African Centre for Crop Improvement

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African Centre for Crop Improvement

“Training African Breeders on African Crops, in Africa”


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Covid-19 and the elephant in the room

Despite the current focus on the threat of Covid-19, it’s still dwarfed by climate change. That was the main message ACCI director, Professor Mark Laing, had recently for a webinar comprising speakers from across Africa and California.

The webinar, which discussed how plant breeding can be deployed to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on African food security, was organised by the Institute for Agricultural Research Samaru and the Faculty of Agriculture, Ahmahu Bello University, Zaria Nigeria.

In his presentation Laing said food security was an issue in Africa before Covid-19 with 300 million people at risk, and the pandemic will exacerbate the problem in multiple ways and in urban areas in particular.

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.

Mutation breeding increases drought resilience in wheat

Boluwatife OlaOlorun, who came to the University of KwaZulu-Natal from Nigeria in July 2017, has focused on inducing genetic variation in wheat, using mutation breeding to harness the traits of drought tolerance and carbon sequestration.

Large group flies ACCI flag at SAPBS symposium

The ACCI had a strong presence at the 13th Southern African Plant Breeding Symposium this month at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Campus.More than 20 plant breeding academics and students from the ACCI attended the event.

Graduate releases two sweet potato varieties

The ultimate goal of any plant breeder is to have their improved variety released to farmers AND embraced by them. ACCI graduate Dr Fekadu Gurmu had the satisfaction of seeing two of his sweet potato varieties released in Ethiopia recently.


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.

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