ZPBA to host conference on countering climate change

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

ZPBA to host conference on countering climate change 
Kutsaga chief executive officer and ZPBA president Dr Magama

Fildah Gwati

The Zimbabwe Plant Breeders Association (ZPBA) will next week hold a conference in Chinhoyi to address challenges posed by climate change and explore strategies to maximise the genetic potential of crop species.

The conference set for February 2 at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) will bring together professionals in the plant breeders and runs under the theme: “Harnessing the genetic potential of crop species for enhanced food production and nutritional security under climate change in Zimbabwe.”

Kutsaga chief executive officer and ZPBA president, Dr Frank Magama, said the meeting was crucial to ensure food and nutrition security against climate change.

“The event holds importance in the context of food production as it focuses on harnessing the genetic potential of crop species under climate change and it aims to address the challenges facing agriculture to enhance food and nutritional security in Zimbabwe and beyond,” said Dr Magama.

The ZPBA conference serves as a platform for information sharing and networking within the ZPBA members. It will feature a diverse range of activities aimed at fostering collaboration among plant breeders.

Notable speakers and experts from international organisations such as the International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT), the International Potato Centre (CIP) and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), will participate.

“The programme includes presentations by seasoned scientists, young professionals and postgraduate students. These presentations will cover various aspects of plant breeding, including cutting-edge research findings and innovative approaches to crop improvement.

“The exchange of knowledge and ideas during these sessions is expected to spark further research, development and funding opportunities, as well as the adoption of suggested solutions” he explained.

Dr Magama said the conference includes a business meeting where a new executive committee will be established to lead the organisation for the next two years and an annual general meeting will also take place, providing an opportunity for members to discuss important matters concerning the association’s future direction.

“As the impacts of climate change become apparent in everyday life, the goal of the association is to bring together experts under one roof for an intense and robust discussion on the direction plant breeding ought to take, climate change coping strategies and policy directions that may be needed.”

He also said the presentations will facilitate information sharing and discussions in line with national efforts to diversify crop production and improve the nutritional outcomes of food.

“The event also aims to equip scientists working in the field with valuable insights and knowledge, leading to the release of improved varieties of crop species and these improved varieties should meet the needs of farmers, consumers and the processing industry thereby driving their enhanced adoption and utilisation,” said the ZPBA president.

There will also be an award ceremony to honour Mr Enoch Mudzengere a retired burley tobacco breeder who has made significant contributions to Zimbabwe and SADC region and he will be bestowed with an honorary lifetime membership to the ZPBA, recognising his invaluable achievements and dedication to the field.