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Africa: CIMMYT to Organize a CGIAR varietal enhancement project

CIMMYT to head a CGIAR
A pair of African hands planting seeds in the soil in order to have a sustainable future in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

As part of the One CGIAR reform, the Global Science Group in western and eastern Africa, Genetic Innovation will undertake a crop breeding and seed systems project for major crops such as peanuts, sorghum, and millet.

The project will be led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), which is a global leader in creative partnerships, breeding, and agronomic science for sustainable agri-food systems.

The AVISA (Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa) project aims to enhance millions of people’s health and livelihoods by boosting the productivity, profitability, resilience, and marketability of nutritious grain, legumes, and cereal crops. The initiative focuses on CGIAR and national program partners establishing networks to modernize crop breeding and public-private collaborations to boost seed systems. Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania are among the countries where the project is currently active.

Kevin Pixley, Deputy Director General and Head of Genetic Resources at CIMMYT noted, “Sorghum, groundnut, and millets are vital staples of nutritious diets for millions of farmers and consumers, and are crucial for climate-change-resilient farming systems.” “The CGIAR’s Genetic Innovation Science Group will oversee this project, ensuring continued support for the improvement of these crops in partnership with the national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES),” he said.

“On behalf of the Genetic Innovations Science Group and the CGIAR, CIMMYT is thrilled to lead this initiative,” said CIMMYT Director General Bram Govaerts

“We look forward to working with partners and stakeholders to co-design and co-implement the next generation of programs that leverage and build on NARES, CGIAR, and other strengths, as well as the research to farmers and consumers continuum, to improve nutrition, livelihoods, and climate change resilience through these crops and cropping systems.”