Enhancing Root, Tuber and Banana Crops’ Contribution to Food and Nutrition Security
More than three billion people in developing countries consume root, tuber and banana crops. For many of the poorest and most food-insecure people, these crops are a critical source of food, nutrition, animal feed, and cash income. Root, tuber and banana crops are vegetatively propagated from bulky and perishable planting material, which creates common challenges for seed production and distribution, as well as heavy losses from disease spread. Despite their importance as staples and increasingly for adding value, roots tubers and bananas have been relatively neglected. This webinar presents recent advances and new innovations and approaches for this vital crop group supported by the work of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers & Bananas (RTB), led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and partners. It focuses on 1) seed systems, 2) pests and diseases and 3) nutrition interventions in humanitarian aid context.
- First, will share findings on how the RTB seed systems toolbox is used to characterize the flow of root, tuber and banana seed and to inform how interventions can best address the challenges of vegetatively propagated planting material in informal and emerging formal seed systems.
- Second, we will explore how smart apps used by extensionists and farmers can allow correct diagnosis of major pests and diseases of RTB crops in the field to help manage and control their spread.
- Third, we will provide an update on interventions with biofortified sweet potato, orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP). OFSP is rich in beta-carotene, a Vitamin A precursor, and its dissemination and adoption is contributing to fight Vitamin A deficiencies, especially in young children and women of child-bearing age. We will share ongoing work on how as a biofortified crop, it is being incorporated into humanitarian aid programs to provide nutrition security to very vulnerable refugee populations in East Africa.
CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas
Graham Thiele is Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) led by the International Potato Center (CIP). He has led the RTB program for the last 10 years, making it an example of collaborative research for development in the CGIAR. Graham is a social scientist and expert in targeting, priority setting, and impact and adoption studies of new agricultural technologies. Previously he was the Leader for Social and Health Sciences at CIP. Graham has worked in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania, Kenya, Benin, Rwanda, Indonesia, and the Philippines. He helped develop, implement, and assess several, novel participatory methodologies designed to link farmers with markets, inform research agendas, and promote innovation in policies, products, and technology uptake. Graham holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and an MSc in Agricultural Economics.
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
James Legg is a scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, with more than 20 years’ experience of working on plant viruses and their insect vectors. Most of James’ professional career has focused on strengthening understanding of cassava viruses and using that improved understanding to develop and facilitate the promotion of control strategies. In addition to playing a direct active role in research, James has also contributed to strengthening African science capacity through producing training materials, leading training workshops and supervising post-graduate students. James has been based at IITA East Africa hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the last seven years, and he has been involved in running several regional R4D projects focused on cassava viruses, their whitefly vectors and the development and implementation of sustainable seed systems. James holds a PhD and MSc from the University of Reading, UK.
International Potato Center’s Regional Office for Africa
Margaret McEwan is a Senior Scientist at the International Potato Center’s regional office for Africa based in Kenya. A social scientist, Margaret has over 30 years’ experience working in multi-disciplinary teams focused on rural development, farming systems research, household food security and nutrition in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, North Sudan, Zambia and Mozambique. In research for development contexts she is concerned with how to engage multi-stakeholder partnerships in ensuring improved livelihood and nutrition outcomes, and in understanding the conditions required to up-scale technologies for greater impact. She has a MSc in Human Nutrition and is currently pursuing a PhD at Wageningen University and Research, in the Netherlands, focusing on the social-technical interactions which influence the institutional arrangements for sustainable sweetpotato seed systems.
Public Health Nutrition Epidemiologist
International Potato Center
Frederick Kobina Grant is a Public Health Nutrition epidemiologist at the International Potato Center (CIP) with over 15 years’ experience in implementation of nutrition-sensitive programs in SSA and south Asia. He is currently the CIP Uganda Country Manager and Nutrition Scientist. He leads the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB) Cluster on Nutritious Sweetpotato for Expanding Markets and Improving Diets. Previously he worked as Nutrition Specialist and Project Manager, Viable Sweetpotato Technologies for Africa (VISTA-Tanzania) and Project Leader, Mama SASHA Project at CIP. Frederick holds a PhD in Nutrition and Health Sciences from Emory University, and a MPhil in Nutrition, University of Ghana.