Project Details CHEMRAWN XII - Chemistry, Sustainable Agriculture and Human Well Being in Sub-Saharan Africa (revised title)

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 January 2002
End Date:
01 October 2010


Remarks: Collaborative venture with UNESCO, co-sponsored bythe American Chemical Society


  • Installation of practical and affordable modern scientific sustainableagriculture in sub-Saharan Africa as a long-term achievable goal forameliorating the festering food crisis and driving towards food self-sufficiencyand food security by increasing per capita food production.
  • Attitudinal conditioning for responsible natural resource managementin the African continent as part of the strategy to protect the environmentfor the benefit of future generations.
  • Application of the stock of available chemical knowledge and technologyin the drive for the reduction of the poverty level and enhancementof human well-being in the region.
  • Enhancement of awareness by African governments, the private sectorand development agencies operating in the region of the technologicaland policy options available for increasing food security and protectingthe natural base.


  • Emphasis on technology transfer and adaptation for addressing evolvingproblems of agricultural production and environmental preservation.
  • Reversal of declining soil fertility in Africa.
  • Enhancement of pest management strategies.
  • Application of biotechnology in improving plant and animal germplasmfor the development of high-yielding and stress-resistant varieties.
  • Reduction of post-harvest losses via improved storage/processingtechnologies.
  • Promotion of informed usage of agrochemicals for increasing foodproduction through safe and environmentally-friendly practices.
  • Intensification, diversification, and transformation of small-scaleAfrican agriculture through high-value products.
  • Enlistment of, and sustaining, the interest of the private sectorin promoting agricultural research in Africa.
  • Promotion of collaboration between African scientists, and theirmore experienced counterparts in the developed and emerging countrieswith proven success stories in the scientific transformation of agriculture.
  • Highlighting gender issues in African agriculture and strategiesfor the economic empowerment of rural women.
  • Installation of pilot development and relevant research projectsin the different sub-regions through the activities of the FutureActions Committee of the Conference.


> project announcement published in Chem. Int. March 2003

Originally, the conference titled “African Food Security and ResourceManagement” was scheduled for 22-25 June 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya. Owingto instability in the region and associated difficulties in raisingfunds, it was decided to cancel the project. However, at the CHEMRAWNmeeting in Berlin (August 1999), Drs. Buncel and Onyido reiterated theimportance of the project, in view of the potential role chemistry canplay in enhancing food production in Sub-Saharan Africa in a sustainablemanner and the imperative of transferring proven chemistry-based technologiesto Africans as a long-tern strategy to assist in achieving food securityin the region. Their suggestions to refocus the conference program toreflect enhanced chemistry content, reorganize the budget to a modestand more easily realizable target, change the venue to a safer venue(South Africa), and to seek a suitable conference on which to “piggyback”CHEMRAWN XII, received the endorsement of the Committee.

The new title, emphasizing the compass of chemistry in enhancing sustainableagriculture has been adopted as a consequence of the refocusing of theconference program. The Conference coordinators have prepared a ConferenceWhite Paper in which the objectives, sub-themes, range of participants,expected outputs, follow-up actions, etc. are clearly spelt out.
> DownloadConference White Paper (pdf file – 19KB)
A major improvement in the conference plans is enhanced gender sensitivity,since African women are known to provide much of the labor input infood production. Potential speakers, including respected authoritiesin the different sub-themes of the conference both from within and outsidethe African continent, are being approached. As well, potential donorsand corporate participants are being approached. The South African SoilScience Society is a collaborator on whose annual conference CHEMRAWNXII can “piggyback”. On the whole, the outlook is optimistic. Whilefund raising remains the major challenge, the conference coordinatorsfeel that with sustained effort the project will be successfully realizedin 2005.

Conference Venue and First Circular
A decision shall soon be made between South Africa and Senegal as theconference venue. The First Circular shall then be in circulation withall the necessary details.

Call for Papers and Appeal for Support
In order to plan effectively for a conference that will meet the objectivesstated above in a functional and sustained manner, it is important forscientists and professionals to be sensitized early enough to be readyto contribute papers for oral and poster presentation. We would alsolike to appeal to stakeholders and donor agencies for financial supportto tackle the problem of hunger, poverty and a high misery index byengaging in a sustained effort to equip Africans to tackle an Africanproblem themselves.
A number of international organizations have already given their endorsementfor the proposed Conference.

Contact person
Stakeholders, donor agencies, and scientists who would like to be partof this timely and worthwhile effort are invited to contact the Chairmanof the Conference Steering Committee at the following address:

Professor Ikenna Onyido
Director, Centre for Agrochemical Technology
University of Agriculture
P.M.B. 2373, Makurdi, Nigeria

Sep 2004
A one-day workshop was convened as part of the program of the InternationalChemistry Conference in Africa, which took place 2–7 August 2004at the Arusha International Conference Center. The 34 participants whoattended the workshop were drawn from 12 African countries as well asSweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Bangladesh.

The workshop galvanized “grassroots” support for CHEMRAWNXII by elucidating how the vast array of analytical and problem-solvingtools of the chemical sciences can contribute to the quest for foodsecurity in sub-Saharan Africa.

> See full report published as a feature in Chemistry International May 2005, p. 8 – “ExploringSolutions to Africa’s Food Crisis

July 2006
A second pre-conference workshop was held during the Annual Congressof the Chemical Society of Ethiopia in February 2006 in Addis Ababa.

CHEMRAWN XII – ‘The Roleof Chemistry in Sustainable Agriculture and Human Wellbeing in Africa‘is scheduled to be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa from 2-5 December 2007.
For more information, please contact Piet Steyn <>,Chair of the Organizing Committee.


> press release
> e-circular (pdf 145 KB)
> Announcement – Chem. Int. 29(3), 2007

Project completed

page last modified 20101029