Innovations are categorized in four stages:


  • Stage 1: discovery/proof of concept
  • Stage 2: successful piloting
  • Stage 3: available or ready for uptake
  • Stage 4: uptake by next user







In 2018, 10% of innovations were at stage 4 – “uptake by next user”; 43% were at stage 3 – “available for use”; 18% were at stage 2 – “piloting”; and 29% were at stage 1 – “discovery of proof of concept”. The majority (66%) of innovations were the result of genetics research including new improved varieties with increased genetic gain and they represent 74% of total stage 3 innovations. Unique tagging of innovations was introduced into the reporting system in 2018, which will improve the ability to track – and manage – innovations through the innovation pipeline in future years. Table 5 presents a summary of the stages and types of innovations reported.


Of note is the remarkable number of genetic innovations (619), including 417 improved varieties of which 10% have been taken up by next users in 2018, an uptake level that is comparable with private sector patented varieties. MAIZE reported the release of 81 elite maize varieties, RICE 108 Green Super Rice varieties, RTB 90 improved advanced clones of potato, WHEAT 58 improved bread wheat and durum wheat varieties, GLDC 58 innovative varieties including, groundnut (28), sorghum (8), pearl millet (10), and A4NH 22 bio-fortified varieties of bean, pearl millet, wheat and maize (MAIZE, 2018; RICE, 2018; RTB, 2018; WHEAT, 2018; GLDC, 2018; A4NH, 2018).


Examples of innovations:











RICE (108):
Green Super Rice varieties are defined as rice cultivars (inbreds, hybrids) that can produce high and stable yield under less input, with 95 in stage 3 in Asia (the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India and Indonesia) and Africa (Tanzania and Mozambique); and 13 at stage 4, having already been taken up by next users in Pakistan and the Philippines (RICE, 2018).


RTB (90):
Seventy varieties (506 advanced clones) of potato with resistance to late-blight and viruses and high productivity were released. Ten Late-Blight Heat Tolerant clones showed high marketable tuber yield and a glycoalkaloid content under the safe level in tubers. Eight clones with low glycoalkaloid content and high marketable tuber weight were selected to be used to develop new varieties suitable for high heat stress or as suitable parents in breeding programs aimed at improving heat tolerance with minimum risk of glycoalkaloid accumulation under high temperature stress. Two high-yielding, consumer-acceptable apple banana hybrids (Musa species, AAB genome group) with resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense race 1 were also released (RTB, 2018).


Managing innovations toward scaling
RTB 2018 annual report
RTB is contributing to rethinking scaling in research for development interventions. Under the leadership of Wageningen University, CIP and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), RTB is advancing a “Scaling Readiness” approach. This approach has been developed to facilitate the rigorous assessment of innovation readiness for going to scale and to support, through a stepwise approach, the design, implementation and monitoring of scaling strategies. It is a project management and innovation portfolio management system to support investment decisions related to the scaling of innovations at project, Center and CGIAR level. Scaling Readiness seeks to achieve three objectives:
1- At the project level: enhance the scaling performance of CGIAR research and delivery projects by supporting the design, implementation and monitoring of cost-efficient and realistic scaling strategies;
2- At the CGIAR Center and System levels: support innovation portfolio management by providing a dashboard for monitoring the scaling readiness of, for example, all CGIAR innovations;
3- At the CGIAR Center and System levels: support fundraising for CGIAR and CGIAR Centers, as Scaling Readiness provides evidence of which innovations have been proven to work to achieve certain livelihood outcomes (SDGs) in specific locations.
The Scaling Readiness project was conceived in response to a lack of rigorous, evidence-based approaches to the scaling of innovation. It examines CGIAR innovations as packages of technologies, new policies, market mechanisms and partnerships, and assesses the readiness for scaling along a 9-level ladder that is also being used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Union (EU).
The readiness assessment reveals which of the elements in an innovation package form critical bottlenecks for scaling (for example, access to finance, absence of a regulatory framework or seed systems). This assessment enables the design of site-specific scaling strategies to overcome these bottlenecks, and supports scaling partner selection.
A draft Scaling Readiness Quick Guide has been developed and RTB is currently finalizing an Implementation Manual and web-platform where all relevant materials will be available. The approach is being used by multiple projects inside and beyond RTB to develop and implement their scaling strategies, and RTB is in the process of systematically documenting the outcomes of the project.

Source: RTB, AR 2018.


MAIZE (81):
Unique CGIAR-derived maize varieties have been released across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fourteen varieties were hybrid combinations, showing that regional or multinational seed companies use MAIZE-improved germplasm to develop and release improved maize hybrids. These include abiotic stress (such as drought, heat or N use efficiency) and biotic stress (such as maize lethal necrosis, rust, ear rot or striga). Twenty of the released varieties are nutritionally enriched (with Provitamin A, Quality Protein Maize and High Zinc) as result of the MAIZE partnership with A4NH and HarvestPlus (MAIZE, 2018).



WHEAT (58):
Ten new wheat varieties have been multiplied in collaboration with seed producers located in strategic growing areas of Mexico. WHEAT also reported nine bread wheat winter varieties, 22 bread wheat spring varieties, 16 durum wheat spring varieties and one triticale (WHEAT, 2018).


Development of winter wheat varieties
WHEAT 2018 annual report

The International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (IWWIP) has developed, characterized, published and offered synthetic germplasm for use. IWWIP is a joint program between the Government of Turkey’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The program’s main objective is to develop winter/facultative wheat germplasm for Central and West Asia. Advanced breeding lines are distributed annually to over 100 partners in more than 50 countries. In addition, interested breeding programs submit their material to IWWIP for inclusion into international testing. IWWIP also facilitates winter wheat germplasm exchanges for the global breeding community.

The seeds from new winter and facultative wheat varieties developed by IWWIP for irrigated and semi-arid environments have been deposited in the CIMMYT genebank and shared with several breeding and research programs. New synthetic winter wheat varieties were developed using winter durum wheat germplasm from Ukraine and Romania and aegilops tauschii. These varieties contain important sources of resistance to certain diseases and demonstrate strong grain mineral content and drought tolerance. The new varieties are now available through the IWWIP nursery.


Source: WHEAT, AR 2018.


GLDC (58):
New varieties were released for groundnut (28), sorghum (8), pearl millet (10), lentil (3), chickpea (2), pigeon-pea (3), cowpea (2) and soybean (1) (GLDC, 2018).


Table 6 shows a further list of innovations at stages 3 and 4. A complete list of innovations is available in Annex 2.


Participatory approaches to disaster risk management in Latin America
CCAFS 2018 annual report

Latin America is engaging in a bottom-up approach in relation to the implementation of the Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Management in the Agriculture Sector and Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean, through the promotion of CCAFS’ Local Technical Agroclimatic Committee (LTAC) approach. The LTAC approach aims to strengthen local capacities to deal with climate variability and seeks to help close the gap between climate information and farmers’ decision-making processes. The LTAC’s basic premise is that knowledge-intensive practices require learning through interaction and shared understandings, rather than through one-way direct knowledge transfer.

In 2018, Chile was added to the group of Latin American countries that have adopted the LTAC approach, and Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Ecuador are incorporating the approach into their disaster risk management plans according to their context-specific needs and capacities, supported by collaborative work between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and CCAFS. The recently developed LTAC manual, which provides a step-by-step guide to implement the approach, will be used by countries to determine LTAC approaches that take into consideration context specific conditions.


Source: CCAFS, AR 2018.


Protecting the contribution of fish to food and nutrition security
FISH 2018 annual report

Recent results highlight the extent to which fish are a key dietary component of the poor and the challenges faced in maintaining this supply.

CGIAR research on small-scale fisheries provided new knowledge of global human dependence on marine ecosystems, indicating high dependency of 775 million people on marine fisheries, and providing the basis for targeted management and policy for vulnerable small-scale fishing communities. Further, new studies which chart consumption rather than catch reporting suggest that freshwater catches are, on average, likely to be approximately 65% higher than those officially reported by national governments to FAO. These “hidden harvests” are particularly concentrated in low income, riparian countries or countries having extensive wetlands such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Ghana. This is a significant finding because long-term underreporting of inland fisheries has masked their critical role in feeding the world’s poor and confounds efforts to evaluate the impact of overharvest and ecosystem degradation adequately. FISH is working with FAO to gauge the full extent of this underreporting globally by 2020.

Using foresight modelling, FISH, with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), provided new understanding of future fish supply-demand trends in Africa, with an article published in Global Food Security laying an important foundation for strategic planning and the investments in aquaculture and capture fisheries that will be required. An analysis of the Zambian fish sector presents a picture of national fish demand outstripping supply. Unless further investments are made in small-scale fisheries management and in aquaculture (with the opportunity to capitalize on the technological and industry growth seen in Asia), fish consumption in the continent will have to be heavily underwritten by imports by 2030. FISH research continues to produce and disseminate a suite of research innovations for sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Innovations include three fish genetics research platforms for aquaculture, providing new improved generations of tilapia in Malaysia and Egypt, and three on key carp species in Bangladesh. Research in these platforms identified several new traits for future genetic selection using genomics tools, including feed efficiency and disease resistance, all critical traits for sustainable intensification under climate change. The growth in global tilapia aquaculture was one of the successes derived from CGIAR research. Here too, protecting gains is critical.

Fish disease and biosecurity research provided new surveillance and diagnostic techniques and tools for addressing the global challenge from the emerging tilapia lake virus (TiLV). Assistance with application of these tools was provided to several countries to improve policies for health management, notably in Bangladesh, Egypt and Zambia. New partnerships established with the private sector at global and national levels are providing new avenues for future scaling of innovations from FISH and CGIAR research.


Source: FISH, AR 2018.



Photo by M.Major/Crop Trust