Theme 2. Accelerating the Development and Selection of Cultivars with Higher, More Stable Yield and Added Value

The goal of Theme 2 is to exploit the genetic resources of RTB to improve productivity, enhance climate change adaptation and resilience, and boost nutritional content and commercial value.

RTB crops share challenges regarding their breeding. They are genetically complex and sensitive to inbreeding. Because they are vegetatively propagated, RTBs exhibit relatively low multiplication rates and are subject to high disease load in their bulky and perishable propagating material. This presents challenges for variety delivery and farmer uptake, especially where infrastructure is poor. At the same time, once an improved variety is developed, the clonal propagation makes it easier to multiply plants with the desired improved traits.

Product portfolios for this theme will focus on:

  • Breeding tools, strategies, and approaches
  • Trait capture and gene discovery
  • Population development and pre-breeding
  • Variety development
  • Aligning research with farmers’ and end-users’ priorities

The spread of introduced and endemic pests or pathogens is increasing due to climate change, crop intensification, and crop expansion. It heightens the urgency for developing resistant varieties to improve or stabilize yields, reduce chemical use, and boost farmer profits. Likewise, the great potential of reducing nutritional deficiencies and improving health through biofortification underscores the need for further increasing the natural nutritional benefits of these crops.

Priority Breeding Objectives are presented in the following table:


The figure below shows the impact pathways envisaged for Theme 2.