A new climate-smart varieties project aimed at strengthening the resilience of rural communities in the Sahel to climate change by installing modern equipment and infrastructure for the selection of varieties of five crops will be launched on Monday, March 9, 2020 at Dakar, Senegal.
Funded by the European Union, the project “Strengthening networks and institutional capacities in plant breeding for the development of resilient crops meeting the needs of farmers in West Africa” called ABEE will be implemented by CORAF.
A consortium of actors who have proven themselves in the development of plant breeding in the Sahel and in West Africa is involved in the implementation. It includes the Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD), AfricaRice / Integrated Breeding Platform, the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research in Senegal / Center for Regional Studies for the Improvement of Adaptation to Drought, the Institute of Environment and Agricultural Research of Burkina Faso (INERA) and the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRAN) of Niger.
ABEE will bring a better approach to the coordination of varietal selection at regional and national levels by placing breeders from Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal at the heart of the action to develop and modernize their breeding practices and better identify the demands of the market.
“As part of the West African Agricultural Productivity Program, we have made substantial progress in building grain research infrastructure in the Sahel and across West Africa,” said Dr. Abdou Tenkouano, Executive Director of CORAF.
This intervention offers a tremendous opportunity for CORAF and its partners to further strengthen the selection system for cereals (millet, sorghum and fonio) and legumes (peanuts and cowpeas), but also to strengthen the resilience of our rural communities who suffer from burden of climate change ”.
ABEE aims to reach more than 40,000 direct beneficiaries in five years.
“The project offers an opportunity to beneficiary countries not only to modernize their programs for the selection of varieties of different crops and the strengthening of seed systems, but also, through the transfer of technology, good practices”, says Dr Sylvie Lewicki, CIRAD Regional Director.
Thanks to ABEE, breeders will be able to generate and distribute climate-resistant dry cereal varieties for farmers and producers in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal.
“Ultimately, the project will improve farmers’ access to high-yielding varieties. This will further improve the food and nutritional security of households and beneficiary families, ”said Dr Mella Mamane, Director General of INRAN.
Thanks to the ABEE project, small-scale farmers will have access to climate-resistant varieties that can be adapted to local and commercial realities, “said Dr. Hamidou Traoré, Director of INERA.
CORAF will coordinate with the national research systems of Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal.
The CORAF Regional Center of Excellence on dry cereals (CERAAS) will facilitate the exchange of data between breeding programs. A new generation of breeders and scientists to support the modernization of breeding in the region will also be prepared as part of this project.
The ABEE project is part of the European Union initiative “Developing intelligent innovation through agricultural research (DeSIRA)” and aims to contribute to the sustainable increase in crop productivity, farmers’ incomes and food and nutrition security in the context of climate change and demographic pressure.
The European Union: A trusted partner
Before the implementation of the ABEE project, the EU was one of the main donors of a multi-donor trust fund which enabled CORAF to implement its previous strategic and operational plan as well as considerably improve the IAR4D approach in West and Central Africa.
The World Bank administered the MDTF. Thanks to competitive grants, the national agricultural research systems of West and Central African countries have been considerably strengthened.
Overall, the MDTF reached more than 100,000 people in countries and communities, compared to a target of 82,000. According to an independent MDTF assessment, more women than expected accessed, adopted and used technologies to improve agricultural productivity in West Africa during the period 2013-2016.
The MDTF has contributed to the sustainable improvement of productivity, competitiveness and agricultural markets in West and Central Africa.
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