A. Hugh Bunting, Chairman of IITA’s Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1979, wrote a report on training for staff of national programs in 1986. Bunting indicated that these trainees constituted a living link between IITA and its national research systems—one that may be reinforced but never replaced by publications, conferences, and other forms of communication.

In January 1970, only three years after Decree no. 32 was passed, the Institute established a training committee. By the 20th, IITA’s first African trainee, M.A. Noor from Somalia, came to study field techniques for research on root and tuber crops. W. Hap Reeves was recruited in 1973 to become the head of training. By the end of that year, IITA had already provided training for 56 people from 13 different countries.

Now, 50 years later in 2017, the Capacity Development Office reports that more than 140,000 individuals have been trained by IITA from 68 countries, with more than 40,000 of them women (see table below). These professionals, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, advanced their knowledge and acquired skills directly through IITA training, and many others indirectly through the knowledge passed on to them.

In graduate studies, a total of 2,000 students have addressed a wide range of research topics. Of this number, 1,128 are MSc (67% male and 33% femaile) and 872 are PhD (73% male and
27% female) students. Likewise, more than 2,000 interns have benefited from the experience of IITA staff over the years. This does not include the undergraduate students who also benefit from IITA’s training scheme.

Many of the graduates from IITA’s training program are now leading research and development institutions in their home countries.

Sources:
Lawani, S. 1992. History and Evolution of IITA’s Scientific Program. Sustainable Food Production in sub-Saharan Africa. Ibadan, Nigeria.
Ortiz, Rodomiro, compiler. 2017. IITA: 50 years after. IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria. 120 pages.

IITA training by category and gender.

CategoryFemaleMaleTotal
Total42,934101,000 143,934
Group Training40,79397,610138,403
BSc69 102171
MSc3757531,128
PhD239 633872
Post-Doc14647
NARS Short-Term181685866
Internship/Volunteers1,2519432,194
Visiting Scientists25228253