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Ibrahima Diedhiou of the University of Thies in Senegal talks to Peanut Innovation Lab Director Dave Hoisington. Diedhiou studies how wild shrubs in the arid Sahel region of Western Africa may improve crop yields and remediate degraded soils. Now – with the support of the Peanut Innovation Lab – he’s testing how the shrubs work in Senegalese farmers’ peanut fields. (Photo by Allison Floyd) CAES News
Innovation Lab uses power of peanuts to fight hunger
The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences helps smallholder farmers feed the world through a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Peanut Innovation Lab — technically, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut — is a five-year, $14 million program funded through an agreement between USAID and UGA.
Pierre Diatta is a PhD student at the University of Georgia, working with researchers to on a project to understand the challenges that discourage young people in his home country of Senegal from farming. CAES News
Student Profile: Diatta works to empower farmers by understanding their challenges
Pierre Diatta is working on a PhD at the University of Georgia and helping a team of researchers understand the barriers that prevent young people from going into agriculture in his home country. The research is funded by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut and spearheaded by agricultural economists Brad Mills of Virginia Tech and Genti Kostandini of UGA.
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Pan-Africa team collaborates to share diversity, find resilience
A network of plant breeders across Africa continues to grow and produce results for farmers. Brought together by Peanut Innovation Lab projects and funding, a network of plant breeders in nine countries spanning West Africa and East and Southern Africa have been sharing germplasm and knowledge, which has led to new varieties in Malawi and soon will lead to another new variety in Zambia.
CAES News
A look back at the Peanut Innovation Lab in 2021
All Peanut Innovation Lab projects made significant advances during FY21, despite the many limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong partnerships with national program partners kept research moving forward, and virtual communication tools meant everyone stayed in touch.
Groundnut Rosette Disease causes stunting in peanut plants and can destroy a crop. Some plants are more resistant than others, and researchers with the Peanut Innovation Lab are homing in on the location where that resistance lies in the genes. CAES News
Homing in on destructive rosette disease through genomics
A group of researchers has identified where within peanut’s genome the resistance to Groundnut Rosette Disease (GRD) lies, which will enable targeted plant breeding to give farmers a variety that can withstand the disease. By finding the major locus controlling GRD resistance and validating that locus as suitable for marker-assisted selection, the team achieved an historic accomplishment in 2021 in the fight against the most destructive peanut disease in Africa.
The Peanut Innovation Lab partners with Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) to create animations in various languages. CAES News
Innovation Lab works to put peanut production in multiple languages
The Peanut Innovation Lab, partnering with SAWBO, recently made two animated videos about groundnut production in Southern Africa available in Portuguese. The translation comes as the lab works with Farmer to Farmer to train farmers in Mozambique, as well as in Malawi and Zambia.The videos, each around 5 minutes long, were made to help relay and reinforce good agronomic practices for farmers growing groundnuts, particularly in Malawi where the lab works with the Malawi Agricultural Diversification Activity (or AgDiv). Over time, the innovation lab has compiled guides with details specific to the region and in languages farmers understand.
Stephen Arthur, a PhD student with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, works to create production packages that help farmers weigh the costs and benefits of different inputs. CAES News
Student Profile: As a boy, Arthur set sights on Cooperative Extension
Stephen Arthur is passionate about crop management. For every problem, there is an answer, he says, but giving just one bit of advice won’t help a farmer manage his crop as well as providing him a big picture. Arthur has worked with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut for several years, first as a master’s student funded through the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab and today as a PhD student working on a project creating production packages for Ghanaian groundnut farmers.
Peanut Innovation Lab student Joseph Gomis works with wild peanut relatives in Senegal. CAES News
Student Profile: Gomis working to map fungal resistance in wild peanut relatives
When Joseph Gomis finished a bachelor’s degree at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, he wasn’t sure whether his studies would lead him to work with plants or animals. With a degree in natural science, he just wanted to make an impact. Similarly, he didn’t predict how important peanuts would become in his life until he was offered an internship to work with Daniel Fonceka, a well respected research scientist with CIRAD and the Centre d'étude régional pour l'amélioration de l'adaptation à la sécheresse (CERAAS).
Tabitha Lomotey studies peanut resilience to certain fungal diseases, but she also discovered that some varieties grow well in the middle altitudes of Uganda, giving farmers a potential new crop. CAES News
Student Profile: In rust studies, Lomotey finds new potential for farmers
When plant breeders talk about the benefits of their work, they usually focus on the benefits to the farmers. Higher yielding varieties that can withstand abiotic and biotic stresses such as drought or diseases bring both food and income security for farmers. But Tabitha Lomotey, who grew up in the city, talks about the consumer, how bringing more food to market makes lower prices for food insecure people who need to stretch their cash as far as they can.