IITA’s first project involving research cooperation was established in 1971 with the Overseas Development Administration in the UK. The project focused on grain legume physiology and root development.
In the same year, the Institute collaborated with CIMMYT (the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) to help plan the national maize improvement program of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also around the same time, Liberia and Sierra Leone requested for assistance with rice projects, and IITA sent missions to Ghana and Togo. For the next two years, IITA was also involved with the Nigerian Accelerated Food Production Project.
By 1973, IITA had appointed James Moomaw as the assistant director for what they called the Outreach Program, intended to increase the number of collaborative projects rapidly. Moomaw developed a statement of objectives and outlined a strategy for guiding partnerships. A year after his appointment, 20 scientists were already assigned to collaborative projects in Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zaire.
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: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture and Nourishing Rural Development,. IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria. 110 pages.