The Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) project consolidates the gains made by TL-III, HOPE-II and HarvestPlus — all funded by the BMGF – while refocusing the work to improve the CGIAR and key NARS breeding and seed delivery systems. The AVISA initiative comprises the most important dryland cereals (sorghum and pearl millet) and legume crops (groundnut, common bean and cowpea) on the African continent, in the key BMGF focus geographies where these crops are important (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda).
ICRISAT will improve the performance of its sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut breeding programs, while IITA and CIAT will improve their cowpea and common bean programs, respectively. All these programs will adopt modern best practices with respect to breeding program management, organization and technology to generate a continuous stream of improved varieties for smallholders to achieve greater yields and the prospect of higher incomes and improved livelihoods.
In addition, the increase in varietal turnover can mitigate losses from evolving climate patterns, and pest and disease complexes, while driving to enable public-private partnerships for enhanced seed delivery. High functioning, integrated CGIAR/NARS breeding networks and coordinated seed delivery partnerships will be built to facilitate smallholder farmers’ access to high quality seed.