The IBP and Trevor Rife, from the Dr Jesse Poland Lab for Wheat Genetics at Kansas State University, jointly conducted a very successful training workshop at the Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) in Uganda, from 27 November to 1 December 2017.
From the IBP were Dr. Graham McLaren, Global Deployment Manager, Dr. Gorgui Alioune Mbow, Regional Deployment Manager for West and Central Africa, and Ms. Mable Mulanya, BMS Support Specialist for East Africa. The other trainer, Dr. Trevor Rife, is the developer of Field Book and other PhenoApps, a series of open source applications for collecting data with Android smartphones and tablets.
The emphasis was on designing trials and generating field maps in the Breeding Management System (BMS), core product of the IBP, to transfer them to the Field Book app on a mobile device. Using barcode readers, scanners and digital integrated scales to collect weight data, the trainees were then able to collect data in the field with their tablets and phones thanks to the Field Book app, and transfer these back into the BMS for data analysis and preservation.
70 participants benefited from this training. They come from diverse locations, including several Ugandan NARO breeding programmes and zonal stations; Seed Co Ltd. and NASECO Ltd., regional seed companies; CIAT and IITA, CGIAR Centres; Kwame-Nkruma University of Science and Technology (KNUST, Ghana) and the University of Zambia. It also included 26 current MaRCCI MSc students, representing several countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
The trainees succeeded at becoming comfortable in using an integrated approach of capturing data electronically (Field Book) in connection with designing trials and managing information in one place (BMS). Thanks to this workshop, they will now be able to initiate, or add momentum, to the modernising of their data management practices for better breeding in their home institutions, across multiple countries of SSA.
Indeed, delegates representing these participating institutions took the opportunity to reunite during the course of the week to develop plans for joint training activities and other initiatives. Together they hope to boldly address the issue of data quality in breeding trials, taking into account the different types of institutions in Uganda, and their diversified challenges.
-- Paul Gibson, Uganda, December 2017