History and traditions of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch
The International Society for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch (ISTRC-AB) was founded in 1978 by a few scientists who attended the ISTRC meetings far away in Thailand and could not see a large number of Africans because of the high cost of attendance. The urge to include many more Africans in the discourse of root and tuber crops created the feeling for an African branch of the society. The aims were basically the same but to date still remain and continue to be a parallel organisation. Plans to link the two have been tried many times but the difficulty of management was too high a cost in the earlier years. Maybe with the advent of the electronic devices and ICT, such mergers could in future be achieved. The totality of scientific publication on cereal crops are far much higher than for root and tuber crops that are mostly in the tropical countries with less resources for sustaining research on these crops.
History and Traditions
ISTRC-AB was established in 1978 headquartered at IITA Ibadan, Nigeria. The membership is open to all root and tuber crop people whether they are researchers, business people, Government officials of governments, heads of state, etc. In all, the principal aim is to: Stimulate and enhance the value chain from Research, Production to full Utilization of root and tuber crops (RTC) in Africa.
Constitution of the ISTRC-AB
The Constitution of the ISTRC-AB is the main Instrument of Association and function. Three revisions have added bye-laws and these have been incorporated into the ‘corpus’ of the
Constitution. A constitution is supposed to be revised as frequently to make it capture the changing times in which we live and truly reflect the aspirations of the new and the old members of the society. An unchanging constitution is a veritable dinosaur. In consequence, there has been several bye-laws that help to update the constitution to make it operable and relevant to the aims of the society. Governance of the ISTRC-AB
First Vice President:
Second Vice President:
Fund Raising Officer
Ex-Officio Members: Immediate Past President
One other officer
These leaders help to guide the activities of the society on behalf of the 150-250 people registered in the society at any one time. The need to raise the fortunes of the society through regional drive for membership is well indicated and has to be taken as urgently as possible. There are many smaller societies serving the interests of RTCs but none is continent wide or trans-disciplinary as is the ISTRC-AB. The 43 nations of sub-Saharan Africa could each have about 10 RTC researchers and thus provide about 500 possible members. Adverts and awareness among students and the colleagues in our institutions will need to be stepped up. Fund Raising Officer (FRO) Until the Kinshasa symposium, it was imagined that there will always be good times as far as donors are concerned. But the rise of greater number of societies and the fatigue of donors, innovative funding strategies were needful. To this need, a fund raising officer was created as a post in the executive of the society at Kinshasa.
Past ISTRC-AB Symposia
The life of the society hinges on the triennial symposium, when we meet to renew our knowledge and accept new members and rehearse the spirit of togetherness in the onerous task of
contributing to knowledge in root and tuber crops in a way that journal papers cannot achieve. The five day interaction of over 100 people and the field trips and evening of varied activities help to unite the scientists into a formidable body of progress. The eleven past symposia are listed below:
1. 1980. IITA Ibadan, Nigeria
2. 1983. Douala, Cameroon
3. 1986. Owerri/Umudike, Nigeria
4. 1989. Kinshasa, Zaire
5. 1992. Kampala/Namulonge, Uganda
6. 1995. Lilongwe. Malawi
7. 1998. Cotonou, Republic of Benin
8. 2001. IITA Ibadan
9. 2004. Mombasa, Kenya
10. 2007. Maputo, Mozambique
11. 2010. Kinshasa, DR Congo
Usually the symposium location rotates among the four regions of the continent in the order of: western, central, eastern, and southern.Future of the ISTRC-AB The wellbeing of the society depends on the will of the people as evidenced the efforts made by each member to attend and present papers of the any activity we do with RTCs. In the earlier years of the
ISTRC-AB, there were some non-researchers and commercial agencies engaged with RTCs.
CONSTITUTION OF ISTRC-AB
ARTICLE I : NAME
The name shall be the International Society for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch (ISTRC-AB).
ARTICLE II : HEADQUARTERS
The Headquarters shall be at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan,Nigeria.
ARTICLE III: OBJECTIVES
The objectives shall be to promote ISTRC aspirations within Africa and the adjacent islands by stimulating production and utilization of root crops through:
(a) Promotion and encouragement of research, extension and training.
(b) Organization of symposia, workshops and special training courses of root and tuber crops.
(c) Exchange of visits amongst workers on root and tuber crops.
(d) Exchange of genetic materials.
(e) Provision of opportunities for enhancing utilization of new developments in techniques and equipment for work in root and tuber crops.
(f) Publications (e.g. technical bulletins, newsletters, etc.).
ARTCLE IV: LANGUAGE
The official languages shall be English and French.
ARTICLE V: MEMBERSHIP
There shall be five classes of membership:
(a) Ordinary: Persons actively interested in promoting the objectives of the Branch and who pay the prescribed annual dues.
(b) Student: University or College students (above secondary school, and students of Schools of Agriculture) who show interest in root and tuber crops shall be accepted at reduced dues.
(c) Corporate: Institutions and organizations interest in promoting the objectives of the branch and who shall pay the prescribed corporate membership dues annually.3
(d) Life: Persons eligible for ordinary membership who pay the prescribed life membership dues.
(e) Honorary: Individuals elected by the branch who have given distinguished service in promoting the objectives of the ISTRC and the Africa Branch.Proc. 11th ISTRC-AB Symp. Kinshasa, DR Congo. 4-8 October, 2010664
CONSTITUTION OF ISTRC-AB
Treasurer at least 6 months before the next meeting and approved by a two-thirds majority vote of paid-up members at the general meeting. Bye-laws and standing order of the ISTRC-AB
(ISTRC-AB): Interpretation In these bye-laws and standing order, the words and expressions used have the following meanings:
(i) Council means the Executive Council
(ii) Officer means member of the Executive Council
(iii) Parent body means the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC)
(iv) Branch means the International Society for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch (ISTRCAB).
ARTICLE 1: MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES
Membership privileges shall include:
(i) Attending all meetings and participating in discussions and the other activities of the Branch including presentation of papers.
(ii) Receiving free copies of the newsletters, proceedings of triennial conferences and other publications.
(iii) Voting at general meetings.
These privileges shall be withdrawn when dues are not paid for two consecutive years and will be restored only after all outstanding arrears have been settled.
ARTICLE 2: MEMBERSHIP DUES
The dues to be paid by different classes of members shall be:
Ordinary member US$ 10.00
Student member US$ 5.00
Corporate member US$ 50.00
Life member US$ 100.00
Honorary member Nil
ARTICLE 3: COLLECTION OF DUES
(i) Regional representative shall contact, in the countries within their region, individuals who become country representatives. The country representatives shall collect dues in the local
currencies and convert these dues to dollars or the equivalent of the currency in the location where the triennial Branch meeting is held, where they shall pay to the Secretary/Treasurer for banking at the Headquarters. Other dues can be collected by Secretary/Treasurer if and when Branch members attend triennial Branch meetings.
(ii) The Branch shall maintain a bank account atVice-President.
(d) Secretary/Treasurer: The Secretary/Treasurer shall convene meetings after consultation with the President, keep records of all meetings (Council and Branch meetings) and be
responsible for all official correspondence of the branch. He shall prepare and submit annual financial statements which shall be audited by an appointed auditor.
(e) Assistant Secretary: The Assistant Secretary shall assist the Secretary/Treasurer in his duties. He shall also be responsible for recruitment drives for membership.
(f) Regional Representatives: The Regional Representative shall co-ordinate the activities of the Branch within their respective areas of representation.
(g) Editor: The Editor shall be responsible for the editing publishing of the proceedings of workshops, symposia and all relevant publications of the Branch. He shall also be responsible for the organization of symposia, conferences and workshops.
(h) Ex-Officio Members: The Ex-Officio Members shall be assigned duties by the President as need be.
ARTICLE XI: MEETINGS
(a) The Council shall meet at least once a year.
(b) Branch Symposia shall be held once every three years during any of the two years between the years of the Symposia of the ISTRC.
(c) VENUES OF THE Branch Symposia shall as much as possible be rotated among countries within regions of the branch.
(d) A business meeting shall be included in the program of each symposium. At this meeting the election of officers shall be conducted and venue for the next decided.
ARTICLE XII: ELECTION OF OFFICERS
(a) Officers shall be elected by majority vote at the general meeting
(b) Voting shall be by secret ballot.
(c) The Secretary/Treasurer shall be elected from the country hosting the next general meeting.
(d) All ordinary bona fide members are eligible to hold office.
(e) All classes of membership with the exception of corporate members may be eligible to vote.
ARTICLE XIII: AMENDMENTS
Amendments to the Constitution may be made if requested in writing through the Secretary/ Proc. 11th ISTRC-AB Symp. Kinshasa, DR Congo. 4-8 October, 2010 665 one fifth (1/5) of all paid up members.
ARTICLE 4: QUORUM AT THE EXECUTIVE MEETINGS
Quorum for the council meetings shall be the President and/or Vice-President, the Secretary/ Treasurer and/or Assistant and two members.
ARTICLE 5: EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETINGS
The council shall meet at least once a year preferably in February/March. The venues of the meetings shall be as much as possible rotated among countries.
ARTICLE 6: PARTICULARS ABOUT SOME OFFICERS
(i) When the first Vice-President is an Anglophone, the second Vice-President shall be a francophone and vice-versa.
(ii) The Secretary/Treasurer and the President shall be elected from the country hosting the next general meeting.
(iii) There shall be five regional representatives consisting of one each for Northern, Southern, Western and Central and Eastern Africa with adjacent islands.
ARTICLE 7: DUTIES OF REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES
The regional representatives shall contact and recruit persons working or interested in the development of root crops in countries within their region. One of such persons in each country representative of this country. The Regional Representatives shall follow the progress of the Branch in each country and offer help where needed. They shall liaise between the country representative and Assistant Secretary for the updating of the membership of the Branch. They shall also collect dues as stated in Article 3.
ARTICLE 8: QUORUM AT GENERAL MEETING
Quorum for general meetings shall be a quarter (1/4) of all countries represented in the Branch and Proc. 11th ISTRC-AB Symp. Kinshasa, DR Congo. 4-8 October, 2010666
ARTICLE 9: GENERAL MEETINGS
General meetings of the Branch shall be held once in three years in August/September.
ARTICLE 10: ELECTION PROCEDURES
(i) Nomination papers shall be sent to members by the Secretary/Treasurer two months before the meeting.
(ii) Nomination papers for any office shall be signed by signed by the nominee, two seconders and the candidate and shall reach the Secretary by midnight of the first day of the meeting.
(iii) Officers shall be eligible for re-election for a second term and thereafter will be ineligible for that same office until five years have elapsed.
(iv) The Editor shall old office for two consecutive terms.
(v) Candidates for office may be elected in absentia provided the provisions in 10 (ii) are complied with.
ARTICLE 11: VOTING AT GENERAL MEETINGS
(i) Each member shall have one vote.
(Ii) A member must be present to vote
(Iii) Decisions at general meetings shall be determined by a simple majority of members present.
ARTICLE 12: AMENDMENT TO CONSTITUTION
(i) A request for amendment to the constitution shall be in writing as stipulated in the constitution.
(ii) The Secretary/Treasurer shall circulate such requests to and receive reactions from members at least one month before the next general meeting. the Headquarters into which all dues and other funds shall be paid.
(iii) All cheques, notes, drafts and other financial obligations of the Branch shall require the signature of the Secretary/Treasurer and the President.
(iv) The funds of the Branch shall be audited prior to each triennial meeting. The audited report should be ready and shall be submitted at the general meeting.