DG Sanginga inaugurates renovated IITA-Malawi offices
On his recent visit to Malawi, on 8-10 April, IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga inaugurated the newly refurbished offices and laboratories, applauding the hard work of the staff. The renovated offices now consist of a spacious reception area, 20 offices that can accommodate up to 35 staff, a new Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH) laboratory for rapid multiplication of cassava planting materials, a general pathology laboratory that will soon be equipped, a soybean seed store, general store, and a conference room.
Country Representative, Arega Alene, welcomed and briefed the DG who was accompanied by the Director of the Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS), Dr Wilkson Makumba, and the Director for IITA-Southern Africa hub, David Chikoye. Sanginga was informed that the station used internal revenue to renovate and transform the offices.
The DG could barely contain his joy on this visit to the Malawi station: “You really represent my vision for IITA; you are the best in IITA and I will try to find the means to support you.”
IITA came to Malawi in 1987 at the request of the then Southern Africa Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Training (SACCAR) on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to coordinate the East and Southern Africa Root Crops Research Network (ESARRN). ESARRN was responsible for coordinating activities in East and Southern Africa and maintaining an interdisciplinary approach to deal with major constraints to production and productivity of root crops in the region, such as the cassava mealybug. The first notable success achieved through ESARRN was the IITA-led biological control of the cassava mealybug in Malawi. The success of the program brought cassava into the mainstream of food policy debates in Malawi and neighboring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique.