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Apr 20, 2010

African Seed Institute Established by Iowa State University and the University of Nairobi

On 21 April 2010 Iowa State University (ISU) announced that it had received funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA) to increase cooperative research with the University of Nairobi.  The work will concentrate on increasing food security and reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

The ISU grant is part of a larger $4.49 million grant allocated by AGRA over the next three years for the establishment of a Seed Enterprise Management Institute at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences in Kabete, Kenya.  This Institute will host researchers from Iowa State University Seed Science Center, the University of Nairobi (UoN), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and private business experts.

"The institute’s goal is to eradicate food insecurity through capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa, where seed supply chains are lacking or inadequate. The institute will also provide seed training to graduate students who pursue plant breeding in African universities, support the production of improved seed varieties and create a web-based network for information exchange on seed technology."

ISU will assist with the physical design and construction of the seed laboratory and its storage facilities.  According to  Joe Cortes, leader of ISU's Global Seed Program, “ISU and the UoN will work together to create and facilitate learning modules and specialized workshops on seed testing, seed conditioning and storage, information management, quality assurance and seed policies and regulations -- particularly geared towards seed business.

ISU is a leader in the field of seeds and is home to the ISU Seed Science Center, the largest comprehensive public seed laboratory in the world. "In the past 12 years, the center’s Global Seed Program has conducted international projects on seed policy and regulations in more than 70 countries around the world. Currently the program has ongoing projects in 30 countries in Africa."

Photo Credit: Seed Science Endowed Chair Gairy Munkvold (right) moderates a question and answer session during the BIGMAP Symposium session "Infrastructure for Seed and Biotechnology Development: Focus on Africa", April 2010 courtesy of Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

For more see:

"ISU Seed Science Center, University of Nairobi to establish African seed institute," Iowa State University Press Release, Ames, Iowa, 20 April 2010.

Seed Science Center at Iowa State University

About Margaret


CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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