The aim of DLB is to build capacity within plant breeding programs on demand-led variety design for postgraduate programs and for professional development. A comprehensive education and training program has been developed to build capacity within plant breeding programs in Africa on demand-led variety design. These objectives are to:
provide new professional development opportunities for plant breeders in Africa; and
produce and disseminate new education and training materials related to the implementation of demand-led breeding programs.
These capacity impacts come from the project partners working with universities, research scientists and the private sector to develop and disseminate educational materials on demand-led approach to plant breeding. The education and training materials that are currently in development include:
Introductory course on Demand-led plant breeding – Gender-related issues
Advanced module 1 – Creating product profiles and technical data sheets
Advanced module 2 – Making the case for investing in demand-led to plant breeding
The DLB educational materials are to be incorporated into African university curricula
Several African universities have formally incorporated the demand-led breeding approaches, developed through the DLB project, into their formal postgraduate teaching programs on plant breeding, including the University of Ghana, the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa; and the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Demand led breeding community of practice developed with plant breeders in Africa
The DLB project has developed a demand-led breeding community of practice”, composed of more than 400 plant breeders working within African national agricultural research systems (NARS) in eastern, southern and West Africa. The members of the DLB community of practice (COP) are primarily African plant breeders who first participated in the DLB sponsored education and training workshops, some 24 of which have been held between 2015-2021. These DLB workshops introduced to the African plant breeding community the principles of demand led plant breeding and its applications to crops important for food security and increasing incomes in farming communities throughout Africa. These African plant breeders now constitute a “community of practice” (COP) with whom the DLB project is working to mainstream demand led breeding approaches within national plant breeding programs for a range of crops in the countries of Africa.
The DLB Pan African Coordinator, Dr. Nasser Yao, who is based in Nairobi Kenya, is primarily responsible for developing and supporting the DLB COP of plant breeders, including making available new education resource materials and establishing regular communication channels and new distance learning opportunities. These virtual educational and professional development activities were initiated in 2019 and have become increasingly important due to the ongoing pandemic through 2020-21. Most countries in Africa, as elsewhere, have restrictions on movement within and between countries, as part of their COVID-19 control measures.