Coordination between crop breeding and market intelligence: Groundnut in Tanzania

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    CGIAR Initiative on Market Intelligence
  • Published on
    18.03.24

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Pieter Rutsaert, Biswanath Das, Jason Donovan, Lila Train

Social science in CGIAR has a history of providing feedback and recommendations to crop breeding programs on seed product design. However, coordination between the social and biological sides has been challenged by two key factors: (1) lack of a common language to integrate market intelligence findings into the design of new seed products and (2) uncertainty in the roles and responsibilities of social scientists when working with breeding teams during the priority-setting phase for breeding product development due to perceived differences in roles and responsibilities.

What is a product design team?

Product design team (PDT): A multidisciplinary team comprising representatives from across the commodity value chain who can provide expert guidance and accurate information on market needs to define national and regional market segments and associated target product profiles. Members of product design teams include scientists (breeders, social scientists, climate scientists, nutritionists, gender experts, etc.) in addition to representatives from the seed industry, processors, farmer groups, and government representatives. PDTs meet regularly to review and update market information and participate in product advancement against defined target product profiles.

The groundnut product design team (PDT) provides an example of how social and biological scientists can engage, productively guided by the shared understanding of seed product market segmentation. Scientists from the CGIAR regional groundnut breeding program, CGIAR Initiative on Market Intelligence, and Initiative on Accelerated Breeding together with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) organized a Groundnut PDT Workshop to identify market segments and prioritize information gaps in terms of requirements across actors in the groundnut value chain (e.g., farmers, traders, consumers, and processors). Several key information gaps identified included the importance of groundnut haulms for stover and the importance of coat color for particular market segments. As a result, the Initiative on Market Intelligence carried out research, including a trader survey (n=300), a concept testing study with farmers (n=1200), and qualitative stakeholder interviews (40).

Insights from this work are being presented to the Tanzania groundnut PDT to inform the direction and priorities of the national and regional groundnut breeding efforts. Stover quality provides an example of potential farmer requirements that has been considered in discussions by the PDT but which has limited intelligence available. The level of breeding investment for improving stover quality is high, requiring additional nutritional analyses, which could demand a significant share of available funding if prioritized. Through concept testing with farmers, we learned that stover quality is not a priority. Groundnut TPPs for the Eastern Africa subregion have been revised by removing stover quality as an essential trait.

The trader survey allowed us to categorize and estimate the size of the groundnut market segments. It was already known that color and size are key defining criteria for the groundnut market. However, through an analysis of trader data, more details were made available about the size of the different market segments as well as the main production regions per market segment. This information will be relevant in prioritization decisions for market segments.

Going forward, the Initiative on Market Intelligence is exploring the potential for increased demand for peanut butter to pull the design for improved groundnut seeds. Peanut butter is the most important food derived from groundnuts in Tanzania. The research will focus on (1) processor and consumer requirements for peanut butter and how these can be translated into breeding priorities and (2) the potential for peanut processors to pull demand for higher quality groundnuts and related investments in seed production and supply.

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