Crop Biotech Update

AOCC Launches African Plant Breeding Academy

December 4, 2013

The African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) has launched the African Plant Breeding Academy to help improve the livelihoods of Africa's smallholder farmers and their families, reduce hunger, and boost Africa's food supply. AOCC's goal is to use the latest scientific equipment and techniques to genetically sequence, assemble and annotate the genomes of 100 traditional African food crops to guide the development of more robust produce with higher nutritional content. ‘Orphan crops' are African food crops and tree species that have been neglected by researchers and industry because they are not economically important in the global market.

The consortium includes the African Union- New Partnership for Africa's Development (AU-NEPAD Agency); Mars, Incorporated; World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI); Life Technologies; World Wildlife Fund; UC Davis; iPlant Collaborative and Biosciences eastern and central Africa - International Livestock Research Institute (BecA - ILRI). Located at the World Agroforestry Centre, the Academy will train 250 plant breeders in genomics and marker-assisted selection for crop improvement over a five-year period. The work will drive the creation of improved planting materials that will then be offered to smallholder farmers throughout Africa.

See ICRAF's news release at