News

RTB Annual Meeting 2018: “Staying the best”

Nov 26, 2018 RTB

The annual meeting for the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) took place from October 25-28 in Palmira and Cali, Colombia, hosted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The meeting, followed the 18th Triennial Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops, which also featured much RTB research, brought together […]

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Breeding improved cassava varieties that women and men want

Nov 20, 2018 RTB

Understanding gender differences in trait preferences for cassava can accelerate adoption as this knowledge is incorporated into breeding programs. Cassava is the daily bread of Nigeria, but it is hardly ever simply boiled and eaten. Nigerian cassava is processed into products like gari (toasted cassava starch granules), which are made in villages and trucked to cities across […]

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Pest distribution and risk atlas for Africa includes potato and sweetpotato pests

Nov 13, 2018 RTB

Insect pests cause major yield losses in agricultural crops. Climate change is expected to exacerbate this impact, with warming temperatures affecting insect populations, range expansion and outbreaks. To inform the development of integrated pest management strategies, the International Potato Center (CIP) launched an online Pest Distribution and Risk Atlas for Africa in early 2017. This […]

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New case studies are powerful examples of gender-responsive plant and animal breeding

Nov 10, 2018 RTB

Adoption and impact of new crop varieties and animal breeds depend on the tangible benefits these provide for the women and men involved in their production, consumption, processing and marketing. It is therefore important for breeders to understand and respond to the needs, priorities, and constraints that women and men assign to crop and animal […]

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Vitamin A-rich bananas offer new hope to address micronutrient deficiency

Nov 6, 2018 RTB

Researchers in East Africa are introducing banana varieties from across the world to address severe vitamin A deficiency. Taste tests help to identify and fast track new varieties that consumers prefer. Vitamin A deficiency is high in the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya, ranging from 39% to 64%. Vitamin […]

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Assessing progress towards sustainable intensification

Nov 1, 2018 RTB

Sustainability might well be the biggest buzz word of our era. The term is fancied, used, misused, framed and distorted by scientists, the private sector, donors and policy makers alike. In the last decade or so, the concept of ‘sustainable intensification’ (SI) has gained momentum and has been put forward as a promising way to […]

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DNA fingerprinting shows high adoption of improved cassava varieties in Nigeria

Oct 29, 2018 RTB

DNA fingerprinting has improved the accuracy of adoption studies and revealed that 66% of surveyed cassava farmers in Nigeria are cultivating improved varieties. Improved cassava varieties can boost yields, helping rural African farm families to become food secure and overcome poverty. A study published in 2017 by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and […]

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Genetic markers identify the sex of yams and accelerate breeding

Oct 23, 2018 RTB

Researchers have identified the genetic markers that distinguish the sex of yam plants, saving time and resources for future breeding efforts. White Guinea yam (Dioscorea rotundata) is native to West Africa, where it has been a food security crop for centuries. As Africa is rapidly urbanizing, yams are now being grown commercially. This labor-intensive crop […]

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An agri-food revolution for tropical root and tuber crops

Oct 22, 2018 RTB

“When, where and how will tropical root and tuber crops lead to the next agri-food revolution?” More than 200 participants have gathered in Cali, Colombia, this week for the 18th Triennial Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC), to share research and experiences under the theme of this guiding question. The event […]

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Applying the science of scaling

Oct 17, 2018 RTB

A new RTB initiative is applying the science of scaling to accelerate promising agricultural technologies, showing researchers how to reach more farmers, much sooner. Scaling up agricultural innovations is one of the biggest challenges facing research and development organizations. Projects have often tried to scale technologies at the end of the intervention, in an ad […]

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Gender mainstreaming in value chain development triggers women’s empowerment in Uganda

Oct 15, 2018 RTB

A gender focus introduced in value chain development in Uganda has allowed women and men to start new seed businesses, to train other farmers, and to share planting material of varieties that consumers want. Banana is a major staple in Uganda. However, traders and other value chain actors face post-harvest loses that limit their incomes. […]

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From science to scaling: 2017 Annual Report

Oct 10, 2018 RTB

We are pleased to share the 2017 Annual Report from the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, entitled ‘From science to scaling’. We invite you the explore the report as an interactive website where you can also download the PDF. 2017 was a notable year for our program. It marked the start-up of […]

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Scientists’ breakthrough brings hope for banana resistance breeding to deadly bacterial wilt disease

Oct 8, 2018 RTB

A team, led by scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that are resistant to the lethal bacterial banana wilt disease. This debunks the notion that all banana varieties are susceptible to the disease and opens the possibility of breeding resistant varieties.   The […]

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Southeast Asia responds to industry-threatening cassava mosaic disease

Sep 17, 2018 RTB

Government representatives, development partners and cassava researchers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam gather this week to devise a regional plan to contain the potentially devastating Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) in Southeast Asia. They convene from September 18-20 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Researchers from Zhejiang University and Holley Group Co. in China first reported CMD […]

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Potato minituber boom in sub-Saharan Africa: tenfold increase in ten years

Sep 13, 2018 RTB

In less than a decade, potato minituber production increased ten-fold in seven countries across sub-Saharan Africa according to a recent study by the International Potato Center (CIP). Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda have increased their production of Early Generation Seed from 483,000 to 4,921,000 minitubers thanks to country-level investment in seed potato […]

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Getting Kenya’s seed potato production right

Sep 6, 2018 RTB

Isaiah Kemei is one of the most progressive seed potato multipliers in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County. Before becoming a seed potato multiplier in 2016, Isaiah had been planting potatoes for sale at the local markets for more than seven years. “At that time I used to experience high disease incidence, especially bacterial wilt, in my […]

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Farmer-to-farmer in the internet age: smartphone extension videos reach thousands in Southeast Asia

Jul 19, 2018 RTB

As reported by Google, Southeast Asia has the fastest growing internet user base of any region on earth. With a monthly mobile internet connection often costing $US 2-3, an estimated 3.8 million new connections are added every month, and the region is expected to reach a staggering 480 million users by 2020. As internet continues […]

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African farmers get new help against cassava diseases: Nuru, their artificially intelligent assistant

Jun 27, 2018 RTB

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Pennsylvania State University, USA, have collaborated to develop and launch Nuru, an Artificially Intelligent Assistant. Nuru (Swahili for light) uses machine learning to accurately recognize leaves damaged by two important viral diseases of cassava (Cassava Mosaic Disease and Cassava Brown Streak Disease) as well as damage by red and green […]

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A “wicked” challenge – understanding root, tuber and banana seed systems and coordination breakdown: A multi-stakeholder framework

Jun 20, 2018 RTB

By Jorge Andrade-Piedra and Margaret McEwan of the International Potato Center (CIP), co-leaders of the RTB cross-cutting cluster on access to quality seed. “Why are the seed systems for roots, tubers and bananas (RTBs) so complex?” As a social scientist, this is an exciting challenge – to understand the interactions between technologies and social conditions […]

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Triple S method helps sweetpotato farmers plant and harvest earlier

Jun 19, 2018 RTB

Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) is an impressive crop, able to grow on marginal lands and produce nutritious roots within three months from planting. However, farmers plant vine cuttings rather than seeds, and getting enough vines to plant at the beginning of the rainy season can be a challenge for smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This is […]

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