Africa Biofortified Sorghum
Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) is a project "to develop a transgenic sorghum that contains increased levels of essential nutrients, especially lysine, Vitamin A, iron and zinc. The nutrition-enhanced sorghum will be used by the product development team for introgression of the nutritional traits into high-yielding, African and farmer-preferred varieties." The primary grantee of the project is Africa Harvest and the co-principal investigators are Marc Albertsen of Pioneer Hi-Bred and Florence Wambugu of Africa Harvest. ABS is funded by the Gates Foundation as part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health effort. The ABS project began in 2005.
The Consortium is made up of:
- Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International, Kenya.
- Pioneer Hi-Bred (DuPont), Iowa.
- Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
- Agricultural Research Council of South Africa (ARC)
- African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Kenya
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
- University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa.
- Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
- West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD)
- University of California Berkeley, United States.
- Environmental and Agricultural Research (INERA), Burkina Faso.
- Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Nigeria.
Leadership and Governance
ABS Project Steering Committee (PSC) provides "vision, general oversight and direction to the project... It sets the agenda for technology development, product development and enabling environment, monitors project stewardship, approves project milestone delivery, milestone re-negotiations, budget disbursements, training needs, patent filing as well as enforcement of all the grant conditions and the project policy." The committee is made up of representatives of the lead consortium institutions (Pioneer, Africa Harvest and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research). As of 2012, the committee is made up of:
- Marc Albertsen, Pioneer Hi-Bred,
- Florence Wambugu, Africa Harvest
- Rachel Chikwamba, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
- Lloyd Le Page, Pioneer Hi-Bred
- Babatunde Obilana, Independent Consultant
The Team Leaders Management Group (TLMG) is responsible for "the project implementation and delivery on behalf of their institutions. They oversee work progress in their respective institutions, manage risks, develop and effect mitigation strategies."
The External Advisory Board (EAB) is a group with expertise in agri-biotechnology, biodiversity, nutrition, bio-safety, plant breeding, agricultural economics and public acceptance and communication. They review the project's progress annually and give advice. The Board is made up of:
- Ruth Oniang'o, Member of Parliament in Kenya and professor of Food Science and Nutrition at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
- Matin Qaim, Centre for Development Research in Bonn, Germany
- Ephraim Mukisira, Director of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
- Harold Roy-Macauley, Director of Programmes for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD)
- Gurdev Singh Khush, agronomist and geneticist
- David Hoisington, Deputy Director General-Research at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
In July 2005, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International a grant of $20,833,922 "to develop nutritionally enhanced sorghum for the arid and semi-arid tropical areas of Africa." The grant was for a term of 6 years. In November 2005, the gave Africa Harvest a second grant of $213,343 for the same purpose. The second grant had a term of 3 years. The total funding from the Gates Foundation from those two grants equals $21 million. The project received an additional $4 million in 2011 from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation given to DuPont and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Biosorghum.org, Accessed March 8, 2012.
- How the ABS Project was started, Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Consortium, Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Steering Committee, Accessed March 8, 2012.
- EAB, Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Grant OPP37877 - Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International, Accessed March 11, 2012.
- Grant OPP37877_01 - Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International, Accessed March 11, 2012.
- Howard G. Buffett Foundation Teams with DuPont and The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to Deliver Nutritionally Enhanced Sorghum to Africa, May 4, 2011, Accessed March 11, 2012.