Proposed Activities

Objective 1: Targeting crop breeding and delivery efforts to enhance impact on livelihoods of the poor in drought-prone regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South asia

The proposed activities are: (i) Baseline studies and situation and outlook analysis for targeted legumes (ii) Monitoring and evaluation including surveys to monitor adoption, (iii) Targeting innovations for up-scaling and for reaching vulnerable groups (iv) Capacity building for NARS partners (v) Coordination.

Objective 2: Enhancing groundnut productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Proposed activities : (i) To assemble 10-15 advanced breeding lines and ‘off-the-shelf’ pre-release varieties that have farmer- and market- preferred traits and then evaluate them in farmer participatory on-farm trials in drought-prone areas for local and wide adaptation; (ii) To develop new high-yielding varieties, resistant/tolerant to drought and foliar (leaf) diseases (such as rust, late leaf spot and early leaf spot), with farmer- and market-preferred traits for different uses (food and oil types), using conventional and modern breeding approaches (linked to Tropical Legumes I Project for marker-assisted breeding and access to new sources of resistance); and (iii) To upgrade the skills and capacity (infrastructure) of NARS, including farmers.

Objective 3: Enhancing cowpea productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Proposed activities: (i) Existing cowpea breeding lines will be tested to determine their drought tolerance. This will involve scientists from IITA and the national programs and selected farmers in the five participating countries evaluating elite cowpea lines for drought tolerance and preferred traits. The seeds of promising elite lines will then be multiplied by community-based seed growers. (ii) Segregating populations will be created for drought tolerance and attendant traits using parents derived from the evaluation of elite lines. (iii) The capacity of national agricultural research system scientists, extension personnel, and farmers to develop and evaluate improved cowpea varieties will be strengthened. Participatory planning workshops, involving major stakeholders (scientists, development partners, extension agents, and NGOs), will be held to review the planned project activities, agree on the project logframe, develop implementation and monitoring plans, share tasks among participating institutions.

Objective 4: Enhancing bean productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Proposed activities : (i) Evaluation of existing regional nurseries and genotypes for drought tolerance, to enable farmer-participatory selection and ‘fast track’ early release. Lines bred in Latin America have potential for immediate application in Africa. (Fast tracking can work on a local level in any country, but in any case, participatory varietal selection will be backed up by parallel testing on station of best bets, to obtain data for formal release). (ii) Development of parental materials and their use in crosses designed to develop small-, medium- and large-seeded bean cultivars with desirable traits in terms of quality and resistance to low soil fertility and biotic stress. (iii) The s trengthening of infrastructure and human resource capacity to make regional and national bean breeding programs more effective.

Objective 5: Enhancing chickpea productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Proposed activities are as follows: (i) Identify and enhance adoption of farmer- and market-preferred chickpea cultivars (chosen from existing improved breeding lines) in water-limited areas, (ii) Develop improved chickpea germplasm with enhanced tolerance to drought, resistance to fusarium wilt, and market-preferred seed traits, and (iii) Enhance NARS’ capacity for chickpea improvement research and development and train farmers in improved chickpea production technologies.

Objective 6: Enhancing pigeonpea productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Proposed activities include the following: (i) Identify and make available farmer-preferred, high-yielding pigeonpea varieties for each focal region (including hybrids in India); (ii) Develop g enetically enhanced pigeonpea germplasm with drought tolerance and resistance to major diseases and insect pests to create varieties and hybrids with more stable yields in diverse agro-ecological conditions; and (iii) Enhance NARS’ capacity in terms of modern pigeonpea production technologies through training, meetings, and workshops in each focalarea.

Objective 7: Enhancing promiscuous, multipurpose soybean productivity and production in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa

Proposed activities include: (i) Variety/elite line testing; (ii) Create breeding populations; (iii) Marketing and value chains; (iv) Capacity building: (v) Soybean workshop: Workshop will be organized to synthesize ideas on how to make inoculum use an integral part of sustainable soybean production in Africa; and (vi) Soybean seed systems: Participatory planning workshops, involving major stakeholders (scientists, development partners, extension agents, and NGOs), will be held to review the planned project activities, agree on the project log-frame, develop implementation and monitoring plans, share tasks and review budgets among participating institutions.

Objective 8: Developing sustainable seed production and delivery systems that will reach the poor in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

The seed delivery strategy within this project aims to actively promote small-scale farmers’ access to new drought-tolerant varieties. We plan to address the key bottlenecks in production and delivery, while at the same time exploiting existing market opportunities, as well as identifying novel market niches. Due to market failure problems associated with conventional private-sector seed systems, the proposed project will investigate and design seed-delivery models to meet the needs of different clients within drought-prone zones, such as (i) the very poor, who consume most of their harvest; (ii) the entrepreneurial exporters who view arid zones as disease-free sites for seed multiplication; (iii) women’s groups; and (iv) farmers’ cooperatives who can use seed businesses and related agro-enterprises to achieve quite significant livelihood gains. Those farmers who save their own seeds particularly in SA will be knowledge empowered to select, process and store their seed for the next crop in the scientific manner.

Strong linkages will be developed with PASS (Program for Africa ’s Seed Systems) and other programs to derive synergy in promoting local seed enterprises.