Excitement across Africa for Fascination of Plants Day events



Over the past couple of months, Fascination of Plants Day has brought great excitement and learning to plant enthusiasts in participating countries across Africa. Here are some examples:

In Ethiopia, primary school children visited Hawassa University College of Agriculture to learn about vegetable research and see examples as part of the visit.

In Angola, an indoor event organized by Dr. Amândio Gomes, Professor at Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences of Agostinho Neto University discussed the decline of ornamental palm trees in Luanda streets. Another event organized by the Department of Exact and Natural Sciences at ISCED-Huíla, brought students to Tundavala, a national heritage site to introduce students to technical practices of plant survey, as well as learn about rare and exclusive plant species of the region. The Launch of Uvandje Project, which aims to establish nurseries in two localities, Lubango and Caconda, to grow native species for reforestation purposes. The project is funded by US Forest Services and will be implemented by the University Mandume Ya Ndemufayo and a local NGO.

In South Africa, Stellenbosch University held a plant open day which attracted many school students who took part in interactive demonstrations with leading plant scientists and learnt about how crucial plants are for our environment and economy. South Africa is participating for the first time in Fascination of Plants Day.

In Ghana, undergraduates at the University of Ghana-Legon held a practical day out to identify resistant cultivars that could be utilized in breeding programmes. Two cultivars of the solanaceous plants namely tomatoes and eggplant were physically challenged with viral isolate through mechanical sap inoculation and grafting by the students. Understanding the reaction of plant cultivars to viral diseases is a prerequisite for resistance breeding.

In Kenya, 6 events have been held including a fun kitchen garden competition with Mwiki’s Secondary 4K Club (pictured). The event was a vibrant showcase of creativity and agricultural skills as students transformed ideas of kitchen gardens into flourishing garden sections brimming with a variety of vegetables. The competition was fiercely contested, with each team demonstrating innovative planting techniques and sustainable gardening ideas. Our principal and teachers provided unwavering support throughout the event, offering guidance and encouragement to all participants. The best teams were honoured with special prizes, recognising their outstanding efforts and dedication to promoting the beauty and importance of plants. The day was a resounding success, fostering a deeper appreciation for nature among the students and reinforcing the joy and benefits of gardening.

Remember that Fascination of Plants Day events can be held right through to the end of November 2024.