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» FP 5: Improved livelihoods at scale

Flagship Project 4: Nutritious RTB foods and value added through post-harvest innovation

The objective of Flagship Project 4 (FP4) is to support the fuller, equitable, and sustainable utilization of root, tuber and banana crops for healthier diets and improved income opportunities. FP4 expects to generate new knowledge, technologies, and delivery mechanisms that will benefit at least 2 million households in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. FP4 seeks to harness the changing demand of consumers and other users of RTB crops as drivers of change that can positively transform production and utilization of RTB crops and increase their contributions to nutritious, profitable, and environmentally sustainable food systems. The improved utilization of RTB crops that FP4 is promoting will capitalize on the productivity, quality, and sustainability gains made in crop improvement (FP2) and production systems (FP3) and will in turn further inform research in these areas on the basis of a better understanding of consumer demand (markets, social goals, nutrition).

FP4 combines technological and social research to help realize the potential for diversifying and improving the utilization of RTB crops to contribute to a diverse development agenda, encompassing both nutrition and commercialization goals,. FP4 will work to overcome constraints faced by RTB crops in urban markets and more efficient utilization, such as their perishability, bulkiness, waste products, low social value, and low level of postharvest investments. At the same time, FP4 will build on the comparative strengths of RTBs as affordable food for the rural and urban poor, a strong food security role, nutrition and health benefits, strong established roles for women in the value chain, opportunities for youth, and versatility in processing.

FP4 recognizes that gender is a key factor when seeking to improve the linkage between agriculture and nutrition, with strong opportunities for strengthening the role of women and the youth in the different stages of RTB value chains. FP4 will investigate the social determinants of behavior change in order to effectively support both women and men to realize benefits from postharvest innovation and nutrition improvement of RTB crops.

Improved RTB varieties and RTB-based products are a success only if they are in demand by consumers, processors, and producers. RTB scientists are already advanced in sensory analysis and quality assessments to better understand the differential preferences and needs of consumers groups (by sex and age) and processors. RTB research teams are also providing science support to private and public sector partners to improve efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of processing technologies and value chain management, and to reach vulnerable populations with nutritious RTB foods both fresh and processed.

FP4 will support research on banana, cassava, potato, sweetpotato, and yam as specified in the flagship’s Clusters of Activities below.

Clusters of Activity

    • CC4.1: Postharvest innovation and healthier diets
      Facilitates exchange of research methodologies and emerging evidence, and provide learning and networking support for research teams and partners across FP4. Strategic research under this cluster will analyze and synthesize evidence on RTB-wide postharvest priorities such as postharvest losses and waste across RTB value chains, and identify strategic opportunities for investment and support. This cluster will also engage with banana, potato, and yam value chains to broaden out impacts to additional target populations dependent on these crops.
    • CA4.2: Cassava processing
      Contributes to increased incomes and food security in target countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, by improving productivity, efficiency, product quality, and health and safety at small and medium scale cassava processing centers. This will benefit at least 1 million cassava producing households and 50,000 cassava processing enterprises.
    • CA4.3: Biofortified cassava
      Provides rural households with nutritious biofortified cassava that will help reduce vitamin A deficiency (VAD), particularly among pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 years of age. This cluster expects to benefit at least 1 million households in over 20 countries where cassava is a staple food.
  • SW4.4: Nutritious sweetpotato
    Improves nutrition and diets and provide income opportunities for at least 1 million households in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean through more diversified and intensified utilization of nutritious sweetpotato. The cluster specifically focuses on combating micronutrient deficiencies, taking vitamin A rich orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) as its lead product, and exploiting the untapped potential for diversified sweetpotato utilization and consumption to support healthier diets.

 Key selected outcomes for Flagship 4 (by 2022)

  • 20% increase in dietary quality indices for 2 million households (10 million people), benefitting all household members including children under 5 and women.
  • 15- 20% increase in crop income for 700,000 households through increased and diversified RTB sales, including food, feed, industrial raw material and seeds.
  • 20,000 RTB processors increase efficiency and profitability and reduce water and energy use, creating income and employment opportunities for women and youth
  • 4 million consumers, producers, processors, and traders in 10 countries benefit from reduction in postharvest losses and improved utilization of RTB waste

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.