Announcing the ARN workshop and hackathon at #Plantbio21
During the Plant Biology Worldwide Summit 2021, the African Researchers Network (ARN), in collaboration with OCP North America will hold a workshop and hackathon focusing on the role of orphan crops in fostering bio-economies. The main workshop is currently scheduled for Wednesday 21st July (9.30 AM–11:00 AM ET while the hackathon prize announcement will be held on Friday, 23rd July (9.00am – 10.00am ET).
Also known as forgotten Foods, Neglected or Underutilized crop Species (NUS), orphan crops include species that are of crucial importance in local communities due to their high nutritious content and their well adaptability to local and low input farming systems. Despite their potential role in contributing to food & nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and adaptation to climate change, they are not traded internationally and tend to get less attention in terms of agricultural research and extension.
The increasing awareness of the unsustainability of our current agricultural systems which rely on few crops to provide 60% of the global food supply, has led to the re-evaluation of orphan crops, and the acknowledgement of their role in diversifying foods and diets and enhancing food and economic security in rural populations. For instance, research efforts led by the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) through a network of global partnerships aim to enhance orphan crops through genomics. Furthermore, numerous organizations such as Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) are creating awareness and communicating the economic, nutritional, environmental and cultural values of these foods to the world through webinars and other events. Through this workshop, ARN will leverage the ASPB platform to discuss ongoing research on orphan crops, promoting this dialogue FROM a global network TO a global audience during thePlant Biology 2021 summit
The main workshop will feature scientists championing orphan crops research in Africa, including Dr. Allen Van Deynze, Dr. Damaris Achieng Odeny and Dr. Michel E. Ghanem, and entrepreneurs opening new global markets for African orphan crops, such as Chef Pierre Thiam. These speakers will speak on topics related to genetics, soil and biodiversity, empowerment and entrepreneurship in the context of orphan crops.
The event will also feature an agricultural technology hackathon to foster innovation and collaboration in the field. Over a 48-hour period, multiple teams will be asked to hack possible solutions to challenges encompassing areas such as orphan crops genomics and breeding, food security, biodiversity and soil fertility and empowerment and entrepreneurship. Information on team formation and challenges will be emailed to registered participants ahead of time. Mentors will be assigned to each team to guide the development of potential solutions. Multiple prizes ranging from $100 amazon gift card and $500 project seed money will be awarded to hackathon winners.
Blog by Sessen Daniels, Prince Zogli, Mathieu Ayenan and Modesta Abugu
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