University of KwaZulu-NatalAfrica Centre for Crop Improvement

Africa Centre for Crop Improvement

The Centre trains African plant breeders in eastern and southern Africa to breed better crops using conventional and molecular breeding tools. It is involved in a wide range of multidisciplinary research projects that include forestry, engineering, genetics, microbiology, entomology, engineering, economics, biochemistry, horticultural science, crop science, botany, chemistry and animal science. Students undertake academic studies for one year on the Pietermaritzburg campus before returning to their home countries to conduct three years of field research breeding African food security crops, primarily using conventional plant breeding methods in the environments in which the new crop cultivars will be grown by small-scale farmers. The focus of the PhD theses is on the applied breeding of key food crops such as sorghum, cassava and cowpeas for increased disease and drought tolerance, and improved yields and quality, with the aim of improving food security in some 14 African countries.


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