Seed Grant Story: Improving Nutrition, Productivity and Adaptability of African Crops to Improve Childhood Malnutrition

Allen Van Deynze

Allen Van Deynze, director of Research for the Seed Biotechnology Center and associate director of the Plant Breeding Center at UC Davis, recently took on his Affairs Seed Grant project, “The African Orphans Crops Consortium,” in response to the high prevalence of child malnutrition and stunted growth in Africa as a result of poor nutrient availability in many of their important food crops.

Van Deynze's project provides training through the African Plant Breeding Academy for African professors in the latest experimental designs and plant breeding to improve nutrient bioavailability. The academy graduated its first class of plant breeders in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2014. In January 2015, the African Orphans Crops Consortium was featured at the MARS Symposium at the Mondavi Center, highlighting the Consortium’s contribution to global food and health challenges. The Consortium also recently received $100,000 from Illumina for its impact on food security.