Market Intelligence and Product Profiling


Throughout CGIAR, decisions on how to invest scarce resources in genetic innovation systems are predominantly supply-driven, out of touch with user demand, and governed by multiple decision makers with little coordination or common framework. There is little reliable data on farmers’ needs and on the larger factors that shape needs and demand. Consequently, the outcomes and impacts of investment in these systems, while significant, tend to fall below potential. Investments come at high opportunity cost with limited options to prioritize, and miss opportunities to address gender equality and inclusion, climate change adaptation, and human health and nutrition goals. In addition, social science teams and local partners typically play a limited role in decisions related to the product profiles that guide variety development, prioritization, and delivery.


This Initiative aims to maximize the impacts of Genetic Innovation investments by holistically gathering and analyzing women’s and men’s demands, market opportunities, and the feasibility of producing and scaling crop varieties in local contexts.

Insights from these analyses will inform discussions with breeding teams, resulting in agreed, prioritized efforts and increased accountability for timely delivery of improved varieties that respond to the needs of consumers, farmers, and other value chain actors in the context of climate change and the pressing need to protect the environment.

This will be achieved by:

  • Designing and implementing institutional innovations that integrate research on market intelligence, market segmentation, priority setting, the use of product profiles (blueprints for target varieties) to guide varietal development, and stage-gated decision-making to move crop improvement forward more efficiently across CGIAR-coordinated breeding networks.
  • Developing and implementing a standardized process and templates for product profile development based on innovative behavioral research on preferences and demand from farmers and other stakeholders, and factors that drive farmers to replace older varieties with new ones.
  • Designing and implementing approaches, methods, and tools to support socially-inclusive data collection and analysis that respond to key information gaps across CGIAR’s five Impact Areas.
  • Establishing a collaboration hub among CGIAR and key stakeholders to design and implement collaborative approaches to develop product profiles and indicators for measuring progress on transforming genetic innovation systems.
  • Delivering reliable, comparable, and timely data on market segmentation and prioritization through an investor dashboard to inform researchers, research managers, and investors in prioritizing breeding and seed delivery efforts.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. CGIAR Genetic Innovation Initiatives and public and private sector partners share, access, and use a common digital infrastructure for global and local market intelligence to build and prioritize investment cases, develop product profiles (target variety descriptions), and carry out stage-gated decision-making.
  2. Researchers, research managers, and funders make more impactful resource allocation and investment decisions using the pipeline investment cases and investor dashboard produced by this Initiative. Increased availability of information and transparent, holistic analyses on high-impact opportunities attract increased investments in under-invested and new-opportunity market segments.
  3. Transdisciplinary teams of social and biophysical scientists and nutritionists across CGIAR and partners are empowered to develop, validate, and prioritize product profiles for current and novel market segments. Genetic Innovation Initiatives are equipped to achieve increased impacts through market intelligence-driven, transdisciplinarily-developed product profiles.
  4. Key stakeholders adopt approaches that harness drivers of adoption to accelerate the replacement of old varieties with new ones across regional and seed systems contexts to advance regional and commodity-specific strategies.
  5. CGIAR and partners increase the impact of investments in breeding and other genetic innovations individually, by institutionalizing policies and procedures, and collectively, by participating in networks that share market intelligence, design target varieties by holistically analyzing knowledge and client requirements, and monitor impacts.



The breadth and depth of poverty inform the weighting of market segments and prioritization of investment among crops and areas, helping to define the optimal mix of product and byproduct traits that improves farmers’ livelihoods and contributes to job and income generation in food systems.


Intelligence on dietary recommendations, consumer preferences and demand, and the triple burden of malnutrition is used to build investment cases for breeding and seed delivery, ultimately leading to farmer adoption of healthier crops and traits that improve nutrition and health and facilitate crop diversification.


Market intelligence disaggregated by gender, youth, and social group informs crop prioritization and gender-aware product profiles that contribute to increased gender equality, a fair labor-benefit balance for women, and social inclusion of stakeholders.


Forward-looking information on climate change informs investment cases for breeding and seed delivery, ultimately leading to farmer adoption of crops and varieties that are more resilient to climate extremes and climate-induced pest and diseases, and contribute to climate change mitigation.


Forward-looking information on trends related to biotic stresses informs product profile targets for characteristics that can reduce farmers’ reliance on chemicals, water use, and environmental footprint, and facilitate the preservation of biodiversity in farmers’ fields.


For more details, view the full preliminary outline


Header photo: Hung Nguyen (left), ILRI food system specialist together with Ly Thi Nguyen (right), market vendor. Photo by C. de Bode/CGIAR.