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Flagship Project 3: Resilient RTB crops

The objective of Flagship Project 3 (FP3) is to close yield gaps of RTB crops arising from biotic and abiotic threats and to develop more resilient and ecologically sustainable production systems, thereby strengthening food security and improving natural resource quality and ecosystem service provision. It will generate outcomes that directly target the needs of women and men smallholder farmers.

Key elements of the FP3 strategy are to:

  • Improve crop yield gap analysis and develop strategies to address abiotic stresses;
  • Forecast, characterize and manage chronic and invasive biotic threats under current and future climates;
  • Develop productive, ecologically sustainable and profitable crop and pest management systems applying principles and practices of ICM and IPM;
  • Build data management systems, develop ICT innovations and strengthen R4D capacity to support resilient RTB cropping systems, all within the context of mainstreamed gender approaches.

Clusters of activity

FP3 Research and development activities are organized in six interrelated Clusters of Activities that together achieve the objectives and targets of the FP.

    • CC 3.1. Management of RTB-critical pests and diseases under changing climates, through risk assessment, surveillance, enhanced modeling, and advanced IPM
      Strengthens the capacity of stakeholders working in plant health (e.g., NPPOs, NGOs, CG-centers) to prevent and manage the risk of invasive and emerging pests through improved risk assessment, surveillance, diagnostics, and enhanced modeling tools and knowledge. The sustainable production of RTB crops will be safeguarded through the development and adaptation of integrated pest management (IPM) as a system approach to the management of crop health and agricultural system performance congruent with men and women farmers’ needs and the broader pest situation.
    • CC 3.2. Sustainable RTB Crop Production Systems
      Develops and promotes productive, ecologically sustainable and profitable crop production systems applying principles of ISFM, IPM, site-specific nutrient management  and other decision support tools. Site Specific Crop Managers will target the needs and opportunities of RTB-dependent farm households with variable resource endowment levels, market access, quality of natural resources, climate and land use intensity.
    • BA 3.3. Global and regional frameworks, tools, strategies and practices to arrest the spread of wilts into new areas and recover banana productivity in wilt-affected areas
      Marshals cutting edge and applied science in the fields of biology, socio-economics and agriculture to operate on both fronts: exclusion and containment which serve to minimize the spread and losses due to wilts into new areas and recovery of banana production systems affected by the wilts. The recovery of banana production affected by wilts and the avoidance of losses in areas which remain wilt-free will benefit millions of farm households and consumers.
    • BA 3.4. Improving the livelihoods of smallholder banana producers in Asia and Africa through recovery and containment of banana bunchy top disease
      1) Strengthens science-based approaches for the recovery of banana production in areas of SSA and SEA affected by banana bunchy top disease (BBTD); and 2) builds strategies, awareness and capacity to limit spread of the disease into new areas, particularly into countries in Africa, Asia and the Latin America, where the disease is absent. Ultimately, a global learning alliance will improve the livelihoods of smallholder banana producers in Asia and Africa threatened by BBTD.
  • CA 3.5. Preemptive, emergency, and ongoing response capacity to manage emergent biological constraints for cassava in Asia and the Americas
    Constructs decisive response capacity for a set of emergent biological constraints in Asia and the Americas, including cassava mealybugs, a diverse mite complex, cassava mosaic disease, witches broom disease  and frogskin. Collaborative research will be carried out to a) characterize and manage chronic and emerging biotic threats under current and future climates, and b) develop and promote productive, ecologically sustainable and profitable crop and pest/disease management systems, specifically fine-tuned to cassava crops and cropping systems.

Key selected outcomes for Flagship 3 (by 2022)

  • 1.3 million households with 25-30% increased yields
  • 1.5 million households with banana yields restored to at least 80% of pre-BXW/FOC infection quantities
  • 0.5 million households with banana yields restored to 100% of pre-BXW/FOC infection quantities

Questions to guide your feedback

  1. What do you consider are the most important and relevant elements in this flagship?
  2. Which elements do you think need strengthening?
  3. How could your organization improve its collaboration with this flagship?

Please leave your feedback as a comment below, specifying the question number you are responding to. Any additional comments are welcome too.

9 thoughts on “Flagship 3

  1. Julian Smith

    A metric to measure here is that of having prevented a pest event from happening, not at the field scale (as with yield gap), but at the country scale as having prevented entry. It is the shock of new pest events that really destabilize farmers, markets and investment in agriculture, arguably much more that a known pest or soil infertility factor that gives a predicted yield gap. The concept of bridging a yield gap as a positive, needs to be met with a market pull and good price.

    I'm not sure how CA3.5 differs from CC3.1; looks like a well justified regional/crop focus within CC3.1

  2. Severin Polreich

    Q2, CC 3.2: RTB crop diversity has a critical role for ecologically sustainable crop production systems which should be considered stronger in this cluster. Adaptive dynamics of crop diversity are a central part of local knowledge systems and deeply rooted in the cultural identification of farming communities and are finally the result of RTB diversity we encounter in the agricultural systems.

    Many of RTBs are managed in fragile ecosystems. Site specific characteristics of crop diversity on the one hand but also the high versatility of populations is another key criterion to keep the resilience of local farming systems and achieve the sustainable management of other natural resources.

    To strengthen the role of site specific crop managers it will be very important to elaborate structured methods, indicators and tools for monitoring the functionality of RTB diversity through time lines and to generate knowledge on how biotic, abiotic and socio-cultural factors contribute to ongoing evolution and will impact the food security in the future.

    Q3, CIP is monitoring potato diversity through a network of carefully selected diversity hotspots within its center of diversity with determined indicators and methods. Baselines for long term monitoring are established at different levels:

    i) gene/allele

    ii) variety/species

    iii) Landscape

    iv) Local and collective knowledge.

    This interdisciplinary approach contributes to understand mechanisms of adaptive dynamics in potato diversity, to monitor the impact factors for these dynamics on the long run, to strengthen local knowledge systems and to support smallholder agriculture in safeguarding ecosystem services provided by potato diversity.

    The concept can be used for other RTBs in its centers of diversity and would be highly complementary with activities aiming on the key elements of F3.

    1. Merideth Bonierbale

      This point calls for
      linkage with FP1's cluster on genetic resources/diversity. The topic can more
      appropriately be developed in FP1 and some concerted actions can be sought and
      implications tested with FP3 .

  3. Roberto Quiroz

    Q1. The focus on yield gap analysis as the basis for identifying limiting factors (yield gap drivers) and designing interventions to close the gap.
    Q2. Make sure the full text have good definition of abbreviations that otherwise might be confusing (ICM, IPM, ICT). For the Clusters CC3.2 and CA3.5 Expand from nutrients and pests to improve water management (e.g. taking advantage of the stress memory in RT crops to make use of priming to enhance productivity under water stress).
    Q3. CIP can actively participate in yield gap analysis, the identification of gap drivers and the consolidation of regional communities of practice that include the development of potato simulation models calibrated to specific regions. We can also contribute in the development of UAV-surveillance tools (specific sensors) for biotic and abiotic stresses

    1. Graham Thiele

      Thanks Roberto, good points. Yes certainly very confusing all the abbreviations and the CGIAR has invented some new ones (eg sub-IDOs), so the proposal includes annex to explain these. I hadnt appreciated that point about stress memory in RT crops, could you explain how that can be used practically?

      1. Roberto Quiroz

        Preliminary evidence indicates that the second generation of plants from seed potato coming from plants exposed to drought are more tolerant than plants from seeds not previously exposed to drought. We need to learn more about the epigenetic changes induced by the stress. We also want to see whether this can be generalized to other RT crops especially focusing on seeds. This is the long-term memory stress. The short memory stress is induced by a mild stress (priming) as a management strategy that enhances the tolerance of the plants to more severe stress later on in the phenology of the crop. There are many researchable issues here including biotic stressing factors in potato, testing drought stress memory in other RT crops and understanding the epigenetic changes to develop management strategies.

  4. Rafael Pflucker Rodrigo

    I think is very important to focus research in Fusarium tropical race 4 aka "panama Desease" in bananas

    1. Graham Thiele

      Thanks Rafael yes we do have this as a major and urgent focus and we have a specific cluster of research on this.


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