Strengthening West and Central Africa stakeholder engagement toward high-impact cassava improvement

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The IITA-CGIAR Cassava Breeding Program held the first stakeholder engagement meeting across research institutions in West and Central Africa in Kumasi, Ghana, on 10 – 13 June. The meeting, held in collaboration with CSIR-CRI and designed to develop stronger CGIAR-NARES networks for crop improvement, had cassava value chain actors, including farmers, input suppliers, extension workers, transporters, and marketers across Ghana present.

The meeting engaged these stakeholders in defining the market segments, market share, and target production environment and identifying high-priority traits and threshold values that stakeholders would like to see in improved varieties. In his opening remarks, the Director of CRI Kumasi, Prof. M.B. Mochiah, underscored the importance of cassava in Ghana. He further affirmed his continuous support for CRI’s long-standing collaboration with IITA Cassava Breeding.

Accelerated Breeding Initiative (ABI) Transform Focal Person in West and Central Africa, Vishnuvardhan Banda, introduced the participants to the concepts of product design in aggregating demands for specific products, choosing the most suited geography for production, and identifying preferred traits that drive consumer’s preference. Participants shared their perspectives in groups and made submissions about the market segments, target production environments, and traits that should be included in the new variety design.

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