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South Africa commits to building capacity

During 20-25 February 2012, 16 scientists from partners of the Sustainable Intensification of Maize- Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) project and national agricultural research systems from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique, met at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa, for a capacity building workshop.

The workshop was the first of its kind conducted under the SIMLESA project, which is supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and coordinated by CIMMYT. The week-long training covered biometry, principles of conservation agriculture and soil science, and executing the concept of innovation platforms. Practical examples, working groups, and a visit to the Institute of Soils, Climate and Water made the training interactive and interesting. Participants also developed country action plans for implementing innovation platform activities.

The CEO and President of ARC, Shadrack Moephuli, addressed the participants and reaffirmed ARC’s commitment to contributing to improved food security through initiatives such as SIMLESA. He expressed his gratitude to both ACIAR and CIMMYT, and acknowledged the collaborative research activities being undertaken. Yolisa Pakela-Jezile, Senior Manager, ARC Training services, described the forthcoming country trainings and the opportunities for post-graduate studies in South African universities for scientists from SIMLESA and national agricultural research systems.
Finally, SIMLESA Program Coordinator, Mulugetta Mekuria acknowledged ARC’s support for the capacity building objective of SIMLESA. He also briefed the ARC CEO and the Executive Directors of Research, Development, and Technology Transfer on SIMLESA’s progress to date, and extended an invitation to the 2nd SIMLESA Annual Review and Planning meeting in March.