West Africa crop breeders boost expertise via IITA and EiB collaboration

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IITA, in collaboration with CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB), delivered two professional workshops titled “EiB Breeding Scheme Design Training” and “West Africa Breeding Operations” for crop breeders and operations staff from IITA and national agricultural research systems (NARS) in West Africa from 21 to 25 February. The breeding scheme design training aimed to increase the skillset of plant breeders to design breeding schemes. It focused on helping crop breeders improve breeding programs, consider farmers’ and consumers’ needs, and position the product towards the target market. The breeding operations workshop facilitated operations teams to develop action plans to improve their stations.

In his welcome address, IITA West Africa Hub Director, Michael Abberton, encouraged the participants to take advantage of the workshops to initiate new avenues for strengthening research and addressing key issues such as the availability of improved varieties to ensure food security in Africa.

Agnes Mbugua, EiB’s Seed Marketing Specialist, explained the importance of market segments in identifying specific market needs and offering solutions to create an impact. She said that since CGIAR crops are quite diverse due to the different subregions, “a common set of where and how to align the appropriate choices of the market segments should be put into consideration via prioritization.”

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