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14-16 March 2022 in Montpellier France and 16-19 May 2022


From 14th to 16th March 2022, a workshop on African neglected and underutilised crop species (NUS) genomics was held in Montpellier. Being part of the EWA-BELT Project, the workshop was organized to achieve different key objectives: i) the promotion of NUS researcher network; ii) to build cooperation networks between NUS teams and PhD students from various nations; iii) to visit the Gene Bank of ARCAD, devoted to the protection of tropical genetic resources as well as the genotyping and sequencing platform of CIRAD (partner of the Project); iv) to arrange the genomic activities mapped out in the WP2.1.1 frame (of the EWA-BELT Project); v) to delineate the outlook of the training courses outlined in the population genomics’ project. (Sub-task of WP2.1.1)

Combining science and technology on the targeted crops for the genomic work would unlock NUS resources to foster a sustainable and ameliorated agriculture as well as supporting food security.

Among the neglected and underutilized crops, the selected ones for the genomic work have been chosen for their diversity characterisation and them having multipurpose features and they are: Fonio (Digitaria exilis), Ensete (Ensete ventricosum), Lablab bean (Lablab purpureus), Cocoa (Theobroma cacao), Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus), Finger millet (Eleusine coracana).

In addition to the EWA-BELT event of March, the city of Montpellier has had the privilege of hosting another event; the AWARD “One Planet Fellowship” Science week in collaboration with the EWA-BELT Horizon 2020 project. In May, AWARD laureates from different parts of the world met and sat together discussing about agriculture in Africa.

Both events in Montpellier focused on the sustainable amelioration of African agriculture with respect to the underutilised and neglected genomic as well as climate change and its consequence, not only at macro but also at micro level, involving for example crops and field production. The EWA-BELT Horizon 2020 project coordinator Prof. Giovanna Seddaiu, and Antonello Canna from UNISS are research supervisors to AWARD Laureate candidates, Austin Phiri (Fig 1),

Lamore Alemayehu Abebe, respectively.

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