Dr. George Mavrotas, Head of the Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) Office of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), was invited by the senior management of IITA to participate as a guest speaker in the IITA 50th Anniversary Conference organized by IITA in its Headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria on 24 and 25 November 2017. This major international conference on the “Food Security Challenge for the Next 50 Year Cycle” was attended by more than 300 participants from all over the world as well as eminent personalities such as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, Director-General IITA, the entire Board of Trustees of IITA, and Prof. Monty Jones, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone and World Food Prize laureate (2004) among others. The above high-profile conference provided the opportunity to exchange ideas among experts on food and nutrition security future, strategies and opportunities, while mapping a roadmap for future research and delivery for IITA and its partners.
Dr. Mavrotas stressed in his speech the excellent partnership over the years between IFPRI and IITA and highlighted also IFPRI’s very substantial contribution to food security issues since its inception. He added that IFPRI’s research over the years has changed the way the international development community thinks about the links between agriculture and nutrition, and highlighted the synergies with health, education, gender, and social protection that can improve poor people’s health and nutrition. He also mentioned that IFPRI believes that by working together, the global community can sustainably defeat hunger and malnutrition. He concluded by saying that various partnership opportunities can be further explored also between IITA and IFPRI in Nigeria taking also into account the very substantial research and policy work that both Institutes have conducted in the country so far; and that this important conference provides an excellent platform to discuss partnership issues further and develop the partnership framework for further collaboration in the near future towards the successful transformation of African agriculture and a world free of hunger and malnutrition.