3rd African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) Conference

  • Date
    23.10.23 > 27.10.23
  • Time
    12:00 am > 12:00 am UTC-11:00
  • Registration


Leveraging Genetic Innovation for Resilient African Food Systems in the wake of Global Shocks

  • WHERE: Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) | Benguerir, Morocco
  • WHEN: October 23rd – 26th, 2023
  • ABSTRACT DEADLINE: Closed (September 15, 2023)


The African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) Conference was initiated in 2019 to disseminate the latest knowledge and achievements in the field of agriculture, to enhance research and development (R&D) for sustainable agriculture production systems in Africa. APBA conference brings together around 400 international scientists and experts representing different national and international institutions (CGIAR research centers), universities, research institutions, private companies, donors, etc.).

It is a good opportunity for plant breeders, researchers, students, private companies as well as national agriculture policy makers to share their knowledge and discuss their research findings and recent achievements. Such interactions will help in preparing strategies and partnerships to tackle future challenges in R&D for the African continent and open opportunities for potential collaborative actions. Two previous APBA conferences have been successfully organized in Accra, Ghana (2019) and Kigali, Rwanda (2021). Both events significantly contributed to the promotion of international collaborations in basic, fundamental, applied and strategic research areas particularly in the field of crop improvement.


The African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) is an initiative of full-fledged scientists, students, and professionals in Africa from higher education institutions (HEIs), research organizations and private companies who felt the need to change the narrative of crop improvement and the seed sector in Africa. It is a forum dedicated to building capacities, problem-solving, resource mobilization, and long-term strategic development of the agricultural sector in Africa through effective plant breeding programs and provision of tangible solutions to governments, seed companies, nongovernmental organizations and farmers.


CGIAR will have a strong showing at the event. CGIAR encouraged its scientists and its NARES partners to submit abstracts and posters to bring our innovations and achievements to these important audiences. Abstract submissions have closed. Themes for submission included: Advances in Genetic Innovation and Technology, Agri-food systems research towards Food sovereignty and Nutrition security,Dealing with Global Shocks from a Crop Improvement Perspective, Capacity Building and Education in Crop Improvement, Advances in Forgotten and Underutilized Crop Research, Seed Systems and Germplasm conservation, Precision Phenotyping for Crop Improvement


(TBC as of Sept. 26 – Schedules and details are likely to change. Check APBA website for final details)

Main CGIAR sessions: 

Parallel session I (Room 1): Tue, Oct 24. 10:45-12:15 

CGIAR Genetic Innovation Science Group information session

  • Chairs: Dr. John Derera, Senior Director, Plant Breeding and Pre-Breeding

  • Introduction to CGIAR’s Genetic Innovation Science Group and the Breeding Resources Initiative, Dr. Sonja Vermeulen, Science Managing Director of Genetic Innovation, CGIAR

  • Accelerating Breeding at CGIAR, Dr. Michael Quinn, Director, Breeding Modernization and Innovation. Lead, Accelerated Breeding Initiative, CGIAR and Dorcus Gemenet, Breeding program optimization and continuous improvement specialist, CGIAR

  • Getting CGIAR seed varieties to farmers – the Seed Equal Initiative, Dr Chris Ojiewo, Seed Equal Initiative Co lead, CGIAR

  • Delivering seed that meets end users’ needs – Market Intelligence Initiative, Dr. Julius Okello, Impact Assessment Specialist, Market Intelligence Initiative, CGIAR

  • Using our genetic material in perpetuity – Genebanks Initiative, Dr. Marie Noelle Ndjiondjop, Head of Genetic Resources Unit, Genebank Initiative, CGIAR

Full day meeting: Thurs, Oct 26. 09:00-18:00 NARES–CGIAR Genetic Innovation: Strengthening Engagement 2023

  • Follow up to 2022 event. Implementing the spirit of the Aide Memoire

  • Led by Dr. Bish Das, NARES coordinator, Accelerated Breeding Initiative, CGIAR

  • Participants (invitation only): NARES officials, Genetic Innovation leads, CGIAR Center breeding leads, regional organizations

    Other CGIAR participation:

    High- Level Panel Discussion: Oct 23, 11:45-13:00

    Leveraging Genetic Innovation for Resilient African Food Systems in the Wake of Global Shocks

    • Panelist: Dr. Sonja Vermeulen, Managing Director of Genetic Innovation, CGIAR

    • Moderator: Dr. Clare Mukankusi, CIAT-CGIAR

    Plenary Talk: Oct 23, 15:20-15:40

    Accelerated Breeding Modernization: Transforming NARES for Driving Sub-Saharan Africa’s Food Security. 

    • Dr. Sanjay K. Katiyar, Breeding Modernization Lead, Rice Breeding & Innovation Platform, CGIAR-IRRI

    Keynote: Tue, Oct 24. 14:05-14:25

    Driving Greater Impact Through Greater Focus, Excellence In Science and Through Stronger Partnerships

    • Dr. Michael Quinn, Director, Breeding Modernization and Innovation. Lead, Accelerated Breeding Initiative, CGIAR

    Plenary Talk: Oct 23, 14:25-14:40

    Can genomic prediction accuracy be increased in modern plant breeding? 

    • Dr. Jose Crossa, Genetic Resources Programme, CIMMYT

    Plenary Session: Tue, Oct 24. 14:30-15:00

    Re-designing crop varieties to win the race between climate change and food security

    • Led by Dr. Kevin Pixley, DDG, Research, CIMMYT

    • Featuring Spotlight talks from African experts from NARO, CSIR, CIMMYT, e.g. on anticipated changes and desirable or essential traits for key crops to succeed in future environments

    High-Level Panel: Tues, Oct 24: 15:45-16:45

    Re-Designing Crop Varieties to Win the Race Between Climate Change and Food Security

    • Moderator: Dr. Chris Ojiewo, Lead, CGIAR Seed Equal Initiative

    • Panelists: NARES and other CGIAR partners

    Panel: Wed, Oct 25. 09:45-10:25

    High-Level Panel: Leveraging opportunities for the training of modern plant breeders in Africa for Africa

    • Featuring Dr. John Derera, Senior Director, Plant Breeding and Pre Breeding, CGIAR. Along with several key CGIAR NARES partners

    Keynote Address VI: 10:45-11:25

    Advances in Forgotten and Underutilized Crop Research & Research in Millets Crops

    • Session Chair: Miguel Sanshez Garcia (ICARDA)

    • Speaker: Dr. Damaris A. Odeny, Genomics Scientist International Crops research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

    Parallel Session III: 11:25-12:45

    Room 5: Seed Systems and germplasm conservation

    •  Chair: Dr. Ahmed Amri (ICARDA)

    Additional sessions: Sessions accepted from CGIAR abstract submissions. Details and more sessions to be added:

    • Inclusive approach to early generation seed production and delivery systems: experiences from sub-Saharan Africa:  Dr. Christopher Ochieng Ojiewo (CIMMYT), Lead, CGIAR Seed Equal Initiative

    • The Enterprise Breeding System: Empowering Genetic Innovation: Dr. Simon Imoro (IITA), Enterprise Breeding System

    • Costing of Breeding Program: CGIAR-NARES-Breeding Crop Network: Dr. Lennin Musundire (CIMMYT), CGIAR Accelerated Breeding Initiative

    • CGIAR genebanks: More data, better information: Dr. Zakaria Kehel, CGIAR Genebank initiative / ICARDA, Morocco



      For the latest details, see the conference website: https://apbaconf2023.um6p.ma/

      Event story: How CGIAR harnesses genetic innovations for resilient African food systems: Highlights from APBA 2023

      Event blog: 5 research areas to remember from the African Plant Breeders Association 2023 Conference

      NARES-CGIAR leadership meeting story: As CGIAR-NARES networks deliver improved crops, new plans are set to accelerate progress