Functions of IITA, Location and Year of Establishment

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a prominent agricultural research institution that plays a vital role in enhancing food security and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in tropical regions. Established in 1967, IITA’s headquarters is located in Ibadan, Nigeria. Over the years, the institute has made significant contributions to agricultural research, development, and capacity building across the tropics. This article delves into the functions of IITA, its primary location, and its historical establishment.

Functions of IITA

Agricultural Research and Development:

IITA conducts cutting-edge research to develop sustainable agricultural practices, improve crop yields, and enhance the nutritional quality of staple crops. The institute focuses on key crops such as cassava, maize, yam, soybean, banana, and plantain, aiming to address food security challenges in the tropics.

Genetic Improvement of Crops:

One of IITA’s core functions is the genetic improvement of tropical crops. Through advanced breeding techniques and biotechnology, IITA develops improved crop varieties that are resistant to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses, thereby increasing productivity and resilience.

Pest and Disease Management:

IITA conducts research to understand the dynamics of pests and diseases affecting tropical crops. The institute develops integrated pest management strategies and biocontrol methods to reduce crop losses and minimize the use of chemical pesticides.

Soil and Water Management:

The institute focuses on sustainable soil and water management practices to enhance soil fertility, improve water use efficiency, and promote conservation agriculture. These practices help to ensure long-term agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.

Capacity Building and Training:

IITA provides training and capacity-building programs for farmers, researchers, and agricultural professionals. These programs aim to disseminate knowledge, improve skills, and promote the adoption of innovative agricultural technologies.

Policy Advocacy and Outreach:

IITA engages in policy advocacy and outreach activities to influence agricultural policies and practices at local, national, and international levels. The institute works with governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders to promote policies that support sustainable agricultural development.

Partnerships and Collaboration:

IITA collaborates with a wide range of partners, including national agricultural research systems, international organizations, private sector entities, and donor agencies. These partnerships enhance the impact of IITA’s research and development efforts.

Location of IITA

IITA’s headquarters is located in Ibadan, Nigeria. The institute also has several regional hubs and research stations across Africa, including in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo, Ghana, and Zambia. These strategic locations enable IITA to address the diverse agricultural challenges faced by different regions within the tropics.

Year of Establishment

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture was established in 1967. Since its inception, IITA has grown to become a leading agricultural research institution, contributing significantly to the transformation of tropical agriculture and the improvement of livelihoods for millions of smallholder farmers.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has been at the forefront of agricultural research and development in the tropics since its establishment in 1967. With its headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria, and a network of regional hubs, IITA continues to play a crucial role in enhancing food security, improving crop productivity, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Through its multifaceted functions, IITA remains committed to addressing the pressing agricultural challenges of today and the future.

Exploring the Best Conservation Centers in Nigeria

Nigeria, known for its rich biodiversity and varied ecosystems, is home to numerous conservation centers dedicated to preserving its unique flora and fauna. These centers not only protect wildlife but also serve as educational and research hubs. Here, we explore some of the best conservation centers in Nigeria, highlighting their locations and contributions to conservation efforts.

1. Yankari National Park

Location: Bauchi State

Yankari National Park, one of Nigeria’s most renowned wildlife reserves, is located in the south-central part of Bauchi State. Covering an area of about 2,244 square kilometers, it is one of the largest wildlife parks in Nigeria. Established in 1956, Yankari is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, baboons, and buffaloes. The park is also famous for its warm springs, particularly the Wikki Warm Springs, which attract numerous visitors each year.

Yankari National Park plays a crucial role in conservation, particularly for the African elephant. It is one of the few places in Nigeria where these majestic creatures can still be seen in their natural habitat. The park also offers educational programs and guided tours to raise awareness about wildlife conservation.

2. Gashaka Gumti National Park

Location: Taraba and Adamawa States

Gashaka Gumti National Park, straddling the border between Taraba and Adamawa states, is Nigeria’s largest national park, covering about 6,731 square kilometers. This park, established in 1991, is a vital conservation area for a range of species, including the endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, leopards, and various bird species.

The park’s diverse habitats, from montane forests to savannahs, make it a haven for biodiversity. Gashaka Gumti National Park also supports numerous research projects, particularly on primates and other endangered species. The park’s mountainous terrain offers stunning landscapes, including the Gashaka Mountain, which is the highest peak in Nigeria.

3. Cross River National Park

Location: Cross River State

Cross River National Park, situated in Cross River State, is another critical conservation area in Nigeria. The park comprises two divisions: the Okwangwo and Oban sectors, covering a combined area of about 4,000 square kilometers. This park is renowned for its dense tropical rainforest, which is one of the oldest and most diverse rainforests in Africa.

The park is home to several endangered species, including the Cross River gorilla, Nigeria’s rarest primate, and the drill monkey. Cross River National Park also houses various bird species, reptiles, and amphibians. Conservation efforts here focus on protecting the rainforest and its inhabitants through anti-poaching initiatives and community education programs.

4. Okomu National Park

Location: Edo State

Okomu National Park, located in Edo State, is one of the smaller yet significant conservation areas in Nigeria, covering about 200 square kilometers. The park is a remnant of the rich rainforest that once covered southern Nigeria and is home to various species, including forest elephants, leopards, and the white-throated monkey.

Okomu National Park is also a sanctuary for birdwatchers, with over 150 bird species recorded. The park’s management focuses on protecting the remaining rainforest and promoting sustainable tourism. Educational programs and community involvement are key aspects of the park’s conservation strategy.

5. Lekki Conservation Centre

Location: Lagos State

Lekki Conservation Centre, situated in Lagos State, is one of the most accessible and popular conservation centers in Nigeria. Established by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in 1990, this 78-hectare nature reserve provides a unique opportunity to experience Nigeria’s wetlands and forests within an urban setting.

The center is home to various species, including monkeys, crocodiles, and numerous bird species. One of the main attractions at Lekki Conservation Centre is the canopy walkway, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the forest and its inhabitants. The center also conducts educational programs and workshops to raise awareness about environmental conservation.

6. Kainji Lake National Park

Location: Niger and Kwara States

Kainji Lake National Park, straddling the border between Niger and Kwara states, covers about 5,340 square kilometers and includes the Borgu and Zugurma game reserves. Established in 1979, the park is centered around Kainji Lake, which was created by the Kainji Dam on the Niger River.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and various bird species. Kainji Lake National Park also supports fishing communities and conducts research on the ecological impact of the dam and lake. Conservation efforts focus on protecting the diverse ecosystems and promoting sustainable use of natural resources.

7. Jos Wildlife Park

Location: Plateau State

Jos Wildlife Park, located in Jos, Plateau State, is a popular conservation center and tourist attraction. Established in 1956, the park covers about 8 square kilometers and is home to various species, including lions, hyenas, pythons, and ostriches.

The park also features a museum, picnic areas, and guided tours, making it an educational destination for families and schools. Jos Wildlife Park plays a significant role in wildlife conservation and environmental education in the region.

8. Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Cross River State

Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Cross River State, is dedicated to the conservation of the endangered Cross River gorilla and other primates, such as the drill monkey. The sanctuary covers about 100 square kilometers and features the rugged terrain of the Afi Mountains.

Conservation efforts at Afi Mountain focus on anti-poaching measures and habitat protection. The sanctuary also collaborates with local communities to promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

9. Erin Ijesha Waterfall Conservation Area

Location: Osun State

Erin Ijesha Waterfall, also known as Olumirin Waterfall, is located in Osun State and serves as both a tourist attraction and a conservation area. The waterfall cascades through seven levels, surrounded by lush greenery and diverse wildlife.

The conservation area around Erin Ijesha Waterfall aims to protect the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region. Efforts include promoting eco-tourism and educating visitors about the importance of environmental conservation.

10. Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) Headquarters

Location: Lagos State

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) headquarters, located in Lagos State, is a hub for conservation activities in Nigeria. The NCF, established in 1980, focuses on biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and sustainable development.

The NCF headquarters features a nature reserve, research facilities, and educational programs. The foundation works on various conservation projects across Nigeria, including habitat restoration, wildlife protection, and community-based conservation initiatives.


Nigeria’s conservation centers are vital for protecting the country’s rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems. From the dense rainforests of Cross River National Park to the urban oasis of Lekki Conservation Centre, these centers play a crucial role in preserving wildlife and promoting environmental awareness. Through continued support and sustainable practices, these conservation efforts can ensure that Nigeria’s natural heritage is preserved for future generations.



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