USA, South Africa, Colombia, DR Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Ghana, Benin, CAR, Sierra Leone, Cote d`ivoire, India, Burkinafaso, Cameroun, Malawi and the host country, Tanzania, Burundi and Peru.
The symposium has as its theme “Expanding Collaboration, Catalyzing Innovation of Root Crops for Accelerating Africa’s Economic Growth’’ and Zambia will host the 14th edition.
Other highlights of the symposium were award of recognition for outstanding leadership and contributions to the development of root and tuber crops in Africa given to The Director general of IITA, Dr N. Saginga, Chief Alfred Dixon, Dr Npoko Bokanga, Dr Nzola Mahungu, Dr Robert Asiedu, Prof. Malachy Akoroda, Dr Regina Kapinga, Nobel Laurette Dr Andrade Maria and Dr Kennet Nwosu (Post humous).