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The African Orphan Crops Consortium, alleviating stunting due to the malnutrition one crop at a time

Starting with the shocking statistics and call to action of the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, presenters Van Deynze and Waweru explain the work of the African Orphan Crops Consortium and the Bioinformatics Community of Practice. The Report has the same goal as the Consortium, explains Van Deynze, that is, "to reduce stunting due to malnutrition" but in the case of the Consortium, the path is through plant breeding. "The idea is to develop genomic tools for key crops in African diets," he says. "We chose 101 different crops where we"ll sequence the genomes; we"ll also sequence 100 lines from each of those species as the basis of plant-breeding programs." The other main contribution of the African Orphan Crops Consortium is training of 150 of the top plant breeders in Africa to use the latest strategies and technologies in their work. The concept for the Consortium came from Howard-Yana Shapiro in 2011. Shapiro is a fellow at both the University of California, Davis and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the past chief agriculture officer at Mars, Incorporated. The overall aim of the Consortium is to make nutritious crops more productive, through plant breeders.

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