Improving livelihoods across sub-Saharan Africa is IITA’s biggest priority. It is where the research meets the real world. Our Social Science and Agribusiness initiatives have a wide-reaching impact that enables us to put our biggest breakthroughs into use and see how they shape policy, production, and people’s lives.
Conducive policies and institutional support are necessary for smallholder producers to increase their income through better access to markets. We undertake gender-responsive research, and look at poverty reduction strategies and policy frameworks to ensure the impact of our research.
We work on enhancing nutritional quality of food products along the crop value chains, breeding for more nutritious crops, promoting health platforms, reducing occupational and health hazards, and improving water quality. We also develop and disseminate research for development (R4D) outputs that promote commercialization of agricultural products, stimulate effective private–public partnerships, and reduce the tedium and drudgery of field labor, especially among women, children, and the elderly.
Knowledge for all
As a key part of our strategy, our Social Science and Agribusiness directive focuses on sharing the information gathered during research, and using it strategically in the creation of agricultural policies and in making socioeconomic and business decisions. In line with IITA’s philosophy of unhindered access to knowledge generated through our research, people can use our discoveries to improve their livelihoods.
By focusing on turning farming activities into viable business operations IITA is giving people the tools they need to generate a sustainable income from agriculture.
Getting women and youths into agriculture is a key focus in much of our research-for-development activities. Improving livelihoods means that the agricultural sector will continue to grow across sub-Saharan Africa, and that farmers and rural communities can benefit from greater food security and a stronger economy.
Encouraging women and youths into agriculture is the final part of improving livelihoods. Youths and women are often underrepresented in the agricultural sector. Creating pathways for these groups into agriculture reduces unemployment by utilizing more of the region’s productive workforce. It also leads to greater innovation and creativity, and allows women especially to be more independent.
IITA works to improve the nutritional content of staple crops to make sure that the people who rely on them for food can get enough of a range of nutrients.
IITA’s Business Incubation Platform (BIP) takes innovations and accelerates them into commercial enterprises for public benefit.
IITA works with women to help them get the most from agriculture.
In 2011, IITA established the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) to get more youths into agriculture.