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Sweetpotato Speedbreed and Seed Community of Practice (COP) West Africa virtual meeting
June 1 - June 5
A series of 5 on-line meetings will be held in the coming weeks to take steps to strengthen a West African Sweetpotato Breeding and Seed Community of practice, to ensure the continuing development and dissemination of nutritious and productive sweetpotato varieties for the sub-Region. The meetings organized by the International Potato Center under the auspices of the SweetGAINS Project, in collaboration with CORAF, and aligned to its strategy of Regional Centers of Excellence have the specific objectives to:
- Work towards building a functioning regional sweetpotato Breeding and Seed Community of Practice in West Africa
- Strengthen capacity of interested partner programs in key elements of breeding excellence, including product profiles, stage gate management, trial design and data management
The time and topic of the five sessions of the program will be as follows:
- 27 May, 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT. Regional breeding/seed background and potential.
- 29 May, 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT. Concepts in breeding/seed excellence.
- 1 June, 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT. Concepts in breeding/seed excellence.
- June 3, 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT. Strengthening Breeding and Seed Linkages.
- June 5, 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT. Next steps towards a regional vision.
Participants will be attending from several national programs in the ECOWAS region, including Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal and Sierra Leone, and additional interested participants are welcome to attend.
The International Potato Center has had a presence in West Africa with respect to sweetpotato breeding and seed systems since 2010 when it aligned with the CORAF Regional Center of Specialization at CSIR-Crops Research Institute in Kumasi. The collaboration established a regional breeding and seed community of practice which emphasized collaboration with Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, and more recently with Cote d’Ivoire. However, the broader regional interest in the nutritious orange-fleshed sweetpotato has become very clear, and the need for a strengthened and broader regional partnership approach is obvious. The delivery of genetic gains at scale on farmers’ fields requires strengthening existing seed systems. This includes improving information flows to understand end user trait preferences, farmer demand characteristics for quality seed of market preferred varieties, and better linkages between breeding outputs, early generation and commercial seed producers (in both “formal” and “informal” sectors) with appropriate quality assurance.
This gives rise to the current planning effort, which we anticipate will build on previous efforts and identify new opportunities for harnessing the potential of sweetpotato for transforming and strengthening regional food economies.