Crop improvement, adoption and impact of improved bean varieties in Sub Saharan Africa

The crop improvement research effort of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers and their national agricultural research systems (NARS) partners has had a large impact on world food production. Although bean impact has been documented in a number of past studies, the last comprehensive study of the international crop improvement effort, organized by the Standing Panel for Impact Assessment (SPIA, formerly the Impact Assessment and Evaluation Group), was based on data collected a decade ago (Evenson and Gollin, 2003 based on 1997-98 data). Important changes have occurred in the funding and conduct of the international crop improvement effort and in the general climate for agriculture in the developing world since the completion of the Evenson and Gollin study.
The level and focus of funding for research in the NARS and in the CGIAR centers have fluctuated greatly, and the role of the private sector has evolved. Yet, the importance of the CGIAR/NARS crop improvement effort in feeding the world is arguably as important today as it has been at any time in history. The steady uptake and turnover of crop varieties is fundamental to realizing a Green Revolution in Africa, and it is still important for helping achieve income growth for numerous poor rural households. But our present understanding of improved variety adoption—by crop, by location, by adopter and by source—is limited in Africa.
The data seeks to redress this anomaly, by providing a versatile database on bean variety adoption by crop, by location, by adopter and by source in sub-saharan countries. The following countries are covered: Burundi, DRCongo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Crop improvement, adoption and impact of improved bean varieties in Sub Saharan Africa

The crop improvement research effort of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers and their national agricultural research systems (NARS) partners has had a large impact on world food production. Although bean impact has been documented in a number of past studies, the last comprehensive study of the international crop improvement effort, organized by the Standing Panel for Impact Assessment (SPIA, formerly the Impact Assessment and Evaluation Group), was based on data collected a decade ago (Evenson and Gollin, 2003 based on 1997-98 data). Important changes have occurred in the funding and conduct of the international crop improvement effort and in the general climate for agriculture in the developing world since the completion of the Evenson and Gollin study.
The level and focus of funding for research in the NARS and in the CGIAR centers have fluctuated greatly, and the role of the private sector has evolved. Yet, the importance of the CGIAR/NARS crop improvement effort in feeding the world is arguably as important today as it has been at any time in history. The steady uptake and turnover of crop varieties is fundamental to realizing a Green Revolution in Africa, and it is still important for helping achieve income growth for numerous poor rural households. But our present understanding of improved variety adoption—by crop, by location, by adopter and by source—is limited in Africa.
The data seeks to redress this anomaly, by providing a versatile database on bean variety adoption by crop, by location, by adopter and by source in sub-saharan countries. The following countries are covered: Burundi, DRCongo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Replication Data for: Costs and benefits of climate-smart agriculture: The case of the Dry Corridor in Guatemala

Central American countries, particularly Guatemala, are experiencing extreme climate events which are disproportionately affecting agriculture and subsequently rural livelihoods. Governments are taking action to address climatic threats, but they need tools to assess the impact of policies and interventions aiming to decrease the impacts of climate change on agriculture. This research, conducted with national policy makers and climate change and agriculture stakeholders in Guatemala, provides a comparative analysis of eight climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and technologies associated with the smallholder maize-beans production system in the Dry Corridor. The practices were identified as high-interest for investment by national stakeholders. CSA practices and technologies aim to improve food security, resilience, and low emissions development, where possible and appropriate. The paper assesses the cost-benefit profile of the introduction of CSA options into farm production systems. Indicators related to profitability and valuation of environmental and social externalities are used to assess options. Probabilistic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is used to address field variability and high uncertainty around parameter values. All practices except one were profitable over their lifecycle, with some practices, expected to be ideal for drought prone areas, presenting a higher risk for adoption. The results were discussed with national stakeholders who established best-bet CSA investment portfolios. This paper argues that a thorough understanding of the costs and benefits of potential CSA options is needed to channel investments effectively and efficiently towards both short- and long-term interventions and should be coupled with broader assessment of trade-offs between CSA outcomes.

Replication Data for: Costs and benefits of climate-smart agriculture: The case of the Dry Corridor in Guatemala

Central American countries, particularly Guatemala, are experiencing extreme climate events which are disproportionately affecting agriculture and subsequently rural livelihoods. Governments are taking action to address climatic threats, but they need tools to assess the impact of policies and interventions aiming to decrease the impacts of climate change on agriculture. This research, conducted with national policy makers and climate change and agriculture stakeholders in Guatemala, provides a comparative analysis of eight climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and technologies associated with the smallholder maize-beans production system in the Dry Corridor. The practices were identified as high-interest for investment by national stakeholders. CSA practices and technologies aim to improve food security, resilience, and low emissions development, where possible and appropriate. The paper assesses the cost-benefit profile of the introduction of CSA options into farm production systems. Indicators related to profitability and valuation of environmental and social externalities are used to assess options. Probabilistic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is used to address field variability and high uncertainty around parameter values. All practices except one were profitable over their lifecycle, with some practices, expected to be ideal for drought prone areas, presenting a higher risk for adoption. The results were discussed with national stakeholders who established best-bet CSA investment portfolios. This paper argues that a thorough understanding of the costs and benefits of potential CSA options is needed to channel investments effectively and efficiently towards both short- and long-term interventions and should be coupled with broader assessment of trade-offs between CSA outcomes.

Replication Data for: Distributions, ex situ conservation priorities, and genetic resource potential of crop wild relatives of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., I. series Batatas]

Crop wild relatives of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., I. series Batatas] have the potential to contribute to breeding objectives for this important root crop. Uncertainty in regard to species boundaries and their phylogenetic relationships, the limited availability of germplasm with which to perform crosses, and the difficulty of introgression of genes from wild species has constrained their utilization. Here, we compile geographic occurrence data on relevant sweetpotato wild relatives and produce potential distribution models for the species. We then assess the comprehensiveness of ex situ germplasm collections, contextualize these results with research and breeding priorities, and use ecogeographic information to identify species with the potential to contribute desirable agronomic traits. The fourteen species that are considered the closest wild relatives of sweetpotato generally occur from the central United States to Argentina, with richness concentrated in Mesoamerica and in the extreme Southeastern United States. Currently designated species differ among themselves and in comparison to the crop in their adaptations to temperature, precipitation, and edaphic characteristics and most species also show considerable intraspecific variation. With 79% of species identified as high priority for further collecting, we find that these crop genetic resources are highly under-represented in ex situ conservation systems and thus their availability to breeders and researchers is inadequate. We prioritize taxa and specific geographic locations for further collecting in order to improve the completeness of germplasm collections. In concert with enhanced conservation of sweetpotato wild relatives, further taxonomic research, characterization and evaluation of germplasm, and improving the techniques to overcome barriers to introgression with wild species are needed in order to mobilize these genetic resources for crop breeding.

Replication data for: Strategic approaches to targeting technology generation: Assessing the coincidence of poverty and drought-prone crop production

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable farmers on the whole have not benefited from international agricultural research and development. Past efforts have tried to increase the production of countries in more favourable environments; farmers with relatively higher potential for improvement benefited most from these advances. Current and future crop improvement efforts will focus more on marginal environments, especially those prone to drought. The objective of this research is to guide crop improvement efforts by prioritizing areas of high poverty, the key problem of high drought risk and the crops grown and consumed in these areas. Global spatial data on crop production, climate and poverty (as proxied by child stunting) were used to identify geographic areas of high priority for crop improvement. The analysis employed spatial overlay, drought modelling and descriptive statistics to identify where best to target technology generation to achieve its intended human welfare goals. Analysis showed that drought coincides with high levels of poverty in 15 major farming systems, especially in South Asia, the Sahel and eastern and southern Africa, where high diversity in drought frequency characterizes the environments. Thirteen crops make up the bulk of food production in these areas. A database was developed for use in agricultural research and development targeting and priority setting to raise the productivity of crops on which the poor in marginal environments depend

Replication Data for: Strategic approaches to targeting technology generation: Assessing the coincidence of poverty and drought-prone crop production

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable farmers on the whole have not benefited from international agricultural research and development. Past efforts have tried to increase the production of countries in more favourable environments; farmers with relatively higher potential for improvement benefited most from these advances. Current and future crop improvement efforts will focus more on marginal environments, especially those prone to drought. The objective of this research is to guide crop improvement efforts by prioritizing areas of high poverty, the key problem of high drought risk and the crops grown and consumed in these areas. Global spatial data on crop production, climate and poverty (as proxied by child stunting) were used to identify geographic areas of high priority for crop improvement. The analysis employed spatial overlay, drought modelling and descriptive statistics to identify where best to target technology generation to achieve its intended human welfare goals. Analysis showed that drought coincides with high levels of poverty in 15 major farming systems, especially in South Asia, the Sahel and eastern and southern Africa, where high diversity in drought frequency characterizes the environments. Thirteen crops make up the bulk of food production in these areas. A database was developed for use in agricultural research and development targeting and priority setting to raise the productivity of crops on which the poor in marginal environments depend

Replication Data for: The impact of climate change on coffee production in Central America

This data is a series of maps of Central American countries that specify the agro-ecological distribution suitable for coffee cultivation and show the impact gradient by indicating the change of the suitable agro-ecological zones, with the purpose of helping increase the private sector engagement in Climate Smart Agriculture in the region and provide the coffee sector with knowledge needed to facilitate the adoption of CSA practices. The maps were done through a random forest model in which precipitation and temperature were used as drivers and the model was trained through presences and pseudo-absences.

Replication Data for: Distributions, ex situ conservation priorities, and genetic resource potential of crop wild relatives of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., I. series Batatas)

Crop wild relatives of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., I. series Batatas) have the potential to contribute to breeding objectives for this important root crop. Uncertainty in regard to species boundaries and their phylogenetic relationships, the limited availability of germplasm with which to perform crosses, and the difficulty of introgression of genes from wild species has constrained their utilization. Here, we compile geographic occurrence data on relevant sweetpotato wild relatives and produce potential distribution models for the species. We then assess the comprehensiveness of ex situ germplasm collections, contextualize these results with research and breeding priorities, and use ecogeographic information to identify species with the potential to contribute desirable agronomic traits. The fourteen species that are considered the closest wild relatives of sweetpotato generally occur from the central United States to Argentina, with richness concentrated in Mesoamerica and in the extreme Southeastern United States. Currently designated species differ among themselves and in comparison to the crop in their adaptations to temperature, precipitation, and edaphic characteristics and most species also show considerable intraspecific variation. With 79% of species identified as high priority for further collecting, we find that these crop genetic resources are highly under-represented in ex situ conservation systems and thus their availability to breeders and researchers is inadequate. We prioritize taxa and specific geographic locations for further collecting in order to improve the completeness of germplasm collections. In concert with enhanced conservation of sweetpotato wild relatives, further taxonomic research, characterization and evaluation of germplasm, and improving the techniques to overcome barriers to introgression with wild species are needed in order to mobilize these genetic resources for crop breeding

Replication Data for: Crop wild relatives of pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.]: Distributions, ex situ conservation status, and potential genetic resources for abiotic stress tolerance

Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] is a versatile, stress-tolerant, and nutritious grain legume, possessing traits of value for enhancing the sustainability of dry sub-tropical and tropical agricultural systems. The use of crop wild relatives (CWR) in pigeonpea breeding has been successful in providing important resistance, quality, and breeding efficiency traits to the crop. Current breeding objectives for pigeonpea include increasing its tolerance to abiotic stresses, including heat, cold, drought, and waterlogging. Here we assess the potential for pigeonpea CWR to be further employed in crop improvement by compiling wild species occurrence and ex situ conservation information, producing geographic distribution models for the species, identifying gaps in the comprehensiveness of current germplasm collections, and using ecogeographic information to identify CWR populations with the potential to contribute agronomic traits of priority to breeders. The fifteen prioritized relatives of pigeonpea generally occur in South and Southeast Asia to Australia, with the highest concentrations of species in southern India and northern Australia. These taxa differ considerably among themselves and in comparison to the crop in their adaptations to temperature, precipitation and edaphic conditions. We find that these wild genetic resources are broadly under-represented in ex situ conservation systems, with 80% of species assessed as high priority for further collecting, thus their availability to plant breeders is insufficient. We identify species and highlight geographic locations for further collecting in order to improve the completeness of pigeonpea CWR germplasm collections, with particular emphasis on potential traits for abiotic stress tolerance.