Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Biofortification conference closes in Rwanda

The 2nd Global Conference on Biofortification, convened by HarvestPlus and the government of Rwanda, has closed today in Kigali with participants pledging to actively engage with all sectors for integration of nutrient-rich crops into food and nutrition security efforts.

Uganda's delegation at the three-day conference was led by Agriculture State Minister Dr. Zurubabel Nyiira, Health State Minister Sarah Opendi and Education State Minister Dr. Komanda Battaringaya. Others included National Planning Authority (NPA) Chairman Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) Executive Director Dr. Sam Mugasi.

Yesterday (April 1, 2014) was a very interesting day with field visits and a gala dinner in the evening where we were treated to traditional music and dance.
Uganda ministers Battaringaya (l), Opendi (m) and Nyiira during the field visit

In the Eastern province of Rwanda we visited a lady-farmer, Mukangarambe, who is multiplying iron-rich beans on seven hectares. The seed will be accessed by other farmers in June. Consumption of these iron-rich beans reduces anemia.
Mukangarambe's bean garden

Not far from there a government facility collects high-nutrient seed, including beans and soybeans, produced by nearby farmers, again for the benefit of other Rwandan farmers.

Dr. Swaminathan and William
Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to interact Dr.Swaminathan, with the father of the India's green revolution. He is approaching 90 but he still has the zeal to speak for global agriculture.

At the gala, there was the opportunity to listen to the inspirational Nigerian Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akimwumi Adesina who said we should stop treating agriculture as a development issue, but as a business.

With Jeff Koinange as our moderator from day one, you surely can understand that this was not an ordinary conference. It was a big thing!

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