3rd Quarter 

Dear friends and colleagues,

I am pleased to share our third newsletter for 2021.

We are happy to announce that there are now over a dozen RTB golden eggs as two more were launched: AKILIMO and Tricot. Our golden eggs continue to gain attention within One CGIAR and we couldn’t be prouder of these collective knowledge assets with demonstrated broad applicability.

Also, last month we launched our 2020 Annual Report entitled ‘Innovation and Impact’. If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to explore the report website, where you can also download the PDF. Please do share it with your colleagues who may be interested, and we encourage you to share specific sections and comment through social media. We are happy to support this if you contact Sarah. As always, we thank you for your continued support over the past years that made these achievements possible.

I would also like to highlight a story that one senior scientist shared after the report was launched. It was an FP5 feature on scaling where the lady who bought cuttings from a small-scale nursery two years ago earned 3000 USD last year from the sale of potato. Her life has changed from her initial purchase of 100 cuttings at 8 USD, which she subsequently multiplied into potato seed. Our scientist visited her a few weeks ago, where she learned of this remarkable story, see photo below. To top it off she was a new widow two years ago without knowing what to do. The construction materials in the photo are bought from potato proceeds and she has improved her house for herself and her children. This is our impact – one person’s story, but surely because of our collective work, there are many more. And we are pleased to feature these if you share them.

The One CGIAR transition continues to make progress. Up-to-date information can be found here and further details on the process in the Q & A section.

You can also revisit below some of the most important topics we featured under the Special Features section of our newsletter.

Best regards,
Graham Thiele
RTB Program Director

Special Features

A Research Brief from RTB makes a strong case for the fundamental importance of its mandate crops within One CGIAR, the ongoing reformulation of CGIAR’s partnerships, knowledge, assets, and global presence.

As One CGIAR takes shape it becomes critical to build on the progress already made. Participants in the virtual Golden Egg Transfer Marketplace event held in June 2021 reviewed 36 major research assets known as golden eggs and addressed their suitability for inclusion within the One CGIAR Initiatives.

In a recently published perspective in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, leading scholars argue that we should be equally aware of the threats from emerging diseases in the plant world. While they do not directly result in human deaths, emerging plant diseases can cause severe damage to food security, human nutrition, and livelihoods of millions, and in extreme cases, lead to famine and migration.

The AI-powered mobile app PlantVillage Nuru has been expanded to include potato diseases, allowing farmers to identify and manage diseases in their field. 
The study by researchers from RTB concluded that sweetpotato and cassava have long been considered “climate proof” because they can withstand heat and drought, while some varieties can also tolerate high levels of soil salinity.

A recently published paper in Frontiers in Agronomy provides some farmer-friendly options on how to stop the spread of BXW.

RTB has a strong and close working relationship with Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. As we move towards One CGIAR, RTB looks back on a fruitful collaboration and forward to good things to come.

In May 2021, the importance of root, tuber and banana crops was highlighted by Agrilinks, an online hub where agriculture, food security and development professionals connect, share and learn. Agrilinks teamed up with RTB to develop and share blogs and organize a webinar.

Highlighted Publications

The following publications came out of RTB teams working together on cross-cutting and impactful topics.

Determinants of Women’s Decision-Making Power in Pest and Disease Management: Evidence From Uganda
Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification assays for on-site detection of the main sweetpotato infecting viruses