By Adewale Kupoluyi
The Board of Trustees of International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), have appointed Prof. Appolinaire Djikeng as Director-General of ILRI and CGIAR Senior Director of Livestock-Based Systems.
In a statement, signed by David Aronson and made available to FarmingFarmersFarms, Prof. Djikeng is a globally-recognised expert in developing multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and global research and development programmes focused on agricultural development, livestock development, and human health.
He would take over the role from Dr. Shirley Tarawali, who is currently interim Director-General at ILRI. Dr. Tarawali assumed the lead from Dr. Jimmy Smith, who retired in December 2022 after 11 years of outstanding leadership.
‘‘I am deeply committed to the mission of ILRI and CGIAR. Livestock development is very close to me personally and it is a huge honour and privilege to take the helm of the world’s leading livestock research and development organisation, focused on improving outcomes for farmers, addressing challenges related to our environment and the sustainable use of natural resources, and delivering solutions to our increasingly vulnerable food systems”, Prof. Djikeng said.
Prof. Djikeng joined ILRI and CGIAR from the University of Edinburgh, where he is currently Professor and Chair of Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development, as well as the Director, Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), based at the Roslin Institute. He would retain his affiliation with the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh, to strengthen the partnership with ILRI and the CGIAR system.
The don previously worked with ILRI from 2009-2016 as Technology Manager and then Director of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA)-ILRI Hub. He has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Nelson Mandela Justice Award. He was also recognised by the Decade of Health as one of the 10 people in the United Kingdom changing health.
Dr. Elsa Murano, the Chair of ILRI’s Board of Trustees, said, “Livestock is the fastest growing sector in agriculture, and it is essential that its growth is sustainable and equitable. Prof. Djikeng’s research has been at the forefront of efforts to improve livestock systems and animal productivity for low-and middle-income countries. We are delighted to welcome a high-profile scientist and leader of Prof. Djikeng’s calibre whose exemplary leadership skills and scientific expertise will drive ILRI’s continuing success”.
In his new role, Prof. Djikeng would expand ILRI’s proven track record of impact, developing livestock sustainable systems that help nourish and sustain millions of people in low-and middle-income countries. He is to provide leadership and coordination of activities related to livestock systems across CGIAR and be part of the CGIAR Senior Leadership Team.
Dr. Claudia Sadoff, CGIAR Executive Managing Director, said, “Transforming food, land and water systems cannot be done without sustainably transforming the livestock sector. Livestock systems play a central role in CGIAR’s research agenda and Professor Djikeng’s record of strategic innovation, impact and cross-cutting research perfectly position him to champion livestock across CGIAR”.
Prof. Djikeng was born in Cameroon and is the first African to be appointed Director-General of ILRI and would assume the post on April 3, 2023. ILRI works to improve food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for better and more sustainable use of livestock.
ILRI is co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Ethiopia, has 14 offices across Asia and Africa while CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to transforming food, land and water systems in a climate crisis.
Its research is carried out by CGIAR Centres-Alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organisations, academia, development bodies and the private sector.