GENES – Mobility for Plant Genomics Scholars to Accelerate Climate-Smart Adaptation Options and Food Security in Africa


  • Ebonyi State University in Nigeria, (Prof. Happiness Oselebe)
  • University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin, Coordinating institution (Prof. Enoch Achigan-Dako)
  • Jimma University in Ethiopia (Dr. Wosene Gebreselassie)
  • University of Yaunde 1 (Dr. Ngalle Hermine Bille)
  • Wageningen University & Research (Prof Dr Eric Schranz)

Other collaborations

  • University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa)
  • Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD)  (Dr. Remi Kahane)
  • BecA-ILRI (Kenya)
  • African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA), UC Davis) (Prof. Rita Mumm & Prof. Iago Hale)
  • Montpelliar SupAgro
  • Plant Breeding E-learning Africa (Iowa State University).


Genomics is a sharp and fairly recent scientific area that provides more precise, quick, non-expensive tools that complement classic breeding approaches. African universities are missing in action in the tremendous progress observed in genetics and molecular breeding worldwide, bedeviled by low capacity and facility in utilizing genomic tools. This program offers a new perspective for training young scholars to equip them in designing and developing molecular approaches to increase the potential of genomic breeding to help adapt to climate change. In anticipation of the need to increase the number of plant genome experts, this project aims at increasing the number of trained and qualified high-level molecular plant breeders in Africa. The project (GENES), is a consortium of four African universities together with one European technical partner with objectives to, a) produce for Africa 10 world-class molecular plant breeders that will accelerate cultivar development to adapt to current and future challenges related to climate change and food and nutrition insecurity, b) train next generation of 36 high skilled genomics scientists with strong capacity in cultivar development and use of new molecular breeding approaches for major crops used for food and nutrition security and for industry, c) harmonize training programs and research agenda on the use of genomic breeding to accelerate cultivar development and increase the resilience of crop production systems, and d) foster national – regional – global collaboration and programmatic agenda that promote genomic breeding research and training for agricultural innovations within Africa. The GENES consortium has assessed areas of weakness in genomic breeding and is linking with pivotal Anglophone and Francophone universities and research institutions with adequate expertise/potential in the areas of genomics for development in this exchange program.

Expected Result

1) Ten world-class plant genome specialists with awareness on the challenges of climate variability and food insecurity;

2) Thirty-six other scientists and 8 staff with strong capacities in cultivar development fostering molecular approaches;

3) Harmonized and state-of-art training programs in four Universities located in West, Central, and Eastern Africa;

4) Create a pragmatic and programmatic partnership among African universities within and beyond this consortium.

Intervention areas: Benin, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Netherlands

Budget: EUR 1.399.800,00

Duration : 2017 – 2023

Crops of interest

Rice, Yam, Plantain & Banana, cocoyam, maize, watermelon, legumes, leafy vegetables, Common beans, cassava, sorghum and peanuts.

Contact person in Benin:

  • Prof Enoch G. Achigan-Dako, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin,
  • M. Christel Azon, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin.

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