AfricaRice, Colorado State University, Cornell University and IRD teamed up to organize a course on the "Advanced Crop Improvement (ACI): Meeting Challenges for Food Security," from 27 October to 9 November 2019 at the AfricaRice Regional Training Center, St. Louis, and IRD, Dakar in Senegal, with support from RICE CGIAR Research Program, The Griffin Foundation, NSF, IRD and MUSE.
Twenty-three young plant scientists (including 12 women) from Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, France, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, USA and Zimbabwe took part in the 2-week course. Instructors included resource persons from AfricaRice, Colorado State University, Cornell University, IRD, ISRA and the University of Düsseldorf.
Through the course, the participants gained:
- A better understanding of crop production challenges for food security;
- A better knowledge of modern crop improvement techniques;
- Practical experience on how to communicate science to their peers and to the potential beneficiaries of their research;
- Experience in accomplishing scientific work in a multicultural and multidisciplinary group.
The course offered opportunities to the participants to have a better understanding of the complexity of adopting new technologies in the developed and developing worlds and helped them see how the science of crop improvement intimately links to food security, the national and international politics of food and agriculture, and science communication.
Theoretical and practical learning was enhanced by discussions on how advanced technologies can be incorporated into crop improvement, and the sociological and economic issues for their acceptance by farmers and consumers.
As part of a team project, participants joined in the production of podcasts of interviews of consumers, growers, millers, marketers and scientists on issues related to crop production, nutrition and the adoption of new technologies.