IPBO organized a Banana Research Training for African Scientists and Biotechnology regulators
On September 16-30, 2016, a 14-day course, organized by IPBO, the outreach cell of VIB, in collaboration with NARO, IITA, UGent and KULeuven), took place in Kampala, Uganda.
This course was funded with support of VLIR-UOS, Ghent University, the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) and IIBN-UNIDO.
145 million metric tons of banana are being produced yearly in over 130 countries, and on more than 11 million hectares of land. Of this, one third is produced in Africa (VIB Fact series, 2016). In recent years, banana production has declined due to attacks from different banana pests and diseases, causing huge losses to millions of farmers who rely on banana as their staple food and cash crop
The course “Banana research in Africa: Modern breeding techniques, regulatory and biosafety issues” aimed to train participants on modern breeding techniques, how to collect relevant and reliable data to perform risk analysis, and how to communicate their scientific goals and results. NARO, begin well advanced in banana breeding technologies, hosted the two-week course in Kawanda. The 28 workshop participants came from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi and Cameroon. Fourteen of them were sponsored by the VLIR-UOS fellowship from Belgium. Participants were representing a broad spectrum of professionals, working in the field of biotechnology, as scientists or as regulators at governmental or nonprofit organizations within the east- and west-African regions.
The program kicked off with an overview of the most important banana diseases and how to address them through conventional breeding as well as biotechnological approaches. The course was strengthened by visits to field trials and farmers.The course also gave an overview of regulatory and risk assessment principles relevant to Africa
A final section focused on the science and risk communication. The ISAAA team emphasized communicating research findings and goals to a non-scientific audience, and the public at large
For more information, contact Sylvie De Buck or Marc Heijde