Appolinaire Djikeng named new ILRI boss

Appolinaire Djikeng

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng has been appointed the new director General of the International Livestock Research Institute and CGIAR Senior Director of Livestock-Based Systems.

The establishment of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and international research and development initiatives centered on agricultural development, animal development, and human health is a field in which Professor Djikeng is a recognised expert.

Following his appointment, Dr Shirley Tarawali, the ILRI's interim director general, will step down to make way for him in the position. Dr Jimmy Smith, who served as the organisation's leader for 11 years before retiring in December 2022, was succeeded as CEO by Dr. Tarawali.

"I am deeply committed to the mission of ILRI and CGIAR. Livestock development is very close to me personally and it is a huge honor 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," Professor Djikeng said.

He joins ILRI and CGIAR from the University of Edinburgh, where he is a Professor and Chair of Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development and the Director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH).

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 ten people in the United Kingdom changing health.

Dr. Elsa Murano, the Chair of ILRI's Board of Trustees, welcomed the Professor's appointment, whose exemplary leadership skills and scientific expertise will drive ILRI's continuing success.'

"Livestock is the fastest growing sector in agriculture, and it is essential that its growth is sustainable and equitable. Professor 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 Professor Djikeng's calibre whose exemplary leadership skills and scientific expertise will drive ILRI's continuing success," Dr Murano said.

Professor Djikeng will broaden the established track record of the effect of ILRI in his new position by creating sustainable livestock systems that help feed and maintain millions of people in low- and middle-income nations. He will serve as a member of the CGIAR Senior Leadership Team and manage and coordinate initiatives about livestock systems across the CGIAR.