A researcher from the Agricultural Research and Technology Cooperation (ARTC) in Sudan, Dr Adam Mohamed Ali Hamid, was recently awarded a General Challenge Programme (GCP) travel grant to work at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) housed at the University of Pretoria.
Prof Hamid is will spend the first three months in 2006 at FABI, working on the genetic diversity of pearl millet for fungal resistance. According to Prof Karl Kunert, head of the Botany Department at the University and an ACGT contributor, “We are delighted that Prof Hamid will be working with us next year and look forward to hosting him at FABI. Working together will be a great opportunity for us to establish a sound basis for future collaboration in the genetic diversity research in cereals.”
Prof Chris Cullis, who will be a visiting professor at FABI in 2006, will spend some time with Prof Hamid to help increase his knowledge about the development and application of molecular markers in plant breeding for downy mildew resistance, particularly microsatellite markers. Prof Hamid will also look at the application of these markers and develop a work plan for implementation at the ARTC when he returns to the Sudan.
According to Prof Hamid, in his application for the travel grant, the ARTC – while fully cognisant of the advantages of applying modern breeding tools to improve the breeding processes – is still using traditional tools for pearl millet breeding. The application of modern processes will, for instance, allow the ARCT to deliver products faster to the resource-poor farmers in the Sudan. It will also help manage the diversity among cultivated crop plants in the Sudan, specifically peal millet.
Prof Hamid believes that the interaction with the ACGT and UP will promote the exchange of scientists between African institutions and facilitate collaboration in research projects focusing on Africa. In addition, it will help to increase the capacity in modern breeding processes amongst young scientists in the Sudan.