Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement partners with scientists and stakeholders around the globe to co-develop tools, technologies and methods in crop improvement that address local concerns and focus on community impact. Our goal is to listen to National Agricultural Research Institutes as they define their own goals and drive advancement to breed resilient crop varieties that stand up to pests, diseases and climate change. We believe that if national programs play a central role in designing innovations that target their unique needs, then these solutions will be more sustainable in the long-term. Our work fuses cutting-edge science and collaboration to make food more accessible, reliable, and responsive to the diverse needs around the globe.
At the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement, we equip National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) with the power to define their unique goals and drive advancement in crop improvement to reduce malnutrition, hunger and provide equitable benefits to women and youth. We believe that if national programs play a central role in designing innovations that target their unique needs, then these solutions will be more direct, sustainable, and enduring.
We fuse cutting-edge science and collaboration to make food more accessible, reliable, and responsive to diverse needs. By equipping partner country scientists and stakeholders with the intellectual and operational resources needed to connect breeding efforts with market demand, together we can get improved seeds into markets. Farmers prosper, consumers have more choice, economies benefit, and countries flourish.
Launched in November 2019, the Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement is a 5-year initiative thanks to $25 million from the U.S. government’s Feed the Future. The team brings together experts from Cornell University, Clemson University, Colorado State University, Kansas State, Cultural Practice LLC, RTI International and Makerere University.
Centers of Innovation
Led by National Agricultural Research Institutes in each country, our four Centers of Innovation act as regional hubs to drive tools, technologies and methods that target crops that are essential for food security in a range of environments, cropping systems and key stakeholders. Each CoI is funded for three years and are led by National Agricultural Research Institutes in those countries to pave their own path towards sustainable, climate smart, equitable and effective crop improvement programs:
- Costa Rica and Haiti: The Central American and Caribbean Crop Improvement Alliance (CACCIA) will focus on common bean, sorghum and sweet potato and be hosted by the Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) in Costa Rica and Quisqueya University in Haiti.
- Malawi: The Center of Innovation for Crop Improvement for East and Southern Africa (CICI-ESA), led by Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi. (Affiliated countries: Mozambique and Tanzania)
- Senegal: Crop Innovation in West Africa (CIWA) will lead genetic gain and for rapid development of varieties of sorghum, pearl millet and cowpea, led by the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) in Senegal. (Affiliated countries: Burkina Faso and Niger)
- Uganda: East African Center of Innovation for Finger Millet and Sorghum (CIFMS), led by the National Semi arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) in Uganda. (Affiliated countries: Kenya and Tanzania)
Innovations are rapidly transforming crop breeding. We take a dynamic, multi-faceted approach to deliver staple crops that can increase yields, enhance nutrition and show greater resistance to pests and diseases.
- Breeding informatics to optimize breeding efficiency and genetic gains in staple crops
- Cross-cutting themes to prioritize nutrition, gender, youth, resilience and inclusion across all areas of our work
- Genomics to introduce advanced trait predictions in breeding populations
- Institutional capacity evaluation to assess the capacity of research centers
- Phenomics to advance data collection and management
- Priority setting to deliver scalable and robust market analysis that incorporates preferences of farmers and consumers
- Trait discovery to empower the rapid discovery and deployment of novel plant traits
We are working to accelerate the breeding of locally and regionally adapted crop varieties targeted to smallholder farmers. The Innovation Lab will serve as a catalyst for these crops:
- Roots, tubers and banana