African Centre for Crop Improvement

Logo transparent


African Centre for Crop Improvement

“Training African Breeders on African Crops, in Africa”

model plant in the growth chamber


The international Demand-Led Breeding (DLB) working group with UKZN’s African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) hosted a series of webinars for the research and development community in Southern Africa. The aim is to create dialogues to strengthen plant breeding and to make the case for investing in demand-led plant breeding in Southern Africa.

Latest News

New research boosts work to combat Striga

The ACCI’s contribution to combating Striga, a virulent pest affecting millions of African smallholder farmers, has been boosted by the completion of another doctoral thesis about this problem.

Dr John Lobulu, who obtained his PhD in May, focused on developing maize genotypes for Striga resistance and compatibility with the fungal biocontrol agent, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. strigae (FOS).

Building crops to feed 2.5 billion Africans by 2050

A business approach to plant breeding could be the answer to Africa’s anticipated food shortages in the future. That was the view presented by Professor Hussein Shimelis at the  2nd Plant Breeders Association of Nigeria (PNAB) Webinar Series, held on Wednesday, 25 May 2022.

PhD Student breeding dual-purpose tef

Professor Hussein Shimelis (right) visited Cedara Agricultural College recently to see the research progress made by PhD student, Patrick Rakau, who is breeding dual-purpose tef for South African conditions.

Patrick, who works for the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), is a grassland scientist with a background in Crop Science. University of the Free State (UFS) is also involved in the project.

The tef varieties he’s breeding will provide straw for animal fodder and grain for human consumption. Tef is a gluten-free free super food.

Using a mutation breeding technique, he has created genetic variation from seeds from three South African varieties, and is expecting wider variation that will hopefully produce the desired dual-purpose varieties.

Malawi gets 3 improved pigeonpea varieties

Seeing the release of their improved varieties is the pinnacle of achievement for plant breeders, so we are always thrilled when our graduates manage to do this.

We are very proud of Dr Esnart Nirenda Yohane, who has released three new varieties of pigeonpea in Malawi.”

Series:  ACCI food heroes

As a group, ACCI graduates and staff members have made a significant contribution to African agriculture. Apart from developing and releasing new, improved varieties of food-security crops, occupying key leadership positions in African agriculture and teaching and mentoring up-and-coming plant breeders, they also form a body of independent thinkers making a contribution to agricultural science on the continent.


The “Climate Crisis” – Adjusting to a New Future

Prof Mark Laing (director of the ACCI) is a Plant Pathologist, Plant Breeder and inventor. In this lecture on the Climate Crisis topic, he paints a picture of the new world that is most likely to develop in the next 30 to 120 years, and will have an impact on all of us, and future generations.

Sign up for our newsletter:

Close Menu