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International Scientific Alliance Launched for Crop Improvement in sub-Saharan Africa

05:02 EDT 20 Jun 2017 | Meridian Institute

The Alliance to Accelerate Crop Improvements in Africa (ACACIA), which is an international effort to fast track crop improvement in sub-Saharan Africa, was launched late last week. The alliance’s founding members are the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub in Kenya, and the John Innes Centre (JIC), United Kingdom. According to Jacob Mignouna, the director of the BecA-ILRI Hub, the initiative will support and fast-track scientific advances made by African scientists and their international partners to achieve food security and improve nutrition through sustainable agriculture. “This initiative,” he said, “will harness the strengths of the global scientific community, as well as the recent advances in technology to find lasting solutions to the challenge of food insecurity in Africa.” Dale Sanders, the JIC director, said, “We hope to develop a team of scientists who have a deeper understanding of the agricultural challenges in Africa and can connect to African scientists to achieve significant impact through their expertise.” ILRI director Jimmy Smith added, “Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land, but generates only 10 per cent of global agricultural output. The partnerships consolidated through ACACIA will strengthen access to tools for crop improvement for the ultimate benefit of smallholder farmers in Africa.”

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