Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Impressions of the African participants to the Biocircle Infoday of FP7

18th July 2012, Brussels. Info Day and Brokerage Event on Call FP7-KBBE-2013-7.

Interview with Dr I.Charles Okoli at Infoday FP7 Cooperation Theme 2: Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnologies (FAFB), Brussels, 18th July. This event was organised by Biocircle. Dr I.Charles Okoli is a researcher with the Tropical Animal Health and Production Research Lab. Department of Animal Science and Technology in Nigeria. Dr I.Charles Okoli s a member of the PAEPARD supported consortium: Low cost and high quality livestock feed production knowledge delivery to Nigerian poultry industry (NIPOFERD)

Working visits to European researchers in Belgium

The preparation for the working visit resulted in scheduled meetings with two Belgium scientists in their laboratories. These were,

  1. Prof. Patrick Van Damme, Department of plant production, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering University of Ghent 
  2. Dr. Didier Stilmant, Head, Production and Sector Department, Walloon Agricultural Research Center (CRA), Gembloux 

The visit to University of Ghent was very fruitful. We were able to explain our research needs and areas of possible collaboration with the host professor. We agreed to collaborate on the study of various aspects of the useful plants of West Africa, while laboratory needs that could not be met at Ghent will be linked to other institutions in Europe. Collaborative research on bio plastics was also discussed and highlighted as a viable field.

We also had discussions with Dr Simbarashe Samapundo an African Post doc scientist working at the Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, University of Ghent. The value of research collaborations between African scientists and their counterparts in Diaspora was discussed and it was agreed that there is the need to pursue such collaborations. Dr Simba showed interest in collaborative work on mycotoxin control in food products.

Scientific tour of Africa Museum, Tervuren, near Brussels, hosted by Dr Patricia Mergen, Head of Unit, Cybertaxonomy and Biodiversity Information of the Museum.
This visit was scheduled for the morning of 18th July. Dr Patricia Mergen gave us a tour of the museum and explained many interesting highlights of the museum. We were informed that the museum has a well equipped laboratory for genetic, molecular and biodiversity studies. The museum is willing to collaborate with African institutions on trainings and research in ornithology, mammalogy, genetics and biodiversity. The museum also serves as a reference center for taxonomic studies and trainings. We were informed about a forthcoming conference on biodiversity planned by the museum and were invited to participate.

Agricultural Research Center (CRA), Gembloux: The visit to CRA took place in the afternoon of 18th July and in my opinion was the most detailed and planned. Dr Stilmant invited two other scientists to the meeting and power point presentations were made on research activities and possible areas of collaboration.

It was agreed that collaborations between CRA and African institutions were possible in the study areas of alternative animal feeds resources, medicinal plants, African cane rat and development of nutritional supplements. CRA scientists were also interested in joint development of doctoral and masters’ degree research protocols and participation in the actual studies through provision of laboratory space, equipment and linkage with local universities in Belgium.

Even though Africa was not targeted in the current KBBE call, it is clear that the need to collaborate with African scientists as expressed by many European scientists during this trip was not properly captured by the policies of the concerned EU organs.

There is the need to create a forum for exchange between African scientists as exemplified by the activities of the EU. FARA could broker such a forum.

Interview with Dr. Samuel Adjei Nsiah from Ghana at Infoday FP7 Cooperation Theme 2: Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnologies (FAFB), Brussels, 18th July. This event was organised by Biocircle. Dr. Samuel Adjei Nsiah is a Senior Research Fellow, Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre. Kade College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences University of Ghana. He is a member of the PAEPARD supported consortium: Improving food security and income for smallholder farmers through improved post harvest technology and he was an agricultural innovation facilitator trained by PAEPARD for the consortium around Ghana - Control of Angular leaf spot disease of Citrus.

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