Uganda: Cassava conference to tackle climate change head-on

16 May, 2012 by (comments)

An important announcement from our colleagues at the Danforth Plant Science Center:

Global alliance to gather to consider strategies for overcoming challenges of global climatic change at international cassava conference

ST. LOUIS, MO, May 15, 2012—The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) will hold its second scientific conference June 18 – 22, 2012 at the Speke Resort Conference Centre in Kampala, Uganda.  GCP21 consists of 45 member institutions working on research and development of cassava, a staple crop relied on by more than 700 million people worldwide.  The ultimate goal of the partnership is to improve cassava productivity through scientific research and development.  Nearly 300 leading cassava researchers and stakeholders from around the world will attend.  Registration is available on line at

The Global Cassava Partnership serves as an advocate for cassava issues and leverages research and development by facilitating dialogue among farmers, stakeholders, producers, researchers and donor agencies via scientific and technical meetings, collectively seeking smart strategies, funding opportunities, and catalyzing solutions to technical challenges such as cassava genomics.

“The greatest reward during my life time will be to bring about a significant transformation in cassava to impact on many lives that depend on the crop,” said Dr. Yona Baguma, Scientist at NaCRRI, Chairman of GCP21-II.

Since it was founded in 2003, GCP21 has developed a list of technologies and research themes to focus activities and promote investment in those priority areas. In the last year, several research projects totaling more than $60 million in grants in the areas of cassava genomics, genetic engineering, biofortification, genetics and biology have been initiated and will be reported on during the five day program.

Participants will exchange knowledge and experiences in the areas of socio-economics, biodiversity and genetic resources, post-harvest, starch modification, nutrition, genomics, molecular genetic markers and gene discovery, tissue culture and transformation, biotic and abiotic stresses, participatory research and tech transfer.

After reviewing advances made to date, members of GCP21 will present a synopsis identifying gaps in technical, capacity and funding as well as set additional priorities for R&D that will enable cassava production to withstand global changes in climate and related issues.

The participants will include representatives from NARS, international agricultural research centers, advanced laboratories and universities from developed and developing countries, United Nations’ agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations, donor and development organizations, businesses in the ag-biotechnology and food processing industries.

GCP21 is chaired by Dr. Claude Fauquet, Principal Investigator at the Danforth Plant Science Center and Director of International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology (ILTAB) in St. Louis, MO and Dr. Joe Tohme, Director of Agrobiodiversity Research of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia.

“It is crucial for humanity to invest science and technology into cassava if we want the fourth source of calories in the developing world to feed more than one billion people by 2050,” said Fauquet.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for some of the world’s leading crop scientists to join up to support smallholder farmers across the tropics in boosting production of one of their most important and promising food crops,” said Tohme.


Local organizing committee:

Yona Baguma, Scientist at NaCRRI, Chairman of GCP21-II; Richard Okuti, Coordinator (ASILI); Emily Twinamasiko, Director General of NARO; Robert Anguzu, Communication of NARO; James A. Ogwang Director of NaCRRI; Anton Bua, Team Leader of National Cassava Program, NaCRRI; Settumba Mukasa, Senior Lecturer, Makerere University; Ali Kabogoza, Senior Administrator of NaCRRI; Christopher Omongo, Scientist at NaCRRI; Titus Alicai, Scientist at NaCRRI; Robert Kawuki, Scientist at NaCRRI; Hellen Apio, Research Assistant at NaCRRI; Emmanuel Ogwok, Research Assistant at NaCRRI

International Committee:
Claude Fauquet, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC); Joe Tohme, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); Paul Anderson, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Alfred Dixon, Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI); Morag Ferguson, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Wilhelm Gruissem,  ETH-Zurich; Peter Kulakow, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Marc Van Montagu, Director of IPBO; Luciano L. Nass, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA); Steve Rounsley, Dow AgroSciences; Nteranya Sanginga,  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
Motoaki Seki, RIKEN Yokohama Institute; Nigel Taylor, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Eugene Terry, Private Consultant; Gary Toenniessen, The Rockefeller Foundation; Wenquan Wang, Director of CATAS; Andrew Westby, Director of NRI.

Event Sponsors:

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; CIAT; ITA; USAID from the American People; Monsanto Co.
Syngenta Foundation; Generation Challenge Programme; AWARD: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development; CIBUS
SLU-Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; Corn Products International; Government of Uganda; National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).

About Cassava

Cassava is cultivated mainly by hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers, often on marginal lands and is vital for both food security and income generation.  In Asia and Latin America, cassava serves as livestock feed, an industrial input, and a source of fuel and food. In Africa, it is the second most important source of calories after maize, an inexpensive and essential food for the poor, and an emerging cash crop.  Tapioca, yucca, and manioc are other names for cassava.  Although Cassava has many properties that make it an important food across 105 countries in the world, it also has many limitations.  Cassava lacks essential vitamins and nutrients and is susceptible to many pathogens, particularly in Africa, where one third of the continental harvest is lost each year to viral diseases.

The Global Cassava Partnership (GCP21)

Founded in 2003, GCP21 is an alliance of 45 organizations from the global cassava research and development community that are working under the umbrella of the Global Cassava Development Strategy of IFAD/FAO to raise awareness of the importance of the crop in the developing world and to identify the major constraints to improving the productivity potential of cassava to benefit millions of people in the world.  Cassava R&D has received support from the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID from the American people, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Monsanto Fund, SNP, U.S. Department of Energy and the Roche Company.


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Filed Under: Africa @en, Cassava @en, Crops @en, Regions