More VIPs plant trees

As IITA becomes increasingly ‘centre stage’ as the leading research partner in finding solutions to hunger, malnutrition and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, more top-level visits and meetings are taking place at the Ibadan HQ.  One item that is always on the agenda is a visit to the Forest Reserve and a look at Forest Project activities.  VIP visitors in July included Dr. Carlos Pérez del Castillo, Chair of the CGIAR Consortium Board, Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Consortium Chief Executive Officer, and three CGIAR Directors General, namely Dr. Papa Seck  (AfricaRice), Dr. Tony Simmons (World Agroforestry Center) and Dr. Jimmy Smith (International Livestock Research Center).  Joining the IITA team to welcome the dignitaries was Dr. Bruce Coulman, Chair of the IITA Board.  After a group visit to the Forest Project, Drs. Coulman and Smith returned for a more leisurely walk in the forest with Deni Bown, following which Dr Coulman gave a donation to the Project for a tree to be planted. On 26 July a sapling silk cotton tree or àràbà (Ceiba pentandra) was planted opposite an entrance to the forest to commemorate his visit.

Another VIP tree planting took place on 22 August, this time by Dr Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) who was accompanied by Dr Florence Wambugu, Chielf Executive Officer, Africa Harvest. This time the tree was akálà (Pouteria alnifolia) which has edible fruits and large leaves which are used for wrapping forest products such as cola nuts.

VIPs plant more trees


African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon)

The African whitewood (Triplochiton scleroxylon), known as arere in Yoruba and obeche in Bini, is a large fast-growing tree, reaching 65 m (213 ft), usually with a straight trunk and buttresses up to about 8 m (26 ft) high. It belongs to the family Sterculiaceae and is common in semi-deciduous rainforests from Sierra Leone to Gabon and Congo, including secondary forests where it may fill gaps as a pioneer species.

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