Trees against malaria: strengthening of academic and research capacity on Cinchona trees in Peru, Ecuador and DR Congo

January 2019 to December 2021
cinchona tree
Université Catholique de Bukavu (DRC)
Research fields
Agriculture and Food Sciences
Medicine and Health Sciences

Quinine is the oldest antimalarial medicine and currently still widely applied for curative treatments. The production and use of natural quinine is still immensely important. Quinine and related alkaloids are extracted from the bark of Cinchona trees. These trees are now relatively rare in their native range in South America but 25 % of the global production occurs by smallholders in DR Congo (South and North Kivu province) where the tree was introduced during the Belgian colonial period. Production of quinine in DRC, however, is suboptimal. In this JOINT project, we will bring together and exchange knowledge, expertise and know-how on cinchona from its native range (Peru and Ecuador, where the diversity is present but natural populations were heavily exploited in the past) and its introduced range (DR Congo, where the tree is a cash crop for smallholders) leading to new opportunities, cross fertilization of ideas and mutual learning. The strategic goal is to strengthen academic and research capacity in South America and Africa leading to sustainable intensification of cinchona production and its conservation in the tropics.