Scientists, entrepreneurs, institutional leaders and students from Africa and beyond are meeting this week in Kigali, Rwanda and online for the second continental African Plant Breeders Association Conference.
Guided by the theme, “Accelerating Genetic Gains in Plant Breeding for Resilience and Transformative Food Systems and Economic Growth in Africa”, participants at the hybrid event are set to explore current research outputs and outcomes in plant-breeding and related disciplines.
AGRA is partnering with the Government of Rwanda, the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), host of the Secretariat of the APBA and USAID at the #APBAConf2021, a forum that seeks to shine the spotlight on plant breeding as a key component of fast-tracking the continent’s agricultural transformation. Strategic partnerships are crucial in the fight against food and nutrition security in Africa, said Prof. Danquah, Founding Director of WACCI and President of APBA.
“The #APBAConf2021 draws attention to the need for crop improvement and seed sector development in Africa to help us build resilience in the staple crops of Africa, and to increase productivity in farmers’ fields. AGRA is proud to have been part of training plant breeders who are now churning out locally adopted crop varieties. I encourage all of us to support these scientists and sustain the momentum to put high yielding as well as drought tolerant crops in the hands of farmers. I am pleased to be part of this conference which brings together scientists from across the continent to help provide solutions that ultimately improve the lives of smallholder farmers,” Dr. Kalibata said.
Since 2007, AGRA has supported 1,100 African scientists to obtain post-graduate degrees whilst developing solutions to address the challenges of smallholder farmers with respect to seeds, soils, applied agricultural economics and policy. This is in line with the APBA platform which aims at driving an agenda for innovation in plant breeding on the continent to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” and the aspirations of the African Union, “the Africa We Want” by 2063).
The APBA conference was first held two years ago in Ghana, where resolutions were made to mobilize resources and build institutional capacities for the long-term strategic development of the agricultural sector in Africa through effective plant-breeding programs.
The 2021 edition will track the progress towards the commitments made in Accra, in addition to presenting tangible solutions to other problems presenting in the in the plant breeding and seed industry as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and other unforeseen difficulties like the locust invasion of East Africa.
AGRA is a farmer-centered, African-led, partnerships-driven institution that is working to transforming smallholder farming from a solitary struggle to survive to a business that thrives. In collaboration with its partners—including African governments, researchers, development partners, the private sector and civil society— AGRA’s work primarily focuses on smallholder farmers – men and women who typically cultivate staple crops on two hectares or less.
AGRA is now recognized across the continent as a strong voice for African rural development, a prosperous agricultural economy, and for supporting thousands of small African businesses and millions of African families to improve agriculture as a way to ensure food security and improve their livelihoods.