Market Intelligence developed an institutional standard applied by 142 CGIAR and 9 partner breeding programs to co-design 379 gender-intentional target product profiles (TPPs) for 470 market segments identified at sub-regional and country level for all consultative group mandate crops. The TPPs are then used as a guiding force providing direction to all breeding decisions and restructuring/realignment of breeding pipelines when necessary.
In spite of long-time efforts in CGIAR plant breeding, there is limited uptake of improved varieties and low varietal turnover. This could be due to behavioral constraints hampering varietal replacement (e.g., lack of information, risk aversion) or suboptimal targeting and prioritization of product design. Current TPP design is strongly biased towards agronomic and stress tolerance traits, with little systematic identification and integration of traits that contribute to wider social impact such as gender equality, opportunities for youth, social inclusion, climate adaptation and mitigation, and reduction of environmental footprints. Moreover, there is a lack of institutional standards and processes to systematically involve and empower trans-disciplinary teams of social and biophysical scientists in TPP design. Indeed, the recent evaluation of CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) stressed the need to increase inclusiveness in defining TPPs to better contextualize variety development and tailor research to diverse agricultural communities.
The intervention aims to empower trans-disciplinary teams across CGIAR and its partners in prioritized CGIAR regions (West and Central Africa, East Africa, South Asia) to implement the use of market intelligence to co-design TPPs. First, market segments were identified at sub-regional and country level for all CGIAR mandate crops and made publicly available in the CGIAR SPMSD. Market Intelligence together with Accelerated Breeding and Plant Health then developed a harmonized template to develop a TPP for a given market segment that captures traits that can contribute to the relevant Impact Areas. In addition, it developed an institutional standard to create the TPPs by setting up a process to form trans-disciplinary teams that bring the various disciplines and expertise to contribute to the TPP in an inclusive, transparent, and equitable way. Representatives from Market Intelligence, Accelerated Breeding, Seed Equal, Plant Health and regional CGIAR–NARES–SME teams of breeders, social scientists, food scientists, nutritionists, gender specialists, agronomists, plant pathologists, climate specialists, and crop modelers form part of these teams, which then identify and prioritize the key traits to include in the TPP.
Market Intelligence reached breeding networks for different crops via a team of focal points at each CGIAR Center to run a kick-off meeting where the networks were exposed to market segmentation and TPPs, as well as the objectives and goals of the innovative process. This was followed by in-country meetings with the trans-disciplinary teams to review the template and discuss the essentials of designing the TPPs for the identified market segments. A similar process was carried out with the NARES breeding teams. As a result, 142 CGIAR and 9 partner breeding programs have co-designed 340 and 39 gender-intentional TPPs respectively, out of 470 market segments, which have been made available in a Dropbox folder for review, to ensure that they meet the needs of all stakeholders. The TPPs capture key traits, characteristics, and minimum threshold trait improvements required by farmers, processors, and consumers, and descriptions of the market-leading varieties to be replaced. In 2022, all CGIAR breeding teams were reached, trained, and are now using the harmonized TPP template, in addition to nine NARES breeding teams who have now set up trans-disciplinary teams and are using the template to develop their own TPPs. By the end of the Initiative’s first cycle, most partners in most target countries are expected to have implemented trans-disciplinary teams using the template to design TPPs for most mandate crops.
The TPPs guide breeding decisions and the restructuring and realignment of breeding pipelines where necessary. They will further inform pipeline investment cases to maximize investment returns in breeding, seed systems, and other Initiatives across the five Impact Areas. This will ultimately result in the development and release of improved varieties that perform better in terms of nutritional quality, income generation, water and nutrient use, stability of yields under climate change, and address the needs of both women and men as farmers, processors, and consumers. This should enhance their adoption and resulting impacts across the five Impact Areas.
- Cobb, J.N., Juma, R.U., Biswas, P.S., Arbelaez, J.D., Rutkoski, J., Atlin, G., Hagen, T., Quinn, M., and Ng, E.H. 2019. Enhancing the rate of genetic gain in public-sector plant breeding programs: Lessons from the breeder’s equation. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 132: 627–645.
- CAS Secretariat (CGIAR Advisory Services Shared Secretariat). 2021. Synthesis of Learning from a Decade of CGIAR Research Programs. Rome: CAS Secretariat Evaluation Function.
- Donovan, J., Coaldrake, P., Rutsaert, P., Bänzinger, M., Gitonga, A., Naziri, D., Demont, M., Newby, J., and Ndegwa, M. 2022. Market intelligence for informing crop-breeding decisions by CGIAR and NARES. Market Intelligence Brief Series 1. Montpellier: CGIAR.
Header image: Varietal Profiles Validation Workshop for the main rice ecologies of Ivory Coast. Photo by AfricaRice