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June 19th, 2017 / Biosciences Africa

A new initiative to speed up crop improvement in sub-Saharan Africa – the Alliance to Accelerate Crop Improvement in Africa (ACACIA) was launched today. The alliance has been established by founding members, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) through the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI (BecA-ILRI) Hub in Kenya and the John Innes Centre (JIC) in the UK.

Speaking at the launch, which took place at JIC-UK, the BecA-ILRI Hub director, Jacob Mignouna noted that the initiative will fast-track scientific strides being made by African scientists and their international partners to achieve food security and improve nutrition through sustainable agriculture.

‘This alliance 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’ said Mignouna.

‘ACACIA will build on the existing BecA-JIC alliance to provide African crop researchers and institutes access to cutting edge technologies’ added Appolinaire Djikeng, immediate former BecA-ILRI Hub director.

‘We hope to develop a cadre of UK 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,’ said JIC director, Dale Sanders.

Cristobal Uauy, JIC’s academic lead for international development and co-leader of ACACIA, stressed the importance of strong linkages with African National Agricultural Research Systems, CGIAR Research Centres and advanced international research institutions to advance the improvement of important African food crops. Read more