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April 27, 2008

International Banana Conference to be held in Kenya in October 2008

The International Banana Conference 2008 will be held from 5-9 October in Mombasa, Kenya.

Interest for the conference has been massive, with more than 500 people having expressed an intention to participate, a sign of the food security and economic importance of banana.
However, local and regional banana production, often carried out in smallholder farms, are badly managed and inadequately marketed. But lucrative small-scale enterprises are now sprouting in many places in Africa, producing in vitro-propagated plantlets that can be rapidly disseminated in large quantities, leading to increased farm productivity and allowing farmers better access to markets.

The conference will be attended by both the Vice-President of the European Commission of Trade and the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The conference will have three major themes: markets and trade, production, and innovation systems. The role of research and the importance of public-private sector partnerships will also be highlighted.


The conference will focus on banana and plantain research across Africa, including lessons learnt and the way forward. Fostering international partnerships is a major objective of the conference, with particular emphasis tn establishing the role of research in promoting future commercial activities and trade in banana, plantain and ensete. There is an urgent need to target basic and applied research that connects to existing and emerging markets. This conference will be the first pan-African meeting to link research to markets in an African context.

Results of the conference will lead to the development of a 10-year strategy document that will shape and change the way bananas are produced and marketed in Africa, linking state of the art research to new markets and stimulating trade. In the long-term, the impact will be to change commercial banana production from a donor aid-supported system to one which is sustained by an invigorated private sector that actively seeks technological interventions.


The conference is being organized in partnership with IITA,Bioversity International, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa(FARA), the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).


The contact person for the conference is Dr. Thomas Dubois, who can be contacted on email address t.dubois@cgiar.org


More information is available at www.banana2008.com









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