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BMGF USD 30mn grant recognizes importance of RTB crops to African food and nutrition security+

BMGF USD 30mn grant recognizes importance of RTB crops to African food and nutrition security+

April 29, 2023
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed USD 29,668,667 to CGIAR for the breeding of improved Root, Tuber, and Banana (RTB) crops that lie at the heart of many African agri-food systems.

Simon Heck, General Director at International Potato Center:
"This commitment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is recognition of the increasing importance of root, tuber, and banana staple crops in Africa. It will support our breeding partnership between CGIAR and national institutions that have proven to translate scientific research into tangible benefits to small-scale farmers and consumers in Africa."
For more than a decade, RTB research has developed modern and efficient breeding systems in Africa in the form of superior crop varieties and seed systems that have a significant impact on food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation, and the quality of life of farmers, processors, and consumers in rural and urban areas.

Hugo Campos, Deputy director of general research at CIP:
"By modernizing RTB breeding and seed systems, we are enabling farmers to fight climate change."

"We work directly with farmers to develop the varieties of RTB crops that will survive in harsh conditions and provide them income and their communities food security."
Campos leads the RTB Breeding program in coordination with CIP, the Alliance Bioversity-CIAT, IITA, CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), Cornell University, North Carolina State University, University of Abomey Calavi (Benin), Ebonyi State University (Nigeria), Université Evangélique en Afrique (D. R. Congo), and Makerere University (Uganda), as well as the National Agricultural Research Services in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, D. R. Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

Helen Hambly, CIP Board Chair:
"RTB crops are on every table in Africa and play a critical role in the health and nutrition of African communities. For more than a decade, CGIAR centers have been working with national partners to develop improved RTB varieties bred for quality and marketability that specifically help women farmers access better markets for their produce and increase their incomes and livelihoods."

"Thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for recognizing the importance and potential of these climate-smart crops so that advanced varieties can become more widespread and improve the African continent’s food and nutrition security needs."
Neal Gutterson, CGIAR Board and CIP Board of Trustees member:
"Since RTB crops have similar characteristics in the way they are propagated and have similar post-harvest issues, RTB breeding concentrates the brain power of breeders and inspires the cross-learning among crops."

"It also utilizes modernized, state-of-the-art breeding approaches in Africa to achieve higher genetic gains to benefit smallholder farmers and the accelerated adoption of new varieties of a major group of crops grown in Africa."