Prof. Lateef Sanni 10th President, ISTRC and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), FUNAAB

Prof. Lateef Sanni
10th President, ISTRC and
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), FUNAAB

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) Professor Lateef Sanni has emerged the President of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC).

Professor Sanni became the number one man of the society at its 18th Triennial Symposium, held between 22 – 25 October, 2018 in Cali, Colombia.

In his acceptance speech, the FUNAAB Don pledged to promote the spirit of excellence, integrity, innovations and global visibility of the society.

He also said that under his watch, he will integrate the activities of ISTRC Africa, Pacific and Asia branches.

Professor Sanni promised increased membership, promotion of young scientists, increase gender mainstreaming in its activities and encourage more private sector participation.

Other pledges are, to expand the inclusive networking, partnership and attributions of the society and synergise co-sponsorship and participations of activities of ISTRC, APA, GCP21, Harvestplus, RTB, Yam among others.

In his speech, the outgone President of the Society, Professor Keith Tomlins noted that the biggest contribution of research to root and tuber crops in the past 50 years has been in breeding and understanding of genetics leading to higher yielding varieties and combat of pest and diseases such as Cassava Mosaic Disease and more recently, Brown Streak.

According to Professor Tomlins, “Nutrition is now more considered to be more important than it was back in 1967 when root and tuber crops were seen as a source of carbohydrate. In 2018, we talk about the gluten free premium of root and tuber crops. Biofortified vitamin A rich sweet potato and cassava and other biofortified crops have been released in over 30 countries”.

He noted that Postharvest Losses are now recognized as an important factor being as high as 30% as well as the need for more nuanced socio-economic understanding; in particular the importance of gender.

Drawing from the theme of the symposium, “When, Where and How will Tropical Root and Tuber Crops Lead the Next Agri-Food Revolution”, He asked a rhetorical question that What of the next 50 years? He noted that “the future is up to all of us in the room today to make that future”.

“We have achieved much in the past 51 years as I have mentioned, and catastrophes have been averted. I strongly believe that we will continue to do the same and this meeting will be part of that,” he added.