A bumper crop of PhD students from the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) in South Africa, recently graduated at a virtual ceremony. The group included some of the last cohort to be funded by AGRA.

Since opening its doors in 2002, ACCI have produced 135 Plant Breeding PhD graduates and will continue to train accomplished plant breeders with funding from other organizations.

William Titus Suvi

The productivity of rice is low in Tanzania, due to the rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) disease and the lack of improved varieties. William selected agronomically superior and RYMV-resistant breeding parents and new rice families for further evaluation and variety release in Tanzania. The study was financially supported by AGRA.
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Yared Semahegn Belete

Yared developed new-generation bread wheat lines which are considerably drought tolerant and high yielding with farmer-preferred traits. The new breeds will enhance productivity in marginal and drought-prone wheat production areas in Ethiopia. The study was financially supported by AGRA.
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Nelia Nkhoma Phiri

Cowpea is a multi-purpose grain legume cultivated in Zambia for food security and local markets. Nelia selected breeding parents using phenotypic and high-density single nucleotide polymorphism markers. New breeding populations were developed with enhanced yield and yield components for further genetic advancement. The study was financially supported by AGRA.
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Happy Daudi

Groundnut rust disease causes low yields in Tanzania compared to the potential yield of the crop. Happy developed new breeding families with high combining ability effects for rust resistance and kernel yield. The study was funded by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics/India through Tropical Legumes III project. Read more

Chapwa Kasoma

The recent arrival of the fall armyworm (FAW) in Africa has been severely threatening maize production. Host-plant resistance has been identified as one of the most sustainable pest control options. Chapwa developed new FAW-resistant maize hybrids involving landrace varieties and donor parents. The study was financially supported by AGRA. Read more

Esnart Nyirenda Yohane

The grain yield of pigeonpea is low  in Malawi compared with the potential yield of the crop. Esnart developed new breeding populations with high yield and Fusarium wilt resistance for variety development and release in Malawi. The study was financially supported by AGRA.
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Boluwatife Olaolorun

The productivity of wheat has stagnated in sub-Saharan Africa due to the unavailability of improved cultivars, recurrent droughts and heat stress caused by global climate change. Boluwatife’s unique study used mutation breeding techniques and created superior mutant populations with enhanced biomass allocation, drought tolerance and agronomic performance. Her research costs were funded by her supervisor. Read more

Wilson Nkhata

The bean fly is a noxious insect pest causing low productivity of common bean in Malawi. Wilson used conventional and marker-assisted breeding methods to develop new genetic resources of common bean for bean fly resistance, to release market-preferred varieties. The study was financially supported by AGRA. Read more