Image by Marta Ortigosa

Visioning & Foresight

Visioning and foresight focus on skills and methodologies necessary to understand the changes taking place in Africa‘s food and agricultural production.

Visioning and foresight allow us to anticipate future demand and incorporate these findings into a new variety of designs. It provides a holistic approach to;

 

  1. Analyzing the current agricultural landscape and challenges in Africa within a context of market supply and demand;

  2. Understanding the drivers of change and their predictability;

  3. Using the methodology of Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental and Policy drivers (STEEP analysis) and risk mitigation to create scenarios and validate new variety designs.

How does visioning and foresight add value to current breeding practices?

  • Future demand: Demand-led variety design focuses on understanding market requirements and predicting demand in the five to ten year period after a new variety is released.   

  • Visioning and forecasting: Best practices for visioning and forecasting applicable to demand-led variety design offer new approaches to add value to current postgraduate and professional development programs for plant breeders.

  • Risk analysis: Risk analysis considers the uncertainty of future scenarios and the effect that drivers of change can have on future demand. 

Forecasting future landscapes

  • Changing demand over time: Foresight analysis is needed to assess for whom the variety is being designed and if the clients’ needs and preferences will change over the projected timetable for varietal release to farmers.

  • Predicting the future: Using STEEP driver analysis and scenario-based methods can help to better predict the future, avoid creating redundant varieties and build confidence in plant breeding programs amongst investors, governments and R&D managers. 

Integrating foresight into a new variety of design

  • Best practices: Foresight methods are used to review existing variety of designs being
    developed or as a starting point to create new designs. Both approaches are valid. Every trait characteristic in each product profile should be analyzed and a decision taken on whether the trait and benchmark is likely to remain relevant for its intended users over the time required for variety development.

  • Risk management: Risk analysis and mitigation is an essential procedure for testing the long-term viability of demand-led designs. Decision points are required in the stage plan and spreading of risk considered (e.g. understanding the benefits and costs of maintaining many, biologically diverse germplasm lines).