Grave concerns persist for some 20 million people in the Sahel. Recurrent conflict, erratic weather patterns, epidemics and other shocks continue to weaken the resilience of households across a region still suffering chronic levels of food insecurity and malnutrition.
An estimated 20.4 million people remain food insecure at the start of 2015. At least 2.6 million people have already crossed the crisis threshold, 70 percent of whom are in Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Chad where insecurity and poverty compound food insecurity.
Epidemics continue to demand urgent attention in 2015. Besides cholera, meningitis, Lassa and yellow fever, more recently, Ebola has been posing a serious threat to the Sahel region and has already impacted Mali, Nigeria, and Mali directly.
Beyond the chronic threats of food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics, violent conflict in and around the Sahel region has led to a surge in population displacement. The region begins 2015 with some 2.8 million people displaced; over a million more than in early 2014. With escalating conflict in northeast Nigeria, an estimated one million people have been internally displaced. Some 150,000 Nigerian refugees have fled to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The volatile security situation in northern Mali continues to have a devastating impact on civilians, hampering the return of refugees, affecting markets and preventing the full restoration of basic services. Some 133,000 Malian refugees remain in Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso and more than 80,000 Malians remain internally displaced. As in Nigeria, high levels of insecurity in northern Mali also greatly impact the ability of humanitarians to access those in need. (Sahel: A call for humanitarian aid, 12 Feb 2015)
Appeals & Funding
- Sahel Strategic Response Plan (SRP) 2015 EN/FR
- Humanitarian Needs Overview EN/FR
- 2014-2016 Strategic Response Plans: Sahel Region EN/FR; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chad; Gambia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal
Nigeria has released two extra-early maturing maize hybrids with combined resistance/tolerance to Striga, drought, and low soil-nitrogen.
The extra-early hybrids, originally known as IITA Hybrid EEWH-21 and IITA Hybrid EEWH-26, are now designated Ife Maizehyb-5 and Ife Maizehyb-6. They were developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and tested extensively in Nigeria in partnership with the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) through the funding support of the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project.
Researchers have begun the dissemination of pro-vitamin A cassava varieties to rural households as part of efforts to tackle vitamin A deficiency in Nigeria.
Popularly known as yellow cassava, these new improved varieties hold part of the solution to Vitamin A deficiency in Africa. It is no longer news that vitamin A deficiency is widespread in Nigeria, afflicting about 20% of pregnant women and 30% of children below the age of 5. A deficiency in vitamin A leads to poor health, blindness, stunting, and even death.
Researchers and partners met at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan last week to draw a strategy for yam for Nigeria. The strategy aims to put yam on the national agenda as the oil-rich nation embarks on efforts to transform its agricultural sector.
IITA convened the meeting and participants were drawn from other national research institutes such as the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos; the agricultural development programs (ADPs), the private sector and other key stakeholders/actors in the yam value chain.
Researchers have identified maize parental lines and hybrids with high levels of drought tolerance among the early and the extra-early maturing maize genotypes developed and conserved by IITA.
This successful identification has led to the availability and the possibility of sustainable development of more resilient maize varieties with dual characteristics of escaping and tolerating drought in the near future.
Nigeria and 19 other African countries will directly benefit from the African Development Bank- funded initiative known as the Support for Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC), but the multiplier effect of the project is expected to affect other regional member countries in the continent.
Direct beneficiaries of the intervention include farmers in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Nigerian farmers have commended the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for giving them improved cassava planting materials.
The dissemination of the improved varieties is part of efforts by the Nigerian government under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda to boost cassava production and the incomes of farmers.
In Benue State, home to cassava production, farmers say they anticipate good yield from cassava this year, thanks to the availability of improved planting materials.
Burkina Faso has released two improved cowpea varieties to help advance better nutrition for women and children, and boost the incomes of farmers.
The two varieties, IT99K-573-2-1 and IT98K-205-8, were developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and have undergone participatory varietal selection with farmers in the central and northern region of Burkina Faso. Local farmers and researchers selected the varieties from a basket of options after a two-year trial, thanks to funds from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
The Oyo State Government has lauded efforts by researchers at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in successfully producing bread with 40 percent cassava flour that has similar eating qualities as 100% wheat flour bread. The innovation, if adopted, will help Nigeria—Africa’s largest oil producer—to save about $252 million annually, and improve the livelihoods of cassava farmers in the country. “We would like to commend IITA for the inclusion of high quality cassava flour in bread.
Ibadan, Nigeria; July 24, 2012: The Nigerian Government has released two new maize hybrids that can provide more vitamin A in the diets of millions in the country, raising optimism about stemming the menace of vitamin A deficiency in the years ahead, especially among children, pregnant women, and mothers. The provitamin A is converted by the body into vitamin A when the maize is eaten.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has offered Jigawa state improved cowpea and maize varieties, as part of efforts to help improve the fortunes of agriculture in that state.
The Institute also plans to backstop the newly established state-owned cassava starch industry, linking it to markets and also offering farmers improved cassava planting materials to ensure a steady supply of cassava roots to the factory
Three pro-vitamin A cassava varieties released in December 2011 were launched recently by the Nigerian government. IITA, in partnership with the National Root Crops Research Institute, Nigeria, developed these varieties using traditional breeding methods in a HarvestPlus-funded project.
The varieties were released by the National Variety Release Committee of Nigeria as UMUCASS 36, UMUCASS 37, and UMUCASS 38; and are recognized as IITA genotypes TMS 01/1368, TMS 01/1412, and TMS 01/1371.
IITA and partners recently launched the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project, supported by a US$12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project aims to boost yam productivity and double the incomes of three million yam small-holder farmers in West Africa. It will focus on increasing yields through better seed yam supply and improving markets for this underground, edible tuber.
Farmers in six African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania will benefit from the second phase of the Commercial Products (COMPRO-II) project, says Dr. Bernard Vanlauwe, Director for Natural Resource Management and Central Africa with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture today.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has commended the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for successfully leading efforts in developing provitamin A cassava varieties.
IBADAN, NIGERIA (2 APRIL 2012)—In one of the most ambitious efforts ever undertaken on behalf of an orphan crop like yam, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and a host of partners announced today a landmark new initiative to dramatically boost yam productivity and double the incomes of three million yam farmers in West Africa.
The consumption of pro-vitamin A cassava could help Nigeria reduce economic losses in Gross Domestic Product that is estimated at about $1.5billion, says the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga.
“But more than economic savings, it will also improve the nutrition of women and children who are the most vulnerable,” says Sanginga at the public presentation of pro-vitamin A varieties by the Nigerian government in Umudike on Friday.
Tapping research outputs from international agricultural research centers could help national and state governments to tackle the twin problems of food insecurity and the rising wave of unemployment, says the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga.
Faced with the challenge of food deficit, most governments in developing countries and especially Africa rely on food imports to meet local demands. Also the rising population in the region poses two important challenges: more mouths to feed and unemployment.
Nigerian farmers are getting cleaner seed yams that promise better harvests in the seasons ahead, thanks to the healthy seed yam producing technique by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
The healthy seed yam producing technique involves cutting tubers of yam into small sizes of between 50 and 100 grams, treating them with appropriate pesticides and insecticides before planting.
In Ekiti state, a yam producing region in Nigeria, farmers who participated in the healthy yam project in 2011 now have enough seed yams to plant this season.