Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ghana hosts researchers working on roots and tubers

The city of Accra in Ghana is agog as researchers, farmers and development partners are strategizing ways to improve the competitiveness of root and tuber crops.
The conference is coming at a time when food security is at the front burner, and African countries are reforming their agricultural strategies with a view to feeding itself.
This year’s root and tuber symposium, organized by the International Society for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch (ISTRC- AB), attracted international partners, students, farmers and policy makers. Godwin Atser sought stakeholders’ opinions about the conference. Excerpts:
Mohammed Alfa, Ghana Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology Innovation, addressing participants during the symposium in Ghana 

This conference provides a platform for younger scientists to express themselves, and that is already happening, says Prof Keith Tomlins (NRI).
Prof Tomlins

The conference is a success. We have seen the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) taking ownership of ISTRC, and this is a good development. It has been super…I also find the theme of the conference appropriate because we need to find ways of making the root and tuber crops competitive to benefit local farmers -- Elizabeth Parkes (IITA Cassava Breeder).
Dr Parkes


This year’s theme highlights what is badly needed in Africa. What is needed is not just increasing production but also effective and efficient processing technologies. We also have to link farmers to the market -- Dr Alfred Dixon, Director General, Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute.
Dr Dixon

The ISTRC-AB provides a very important space for the CGIAR to link to research in Africa. The conference theme is appropriate and it gives us a good opportunity for learning. In the future, we need to involve more of the private sector --
Thiele Graham (Program Leader, CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas).
Dr Graham

For the first time, we are having a theme that is addressing the competitiveness of the root and tuber crops. This makes me happy. Also we are having a lot of young champions making presentations. What this means is that we are beginning to build sustainability which is great -- Prof Lateef Sanni (FUNAAB)
Prof Sanni

The conference provides an opportunity for African scientists to tell the world what they think is important to them, highlight areas for future development and open up areas for engagement -- Loretta Byrnes (BMGF)

I like to thank all the donors that have supported us. Today, most researchers in agriculture are getting old. But coming here, I can see young researchers and the conference is now serving as a grooming ground. So there is future for research in Africa— Dr Richardson Okechukwu (IITA)

We have seen a lot of presentations in this conference, and high number of students which is good. I can also see networking going on among researchers—Peter Kulakow


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