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Danforth Center scientist recruited to spearhead cassava green revolution for Nigeria
Date:9/19/2011

ST. LOUIS, MO, September 19, 2011 Dr. Martin Fregene, Director of BioCassava (BC) Plus at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has been tasked with leading the implementation of the Cassava Green Revolution for Nigeria by Akin Adesina, the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Fregene will begin these duties September 15 and will remain a co-Principal Investigator of BC Plus sharing that role with Dr. Paul Anderson, Executive Director of International Programs at the Danforth Center.

Fregene will serve as a special advisor to the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources and will be part of a world class team responsible for the design and implementation of Nigeria's agricultural transformation agenda. The root cause of the food problem in Africa is deeply structural: low agricultural productivity. Total productivity of agriculture has been low in Sub-Saharan Africa. Between 1992 and 2003, total factor productivity in East Africa was a mere 0.4%, while West and Southern Africa averaged 0.6% and 1.3%, respectively. These rates do not keep up with the rate of population growth, and they call for greater investments to raise agricultural productivity. Nigeria's agricultural transformation agenda will tackle the root cause of low productivity by getting six things right: improved technologies, policies, markets, political will, financing and infrastructure

"It is a privilege and honor for me to be invited by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture to contribute to the long awaited effort to rebuild Nigeria's agricultural sector. I intend to apply experiences gained during my 20 years of working in South and North America, Asia and Africa to increase cassava productivity which will improve food security and create employment and income opportunities for cassava producers in Nigeria" said Fregene.

Fregene has been recognized for his extensive research focused on cassava improvement to fight rav
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Contact: Melanie Bernds
mbernds@danforthcenter.org
314-587-1647
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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