Conference media advisory

On Monday 9 October the conference media advisory (press release) was circulated to national, regional and international media organisations. Media and press representatives are invited to attend the opening session on Monday 24 October from 08.30 – 11am, with a media conference scheduled for 09.30am. More details in the advisory, copied below.

For more information, or to RSVP, please contact:
Jeff Haskins at +254 729 871 422 or; or
Michelle Geis at +1 301 280 5712 or


Note to Editors: For more information on the programme, story ideas, and field trip opportunities, please contact  

Farm Researchers and Experts to Gather in Kigali to Take Stock of Food Security in Great Lakes Region

24 October 2011
Serena Hotel, Kigali

8:30 am to 11:00 am

9:30 am Press Conference
Delegate Room

Later this month, farm researchers, development experts and other stakeholders will gather in Kigali for a landmark conference to take stock of agricultural development efforts in Central Africa’s breadbasket and chart a path towards food security for the region.

With the highest population density in sub-Saharan Africa, the Great Lakes region includes Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Although these are high-potential areas for farm production due to good rainfall and temperatures that allow cropping most of the year, persistent civil conflicts, lack of infrastructure, political instability and poverty have left small farmers struggling to eke out a living. Food security is a major problem in the region, with some areas reporting 30 to 40 percent of families being food insecure.

The Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA) and the CGIAR Research Programme on the Humid Tropics will hold the first international conference to examine the challenges and opportunities for intensifying farm production in sub-Saharan Africa’s humid tropical regions.

Experts will address a number of questions, including:

  • How can farm biodiversity contribute to reducing malnutrition while boosting farmer incomes?
  • Will climate change help or hurt farmers in the region?
  • Can smallholder farmers compete with large landholders?
  • How can intercropping coffee and bananas increase farmer income and have positive natural effects on soil health?
  • What is the best way to boost farm yields without increasing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the already overloaded atmosphere?
  • Can organic farming reverse the region’s low agricultural productivity and meet tomorrow’s food needs?
  • Why is fertilizer so expensive in Central Africa?
  • Can agricultural production keep pace with the rapid population growth, knowing that much of the highlands have no more fallow land?

Since 2006, CIALCA, which is led by International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Bioversity International, and Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (TSBF-CIAT), has been working with public and private sector partners to make improvements to farm production, market access, and child nutrition in the Great Lakes region.


You can also follow the meeting activity on the conference blog at and join the conversation on Twitter using #CIALCA. More information can be found at  




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