CSB faculty Keiko Yoshioka, along with co-organizers Shiho Satsuka (U of T Anthropology) and Yaima Arocha Rosete (Sporometrics), held a week-long African-Canadian Collaborative meeting & training workshop to bring together plant pathologists and other researchers to work on techniques for identifying and preventing a blight that has devastated coconut crops in the Ivory Coast. The ongoing project, funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and the International Development Research Centre, has previously provided training in disease detection for researchers from the Ivory Coast’s National Centre for Agronomy Research and University of Nangui Abrogoua. The recent session offered more advanced training focusing on techniques available using new equipment funded by the grant.

The meeting included a two day hands-on workshop led by Dr. Pauline Wang of the Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution & Function (CAGEF) to instruct participants in genomic methods for the detection and identification of plant pathogens.

A gender workshop was held on the last day. Gender equity is an important issue for coconut farmers in the Ivory Coast since many of the farmers are women, so failed crops can have devastating consequences for them.  One of the goals of the initiative is to empower women and improve the livelihood of these farmers.