Agriculture in Africa is at a tipping point. Agriculture is moving from subsistence systems to more market led systems, as small scale producers generate surpluses of products to sell in local, regional and/or international markets. Enabling small-scale producers to access the expanding local and regional markets within Africa is one of the critical challenges facing policy makers.
Central to the transformation of agriculture in Africa is identifying what desirable plant varieties are in demand and developing products with suitable characteristics to meet those requirements. Such demand can come from producers, processors, and/or consumers. A customer focus will cause a shift in the public/private sector plant breeding industries to match consumer needs.
The uptake of new plant varieties by small holders in Africa over the past 15 years is in the order of 35%, and this is considerably lower than comparable uptake of new plant varieties in Asia (60%) and South America (80%). Several factors contribute towards this low uptake, including lack of access to seeds, credit and other inputs.
The goal of this project is to contribute to the transformation of African agriculture by enabling small scale farmers to better participate in local and regional markets, by developing more high performing plant varieties that meet market demands.