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Breeders CoP Meeting Report: Report of the 16th Annual Meeting – May 2017

The 16th Sweetpotato for Profit and Heath Initiative Sweetpotato SpeedBreeders Annual Meeting, held in Kigali, Rwanda, 14th to 19th May 2017, was officially opened on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture by the Director General of the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB), Dr. Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe. In his opening address, Dr. Bagabe lauded the efforts that various governmental and non-governmental partners had made to promote sweetpotato in Rwanda. He stated that in the past, cereal crops had always taken center stage. However, recent challenges such as climate change, pests and diseases had made it necessary to consider alternative food crops even more.
Forty-three participants from 13 countries were engaged in practical sessions on how to integrate genomic tools into sweetpotato breeding work. These tools aim to make sweetpotato breeding more efficient, by enabling breeders to develop sweetpotato varieties that are adapted to the specific growth conditions, and which meet the preferences of consumers in a shorter time.