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Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab director attends project meetings in Malawi, Ghana, Kenya

By Christy Fricks

University of Georgia, Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab

Dave Hoisington, Director of Feed the Future's Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL), recently returned from a 3-country tour of Malawi, Ghana and Kenya where he attended PMIL Value Chain Project planning meetings in both, Kumasi, Ghana and Lilongwe, Malawi.

PMIL researchers, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), private sector and USAID regional staff met to discuss the project's priorities for value chain interventions, proposed work plans and budgets.

In addition to the planning meetings, Dave made use of his visit to the region by visiting with existing and potential PMIL partners in Nairobi, Kenya.

In Nairobi, he met with Moses Siambi, ICRISAT’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, to discuss the projects under which PMIL will provide support to ICRISAT in the region. These projects include work in peanut breeding, genomics and value chain interventions.

He also met with Stephen Runo, Plant Molecular Biologist, Plant Transformation Lab, Kenyatta University and toured the lab where Runo, a co-principal investigator on a PMIL project, is researching the use of RNAi technology to combat Aspergillus flavus infection of peanuts. Combating A. flavus infection will ultimately reduce aflatoxin contamination.

During the visit, Dave and Stephen identified training and other requirements for the success of the project. Dave was able to meet many of the students in the lab and observed the work they are doing on maize, rice and cassava transformation.

Prior to the Kumasi meeting, Dave, Nick Magnan (PMIL Lead Scientist at UGA) and Giselle Gajata-Garrido (PMIL Collaborator at IFPRI) met with John Brighenti, Agriculture Office, Office of Economic Growth at USAID-Ghana and discussed the PMIL research efforts in Ghana and how these can best link with other USAID initiatives in the country. Finally, Dave participated in the Ghana planning meeting held at the Engineering Guest House at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Similar to the Lilongwe meeting, PMIL scientists and partners discuss the priorities for the project, and revised work plans and budgets.

Published February 6, 2014