Technology platforms

Challenge

Many national research institutes and universities lack the resources to acquire state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and the management capacity to support their agricultural research programs. The provision of shared research technology platforms is a cost-effective way of supporting these national research programs.

Impact

The Biosciences east and central Africa (BecA)-ILRI Hub strengthens capabilities of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) through training and transfer of tools developed, adopted and validated within the platforms. The accelerated rate of crop variety development and increased livestock productivity and adaptation through the integrated genotyping service and support (IGSS) platform provides opportunities for smallholder farmers to access, adopt and grow/breed locally-adapted, high-yielding and nutritious commodities for improved livelihoods.

Solution

The Hub consists of a state-of-the-art suite of shared biosciences platforms established to support the work of African and international agricultural scientists. Our genomics platform supports advanced genomic research and training; the bioinformatics platform provides access to high-speed computational analyses of data; the tissue culture and transformation platform provides a means for virus elimination, regeneration and propagation, and transformation protocols of orphan crops are also developed; the mycotoxin/nutritional analysis platform supports food quality and safety tests; the diagnostic platform supports rapid detection of crop and livestock pathogens; and the high-throughput IGSS platform accelerates the rate of development and release of new crop varieties and improvement of adaptation and productivity of livestock, and strengthens the capacity of breeders to integrate molecular breeding approaches into their programs.