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Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21)
Date:5/15/2012

ST. LOUIS, MO, May 15, 2012The 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 http://www.danforthcenter.org/GCP21-II/.

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.


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Contact: Karla Roeber
kroeber@danforthcenter.org
314-587-1231
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Source:Eurekalert

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