Guiding principles for research

IITA aims to improve food systems in sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainable manner through the following:

• Adopting a "systems" orientation throughout the institute to identify and focus on the critical components of the system and put together improved elements from different disciplines. This includes:

o Giving high priority to the sustainable management of natural resources, the preservation of biodiversity, and the strengthening of system resilience in the face of socioeconomic and environmental changes. o Conducting research in areas such as social science, soil and crop management, enhanced post-harvest utilization and food safety, and breeding for increased production, quality, and tolerance to various stresses. o Undertaking crop improvement activities on all crops as required to fulfill the eco-regional mandate, with special emphasis on cassava, maize, and soybean for Africa, and cowpea, plantain and banana, and yam at the global level. o Protecting and preserving what is produced by using the institute's capacity to deal with introduced pests through biological control, and with endemic pests, including post-harvest pests, through integrated pest management. o Shifting emphasis to higher external input use and sustainable strategies for land-use and agricultural intensification as alternatives to slash-and-burn cultivation and other forms of subsistence agriculture, and decreasing the emphasis on low external input strategies, on which IITA has more than 30 years of research experience.

• Analyzing market opportunities for existing and novel value-added products and developing appropriate post-harvest systems, resulting in commercially viable farm and agro-industrial enterprises.

• Evaluating and developing specific policy issues that help regional bodies and national and local governments create an environment conducive to agricultural development, reduce poverty, and limit the effects of major human diseases and global warming.

• Defining and using poverty indicators to ensure that the institute's research and related activities have a positive, sustainable impact on the livelihoods and well-being of low-income people.

• Exploring fully the benefits derived from the optimal use of modern science, information technology and collaborative alliances.

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