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Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning aims to enable breeders to design, integrate and implement plans that demonstrate best practices in monitoring, evaluation and learning (M&E&L) in their demand-led breeding programs, including setting targets based on key performance indicators (KPIs).  It encourages breeders to reflect on what they consider success will look like, both in terms of their demand-led breeding program and their own professional performance. It focuses on the core principles of demand-led variety design and best practices in M&E&L, involving clients in the demand-led process and the setting key performance indicators. It also covers the importance, challenges, and methods for post-release monitoring of adoption of new varieties by farmers and other value chain clients.

Performance benchmarking

  • Monitoring and evaluation: To be successful, demand-led breeding projects require the implementation of best practices in project management including planning, monitoring, evaluation, and learning, from the new variety design and project initiation stage through to variety release, widespread use, and eventual discontinuation of the variety.

  • Demand-led strategy and stage plan: The strategy and stage plan for each new variety design provide the framework, targets, plan and assumptions for all M&E&L activities. Specifically, the stage gates provide the review points for evaluation and learning.

  • Clients and stakeholders: Engaging key clients in the value chain in the formation of the development strategy and the M&E&L process is essential. Specifically, in new variety development projects, key clients should be consulted and involved in decisions at the following stage gates:

    1. Decision to invest in the new plant breeding project;

    2. Choice of lead lines to be developed and scaled up

    3. New variety release. This engagement will increase ownership of new varieties and ensure the longevity of demand.

  • Key performance indicators: Specifically tailored key performance indicators (KPIs) should be included in the development strategy to support and encourage the delivery of demand-led plant breeding goals and objectives. Institutional and breeder performance measures may vary and any conflict of interests should be resolved at an early stage with the institutions’ research leadership and management.

 

Variety adoption and performance tracking

  • Rationale and benefits: To understand the significance of variety adoption assessment and its links to breeding programs.

  • Responsibility and funding: To be clear on how adoption will be assessed after varietal release, who is responsible for tracking adoption and if the breeding program will require additional funding to enable post-release tracking of new varieties.

  • Methods and technology: Consider using phenotypic markers or low cost, modern molecular technology to enable tracking of new varieties more effectively after release.

  • Variety adoption tracking: Government officials and investors need to support variety adoption tracking with additional finance, resources, best practices, transparency and encouragement to plant breeders and their clients in the value chain, as adoption tracking is a means to improve future performance of the breeding program.