Presentation of ITRAD

The Chadian Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (ITRAD) is a government-owned establishment of a scientific and technical nature (EPCST) with a legal status and financial autonomy. Created by Law No. 001/PR/98 of 27 January 1998, ITRAD has thus brought to an end the different structures and denominations of agricultural research in Chad. Its prerogatives cover the areas of plant, water and forest production, then agri-food technologies as well as agricultural policies, training and coordination of young national officers. It is placed under the administrative tutelage of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and depends essentially on national subvention from the public treasury.
ITRAD is a predominant component of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS). It fulfills its mandate in partnership with other institutions making up the system. As such, the NARS in Chad, like those in other African countries, has a certain number of challenges to face in a context of recurrent food insecurity and a galloping population growth, forced by the climate change phenomenon that has more and more significant negative effects on agricultural production.
In spite of the adoption in 1993 of the National Long-Term Plan for Agricultural Research (PNLTRA) in Chad, then in 2002, the Medium-Term Plan for Agricultural Research (PMRTA 1) for the period 2003-2007, agricultural research in Chad has remained very limited in its capacity to support the agricultural policies in the country.

Drawing lessons from the ineffective implementation of PMTRA I, ITRAD, supported by the development partners, since 2007 got engaged in a process of institutionally transferring its methods, practices and functional relations.
It is as such that a critical interpretation of PMTRA I was done and this led to the preparation of the Second Medium-Term Plan for Agricultural Research in Chad (PMTRA II) for the period 2010 to 2014. In order to facilitate an effective and efficient implementation of activities, ITRAD, with the assistance of FAO, prepared an Operational Plan for the implementation of PMTRA II.
In effect, before 1998, the year ITRAD was created, agricultural research in Chad experienced some initial difficulties concerning the real status it should have been given as well as the roles it should have been assigned. Here, allusion is made to the real role of knowledge and technology production with the view to developing a sustainable agriculture in Chad, rich in land and hydro-agricultural resources but that are under-exploited.

Thanks to the support from the high authorities of the country, research has made an appreciable progress in response to the resources placed at its disposal; ITRAD revised its first medium-term plan that led to a second one. Different research themes have been implemented as well as publications from researchers that have resulted from it. Seed production that comes to support the development structures, in the past four years, has experienced an exponential evolution. This shows that agricultural research in Chad has made a significant leap in its performance both in quality and quantity.
Also, in a context of climate change where agricultural production Is more and more endangered by the poor rainfall distribution both in time and space, researchers are solicited all the more to propose alternatives. That means to develop or introduce knowledge and technologies adapted to this new challenge that is climate change. To do that, it is necessary and indispensable to build the capacities of the institution in financial, material resources as well as in highly qualified staff. For the moment, the annual budget of ITRAD is about 3 billion, with the majority of its equipment outdated and a scientific staff of less than 50.
The main source of financing the institution is the government. To that must be added the scientific and technical partners such as the Cooperation and Cultural Action Service (SCAC) of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CORAF/WECARD, Africa Rice Center, the Sahel Institute (INSAH), etc.

3.1. Production of plant material

For lack of specialized structures, ITRAD is also in charge of the production of plant material. This activity consists of multiplying seed grain and seedlings in a way that makes them accessible to producers.
This presentation only mentions seed production to illustrate the efforts made in this sector in the past four years (Fig. 2).
ITRAD’s food crop seed production is done at three levels: (i) production of pre-base seeds, (ii) production of first reproduction seeds (R1). The production of pre base and base seeds comes under the prerogatives of ITRAD. However, pre base seeds are produced in controlled environment, but outside the stations: this activity is also carried out at institutionally supported farms. In addition, the production of R1 seeds is also done by ITRAD due to the lack of institutions that are specialized in that area.

The production of the R1 seed appears to be the most interesting insofar as it is intended for the farmers directly. Each year, ITRAD makes the necessary efforts to increase the production of this category of seeds in order to respond to the needs of the producers of improved seeds. In four years, the effort made has increased from about 169 tonnes in 2007 to 1, 768 tonnes in 2010 that is a little more than 10 times the production in the year under reference (2007). It must also be emphasized that the production of the previous years were well below those of the year under the reference mentioned in this summary (Fig above).
Al the financial level, from 2006, the government made an important effort by increasing the budget allocated to ITRAD (Fig 2). It is worth emphasizing that the institution’s budget is essentially based on government subvention.
However it evolves in a checkered manner. From 2008, its own revenue contributed in an increasing way to the institutions annual budget. The contribution of conventions with the partners is certainly distinguishing itself but it is how, irregular an on the decrease over a period of six years.

3.2. Some projects and /or programmes implemented by ITRAD

ITRAD is implementing some projects and/or programme to achieve its objectives in the area of agricultural research. One can mention among others, the projects on:
“Improvement of the productivity of Maize (Zea mays L) and its distribution though the promotion of technologies on the Integrated management in the Savannahs of Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad.”
“The network of analysis of factors limiting food production, diversification of agriculture and access to markets (AFOMDnet)”
“Improvement in the Competitiveness of Rice in Central Africa CFC/FIGR/14”