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Spirit Newsletter nº22 / September 2017

Dear Spirit Forum member,

Last month we launched new documents in the resources section of the Spirit portal. Especially, a guide to EU funding which guides the user through the European Union funding opportunities under the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020.

Moreover, experts in potato breeding and research have identified Eastern Province of Rwanda as a potential alternative for clean potato seed production. Senkesha Ntizo, an agronomist at RAB, said that although the northern and western parts of the country have been taken to be the most suitable areas for growing potato, there is need to utilise the east for production of more clean and quality seed of potato.

New topics were added to our LinkedIn group this month. Check out and join at East Africa Potato Value Chain!

Next 23th-25th October, the International Conference Sustainable Energy for Africa will be held in Brussels, Belgium. In about 40 lectures and poster presentations the conference will treat the following three topics: 1-Energy is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; 2-Energy mix: towards robust, equitable and socially acceptable energy systems; and 3-Research, innovation and education in support of sustainable energy policies.

Kind regards,

The Spirit Project Coordination Group


A guide to EU funding
September 1 2017 by INKOA

In response to the evolution of the world economy and its impact on Europe, the European Commission proposed a set of programmes to boost jobs, growth and investment across the European Union. The programmes are part of the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020.

This publication guides you through these programmes and the funding opportunities they offer are briefly described here in this booklet.

Detailed information is available on the European Commission’s website (https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders_en). 

Optimized loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay for Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus-[potato] detection in potato leaves and tubers
September 19 2017 by INKOA

Apical leaf curl disease of potato is caused by a whitefly transmitted begomovirus, Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus-[potato] (ToLCNDV-[potato]) in India. Detection of this virus is essential to manage the disease, particularly in healthy potato seed production systems. Large scale testing of micro-plants demands a simple, rapid and sensitive assay. Hence, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method was developed for specific detection of ToLCNDV-[potato]. Six primers that recognize the coat protein gene sequence of ToLCNDV-[potato] were designed and LAMP assay was optimized using different concentrations of magnesium sulphate, betaine, dNTPs, Bst DNA polymerase and temperature. The results were assessed by visual observation of turbidity, colour change using SYBR green dye and also by gel electrophoresis. The assay successfully detected the virus in infected plants collected from potato fields whereas no cross-reactions were observed with healthy plants and other potato viruses. The optimized assay was as sensitive as PCR assay and could detect up to 0.002 pg of total DNA. The assay could detect the virus in infected potato tubers and also in asymptomatic plants. Print-capture LAMP assay was developed and its application could reduce the cost and time of the assay in large scale testing under seed production

The effects of potato virus Y-derived virus small interfering RNAs of three biologically distinct strains on potato (Solanum tuberosum) transcriptome
September 19 2017 by INKOA

Potato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most economically important pathogen of potato that is present as biologically distinct strains. The virus-derived small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs) from potato cv. Russet Burbank individually infected with PVY-N, PVY-NTN and PVY-O strains were recently characterized. Plant defense RNA-silencing mechanisms deployed against viruses produce vsiRNAs to degrade homologous viral transcripts. Based on sequence complementarity, the vsiRNAs can potentially degrade host RNA transcripts raising the prospect of vsiRNAs as pathogenicity determinants in virus-host interactions. This study investigated the global effects of PVY vsiRNAs on the host potato transcriptome. 

View all resources



Africa’s most notorious insects – the bugs that hit agriculture the hardest

September 8 2017

The dreaded crop-eating fall armyworm continues to spread across Africa like wildfire. This invasive insect pest, first reported in Africa in early 2016, is in more than 20 African countries including South Sudan and South Africa. It has destroyed many staple crops like maize. Damage to maize alone by this pest could total USD$3 billion in the next 12 months. Crop losses in African countries due to insect pests are estimated at 49% of the expected total crop yield each year, according to the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International. But some crop losses can be even worse, and the effects of the changing climate are expected to increase the damage done by insects. 

International Potato Center sees opportunities in Eastern Rwanda for clean potato seed production

September 20 2017

Experts in potato breeding and research have identified Eastern Province of Rwanda as a potential alternative for clean potato seed production. Researchers sought for an alternative after reports that Northern and Western provinces, the main potato production areas, were said to be infested by viruses and were limited for both breeding and production of potato. Kirimi Sindi, the country manager of International Potato Centre (CIP), said traditional potato growing areas in the country are small and the crop has been grown in the areas for so long, hence leading to accumulation of diseases. Sindi said this has affected subsistence and commercial production levels.

Kenya: New Potato Targets City French Fries Retailers

September 1 2017

Kenya has introduced 53 new varieties of Irish potatoes that meet the required standards set by international fast food joints as the country moves to cut imports. The varieties released by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and potato breeders have been improved to meet the standards. Many international hotel chains and restaurants in the country such as KFC have been importing potatoes to meet the tastes of their French fry customers.

View all news

Course: 'Facing rural innovation challenges - Linking research to inclusive development for food security'

From 25/09/2017 to 13/10/2017 — Wageningen, the Netherland

Researchers must make their work relevant for the inclusive development of involved communities if it is to have any value. And agricultural professionals, farmers and their organizations may lack up to date information on how to most effectively improve food security. This course will introduce you to new approaches and tools for designing and managing participation in rural innovation that will help to resolve both problems and find complementary solutions. It will enable you to create and support effective partnerships, collaboration and dynamic stakeholder networks to co-create new knowledge for better agri-business deals and higher farmer income.

International Conference 'Sustainable Energy for Africa'

From 23/10/2017 to 25/10/2017 — Brussels, Belgium

In about 40 lectures and poster presentations the conference will treat the following three topics:

Topic 1 - Energy is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Topic 2 - Energy mix: towards robust, equitable and socially acceptable energy systems

Topic 3 - Research, innovation and education in support of sustainable energy policies

Symposium on Climate Change and Droughts Resilience in Africa

From 07/11/2017 to 09/11/2017 — Nairobi, Kenya

The “Symposium on Climate Change and Droughts Resilience in Africa” is being organized by Strathmore University in Kenya, the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP). The Symposium will be a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing aid workers, donors, scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental and non-governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing projects focusing on drought prevention, management and resilience in Africa.

View all events

Disclaimer: This website has been developed with the financial assistance of the European Union.
The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the consortium and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

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