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The Joint Pan-African Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference kicks off in 2 Weeks

panafricaIn two weeks the Joint Pan-African Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference kicks off. It is one of the 11 signature events we will see during the International Year of Pulses, the second in 2016. It has been amazing to see the momentum that has been building for IYP and its related events, evidence of this in over 600 abstract submissions for this conference. Of the abstracts accepted, 112 were assigned to topical oral sessions and approximately 390 to poster sessions.  This translates into approximately 500 abstracts of research on grain legumes (pulses) that will be presented!

This scientifically focused conference will cover some fascinating topics. One of the plenary sessions I find particularly interesting is titled “Ecological approaches to integrated pest management in grain Legumes”. According to the FAO, “Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem approach to crop production and protection that combines different management strategies and practices to grow healthy crops and minimize the use of pesticides”. The FAO promotes IPM as the favoured approach to crop protection and regards it as a pillar of both sustainable growth of crop production and pesticide risk reduction. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.

With our rapidly growing population, we will need to substantially increase food production and IPM will be a key component of this. For example, while pulses are an extremely sustainable crop that use less water, have a smaller carbon foot print and fix nitrogen in the soil, between 30-40% of pulse crops can be lost because of pests and diseases. This can be exacerbated by the fact that pulses are especially non-competitive crops. In the past we have focused on one or two kinds of technologies, particularly chemical pesticides, to manage pests and disease. Integrated Pest Management looks beyond this.

Signature events like the Joint Pan-African Legume and World Cowpea Conference, provide an opportunity to increase the awareness of issues faced by pulse farmers around the globe, and draw attention and resources to key areas of activity and research aimed at improving pulse productivity worldwide. This conference will provide a platform for scientists and individuals involved in the pulse value chain to exchange information and ideas which will improve pulse production.

For more information on the Joint Pan-African Grain Legume and World Cowpea Conference… Click here. Also, join the conversation by using the hashtags #Legumes4African and #LovePulses.
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