ONLINE WEBINAR SERIES
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.
PhD study moves Ethiopian sesame research forward
Breeding work done by ACCI student Dr. Desawi Hdru for his PhD thesis, completed this year, offers hope for farmers that improved yields may be possible.
His PhD thesis focused on pre-breeding of sesame for improved yield and oil quality and quantity in Ethiopia.
Director Prof Mark Laing honoured by plant pathologists
Huge congratulations to our founder and director, Prof Mark Laing, who has been elected a Fellow of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP).
Mark has been a member of the society since 1983 and was the president from 2014 to 2019. His involvement with Plant Pathology began 44 years ago and he has been an academic in the Plant Path department at the University of Natal and UKZN for 38 years and the Professor for 22 years.
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.
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.
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