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Regional News of Monday, 24 September 2012

Source: GNA

Training workshop on neglected and underutilized species of plants opens

A training workshop to improve the quality and effectiveness of applied research on value chains of priority or Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS) crops in West Africa opened in Accra on Monday.

The 4-day programme is aimed at increasing young scientists’ understanding and awareness of methods for conducting research on value chain on NUS crops from seeds and generic resources to the consumer.

It is being organized by the Plant Generic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-PGRRI) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States for participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Benin.

Dr. Abdullai B. Salifu, Director-General of CSIR, said the workshop would also contribute towards poverty reduction and greater food and nutrition security in West Africa, and Eastern and Southern Africa through enhanced conservation and use of neglected and underutilized species.

He said NUS included hundreds of locally domesticated and wild species, which are rich in nutrients and adapted to low-input agriculture.

He said NUS and the traditional production systems could play a key role in supporting rural livelihoods because they were important in strategies to alleviate the effects of biotic and biotic stresses, particularly those related to climate change.

“Their commercialization can provide income opportunities and many NUS species are important in traditional pharmacology,” he said.

Dr. Abdullai said due to the intensification of agriculture and the commercialization of food markets towards a narrow range of the most important food crops, diversity of NUS and associated local knowledge was rapidly being lost and stressed the need to strengthen research on NUS.

He, therefore, urged the participants to give meaning to the training by ensuring that whatever skills and knowledge acquired would be shared with their colleagues back home through organization of internal seminars.

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