AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center’s women-oriented improvement and development strategy for traditional African vegetables in sub-Saharan Africa

F.F. Dinssa, P. Hanson, T. Dubois, A. Tenkouano, T. Stoilova, J. d’A. Hughes and J.D.H. Keatinge


The importance of traditional African vegetables is increasing with the rising awareness of their contribution to food security, human nutrition and income diversification, particularly in economically and environmentally marginal areas. Under the impetus of renewed donor interest, more research and development organizations are engaging in activities along the African traditional vegetable value chain, and these crops are receiving greater improvement research. From its regional office for Eastern and Southern Africa in Arusha, Tanzania, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center commenced vegetable re-search and development in sub-Saharan Africa in 1992. We highlight significant achievements in germplasm collection, conservation, improvement and development activities regionally, and outline future breeding strategies for priority traditional African vegetables. The breeding strategy starts with selection within landraces or germplasm accessions and creation of genetic variability, and continues through to gender-disaggregated participatory plant breeding, in which selections are made within the target environment with the participation of local users, ensuring that the target production environ-ment and the needs of the end users are fully taken into account. This paper defines the roles of partners at various stages of the breeding program (germplasm development, evaluation and cultivar release) and in subsequent development activities (cultivar deployment and seed systems) for more effective and sustainable research and development in traditional vegetables.


Breeding strategy, collaboration, cultivar deployment, cultivar release, germplasm development, participatory plant breeding, partners, seed systems

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