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Product Profiles

Product profiles: A Practitioners’ Guide

New publications on Product profiles: A Practitioners’ Guide

A working group of several Africa and international plant breeders convened under the auspices of the DLB project in early 2020, developed guidelines and a methodology for developing and communicating product profiles, which are applicable across a wide range of crops, environments, and markets.

The new publications are a DLB series on: 

  • Product profiles - A Practitioners’ Guide: Overview
  • Product profiles - A Practitioners’ Guide: Creating product profile summaries  
  • Product profiles for two new bean varieties in Tanzania and Uganda
  • Product profiles for two new tomato varieties in Benin and Ghana   

Practitioners’ Guide-Overview focuses on the importance of new variety design and the function and position of product profiles (PP) in demand-led plant breeding and successful new variety development. It is intended to support plant breeders and their teams to conceptualize, describe, and communicate the target design of the new varieties they are seeking to deliver to farmers.  

Product profile summaries is a guide to support practitioners in crop improvement programs to create a product profile summary, which consists of two pages summarizing issues affecting:

  • Clients and marketsinformation about who the variety has been created to serve and the composition of the team of experts who have designed the new variety 
  • Technical specification of the variety – an explanation about the design of the new variety and its targeted technical attributes

Product profile templates - Examples of new bean and tomato varieties

A template has been developed with the primary purpose of communication of product profiles. Completion of the template will enable the variety of champion and members of the design team to communicate the target product profile of a new variety to a range of technical and non-technical audiences. The contents of the template should enable audiences to visualize for whom the variety has been designed, how it will be grown, and its technical characteristics. These templates are illustrated for two new varieties of beans in eastern Africa and two new varieties of tomato in West Africa. 

Communication and dissemination activities

Book chapter

H. Shimelis, E.T. Gwata and M.D. Laing. 2020. Crop improvement for agricultural transformation in southern Africa. In: Richard Sikora, Eugene Terry, Paul Vlek, and Joyce Chitja (Eds.), Transforming Agriculture in Southern Africa: Constraints, Technologies, Policies and Processes. Routledge,Taylor and Francis, London, eBook ISBN978042940170, DOI:; pp. 346,

The chapter presents key issues in crop genetic improvement for agricultural transformation in southern Africa. It advocates the need for demand-led variety design in the region for successful variety design, product profiling and market.