Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • 23rd November 2017
  • by secretary

22-24 November 2017. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AU Conference Centre. Regional Meeting on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa

Extracts of the programme:
The state of application, capacities and the enabling environment for agricultural biotechnologies in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Chair: Chike Mba, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy 
  • Edward Rege, PICO-Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya State of agricultural biotechnology applications, capacities and enabling environment in sub-Saharan Africa 

Panellists presented their perspectives on the state of application, capacities and the enabling environment for agricultural biotechnologies in Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Yebchaye Degefa, Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Center of the African Union (AUPANVAC), Debre Zeit, Ethiopia The state and application of biotechnology for the production of veterinary vaccines and diagnostic tools 
  • Abdourahamane Sangaré, Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire 
  • Roger Pelle, Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA) Hub, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Biotechnologies for the characterisation, conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture 
  • Chair: Siboniso Moyo, International Livestock Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 
  • Firew Mekbib, Haramaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia Molecular genetic diversity of African orphan crops: The case of Ethiopia 
  • Marius Ekué, Bioversity International, Yaoundé, Cameroon DNA timber tracking tools and a conservation strategy for African mahogany (Khaya sp.) 
  • Emmanuel Kaunda, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lilongwe, Malawi A review of the use of biotechnology in aquaculture and fisheries (PAEPARD supported consortium)
Food safety, post-harvest and agro-processing: The role of biotechnologies 
  • Chair: Ali Mohammed, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia 
  • Alejandro Ortega-Beltran, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria The Aflasafe Initiative, developing biocontrol products to reduce aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts across Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • Ruby Asmah, Water Research Institute (CSIR-WRI), Accra, Ghana The use of biotechnologies in post-harvest handling and management in the fishery sector 
  • Ikhide Imumorin, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria; African Biosciences Ltd, Lagos, Nigeria; and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA. Public and private sector perspectives regarding the role of biotechnologies in food safety, post-harvest and agro-processing 
  • Silvia Alonso, International Livestock Research Institute, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaMetagenomics in food safety: what’s the added value? Case studies from the livestock sector in Tanzania and Uganda 
Biotechnologies to enable smallholders to adapt to climate change 
  • Chair: Janet Edeme, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 
  • Stephen Muchiri, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, Nairobi, Kenya Perspectives from a farmer organization on climate change and the role that biotechnologies can play in enabling smallholders to adapt 
  • Yoseph Beyene, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Nairobi, Kenya Development and deployment of climate resilient maize in sub-Saharan Africa through integration of novel tools and technologies 
  • Maxwell Barson, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe Africa in a changing global climate: The need for rapid diagnostic tests to deal with emerging fish disease challenges 
  • Djingdia Lompo, Centre National de Semences Forestières, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Analysis of genetic diversity of the African Locust Bean (Parkia biglobosa) to improve its strategy of conservation and breeding in the face of climate change 
  • Baptiste Dungu, MCI Santé Animale, Mohammedia, Morocco Use of biotechnology tools to combat Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Africa
Resourcing for agriculture and agricultural biotechnologies 
  • Chair: Margaret Gill, CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council, Rome, Italy 
  • Malu Ndavi, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome, Italy Investors in agricultural biotechnologies and priorities 
  • Musa Sowe, National Coordinating Organization for Farmers Associations of The Gambia (NACOFAG), Banjul, The Gambia How to ensure the resources allocated to agricultural biotechnologies are used to meet the needs of farmers
  • Siyabulela Ntutela, AfricaBio, Pretoria, South Africa The importance of private sector investments in agricultural biotechnologies in SubSaharan Africa
Public-private partnerships and south-south cooperation involving biotechnologies 
  • Chair: Melaku Gedil, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria 
  • Prasad Hendre, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC): A public-private partnership for enablement of African plant scientists through development of open source genomics resources for promoting food and nutritional security in Africa through orphan crops 
  • Emmanuel Okogbenin, African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya Public-private partnerships for effective and efficient agricultural technology transfer to smallholders in SSA: The AATF experience 
  • Benjamin D.K. Ahiabor, CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Tamale, GhanaA case study of cooperation between Brazil and Ghana in the development of biofertilisers for grain legumes in northern Ghana 
  • Ndjido A. Kane, Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles, Dakar, Senegal A regional research and training platform for innovative plant breeding in West Africa

FAO is organizing four regional meetings worldwide throughout 2017-2018. On 15-17 February 2016, FAO convened the international symposium on The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition at FAO Headquarters, Rome. The aim of the symposium was to explore the application of biotechnologies for the benefit of smallholders in developing sustainable food systems and improving nutrition in the context of climate change.

Participants in the meeting were representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations and

non-state actors in the region. The term ‘non-state actors’ refers to civil society organizations; private sector entities (including philanthropic foundations); academia and research institutions as well as cooperatives and producer organizations.

‘The question is not to use or not to use biotechnologies but how we can use opportunities that modern biotechnologies offers for African farmers’  Dr Jeremy Ouédraogo, Director @NEPAD_ABNE -(see picture)


  • Producing clean planting materials to improve sweet potato, plantain and banana in Ghana 
  • Improving African rice by breeding with Asian rice 
  • Improving soil in Kenya 
  • Generating resilient sorghum in Africa 
  • Boosting cassava yields in Africa using molecular markers and tissue culture 
  • Protecting Namaqua Afrikaner sheep in South Africa using genetic characterization 
  • Early diagnosis of peste des petits ruminants in Cameroon 
  • Eradicating tsetse flies in Zanzibar using the sterile insect technique 
  • The global rinderpest eradication campaign 
  • Processing fish using fermentation in West Africa 
  • Using DNA markers to conserve forest trees in Gabon