Report – Scientific innovation for a sustainable development of African agriculture

Thursday 30th and Friday 31st of August 2018

Abstractbook
Presentations
Pictures

The overall objective of this conference was to bring different researchers from Belgium/Europe and Africa, working on different topics in agriculture and/or plant biotechnology, together to get to know each other’s research, discuss the research outcomes and to establish future collaborations. The aim was to focus on the improvement of crops that are important for African agriculture, including orphan crops. Because many of these important crops suffer from the same threats, different stakeholders (breeders, policymakers and researchers) from all over the world came together, discussed about these constraints for different crops (important for Africa) and initiated or further developed collaborations.

In Africa, more than 60% of the people living in rural areas depend on agriculture and food accounts up to two thirds of
the households budgets. However, the agricultural productivity often remains far below international standards. Compared to the yields obtained in the US, Europe or Asia, the yield per hectare for many important crops such as maize, bananas, cassava, sweet potato and sorghum is much lower in most African countries. The low productivity is related to different factors such as pests, pathogens, diseases, drought, lack of irrigation, low soil fertility, the high cost of inputs, low levels of mechanization and sub-optimal post-harvest management.

Many research initiatives all over the world are working on solutions to increase yield productivity in Africa. This research is currently performed on different crops and in different fields of expertise. Because of a high specialization of research domains, projects and scientists would benefit form increased inter-connection and increased impact of the research and obtained results and to encourage future collaborations.

The aim of the conference was to unite several stakeholders (breeders, policymakers and researchers) from Ghent/Belgium/Europe with African partners to discuss about their research and obtained results and to encourage future collaborations.

Program

The conference was divided in several topics, each discussing a specific constraint in agriculture: (1) Relevant crops for Africa; (2) Creating new plant varieties through scientific innovation; (3) Improved soil fertility to enhance crop yields; (4) Biotic stresses threatening crop yields; (4) Abiotic stresses threatening crop yields; (5) Mycotoxins, a threat for both human and animal health and (6) Enhancing the nutritional value of important crops for Sub-Saharan Africa

Invited speakers

Marc Van Montagu, IPBO, Belgium
Leena Tripathi, IITA, Kenya
Denis Kyetere, AATF, Kenya
Robert Mwanga, CIP, Uganda
Jeremy Ouedraogo, NEPAD-ABNE, Senegal
Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Jill Cairns, CIMMYT, Zimbabwe
Zerihun Tadele, University of Bern, Switzerland
Johnnie Van den Berg, North-West University, South Africa
Sarah De Saeger, Ghent University, Belgium
Dirk Inzé, VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Belgium
Yves Van de Peer, VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Belgium
Dominique Van der Straeten, Ghent University, Belgium
Geert Haesaert, Ghent University, Belgium
Steven Runo, Kenyatta University, Kenya
Ndomelele Ndiko Ludidi, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Hervé Vanderschuren, University of Liège, Belgium
Johan Six, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Scientific committee

  • E. Prof. Marc Van Montagu, IPBO, VIB-UGent
  • Prof. Godelieve Gheysen, UGent
  • Prof. Geert Haesaert, UGent
  • Prof. Patrick Van Damme, UGent
  • Prof. Geert Angenon, UGent
  • Prof. Hervé Vanderschuren, University of Liège
  • Dr. Sylvie De Buck, IPBO, VIB-UGent

Organising committee

  • Prof. Godelieve Gheysen, UGent
  • Prof. Geert Haesaert, UGent
  • Prof. Geert Angenon, UGent
  • Prof. Hervé Vanderschuren, University of Liège
  • Dr. Sylvie De Buck, IPBO, VIB-UGent
  • Dr. Silvia Travella, IPBO, VIB-UGent
  • Dr. Marc Heijde, IPBO, VIB-UGent
  • Mrs Vanessa De Bauw, IPBO, VIB-UGent

Contact

International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO, VIB-UGent)
Technologiepark 19
9052 Gent
Belgium
Tel. +32 9 292 80 44

With the support of