China has stepped up efforts to deepen collaboration with Africa in the area of agricultural development by exploring cooperation with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). This was reported by IITA in late March 2016.
China’s Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), the agency that is promoting the collaboration with IITA, sees the partnership as a win-win situation for both China and Africa, as the latter seeks ways to improve food security and create jobs for the growing youth population.
Under the proposed framework for CATAS and IITA collaboration, both parties agree to work together on crop improvement especially cassava, banana/plantain, spices, vegetables and cocoa. The framework will also see Africa-China student and researcher exchange programmes that are to engender learning and capacity development.
Other areas include but are not limited to germplasm exchange and upstream research, such as the development of molecular markers, genomics, mechanisation, and breeding of cassava resistant to cassava mosaic disease and cold tolerant cassava varieties.
The IITA-CATAS collaboration is part of IITA’s strategy to deepen partnership between the North and South. In Nigeria, IITA and CATAS will be working with GAWAL—a private Chinese agricultural firm—on several agricultural issues. GAWAL has also offered to serve as a link between IITA and other Chinese agricultural solution providers.