The meeting was designed to start cooperation of multidisciplinary collaboration with the end in mind. Often breeding takes the push approach; if a better product is designed, people will take it. Although there are many important potential traits we could have covered, we primarily focused on forage characteristics for a potential product proposal. We looked at behaviour and then worked our way backward through the value chain to come to the technical points of selecting for increased fodder quality, which has tremendous potential to affect the economic and life quality standards of the farmers.
At the user end, trust needs to be built through last-mile agents who can influence deep behavioural changes. A data summary of the economic assessments (ILRI, ICRISAT) can estimate the added economic value and social impact by showing increasing fodder quality (affecting digestibility, milk production, etc.). This should be easy to compose with much of the information already available through the participating institutes.
There is an opportunity here to use a case study from India and develop a South-South collaboration. What has to be kept in mind are country policies and approval requirements to register these forage types if they don’t deliver an increased grain yield. This could potential require process to have better variety descriptions and working with policy makers to help them understand the tremendous economic potential fodder traits can deliver to the end user.
Another important technical issue that was discussed in-depth was the need to develop a NIRS calibration network among all the participating contributors. Combined data from all locations will increase the reliability of individual instruments at each of the locations, especially when the NIRS equipment is networked. This should be a mandate for all participants in the network, the data can be shared and the consistency and confidence in the data being generated can increase. EiB is working with Intertec on pricing and developing standardized protocols for sending validation/calibration samples to their labs. Further standardized sampling and processing protocols have to be developed to ensure consistency throughout the network.
The plan is to develop a concept note to assess the social, gender, economic and value-chain potential of all the GLDC crops. In the first phase we want to focus on sorghum, groundnut and cowpea and in the second phase extend it to all other GLDC crops.
The partners for this project: CIRAD, IITA, ILRI, ICRISAT, IIAM, CIRAD, IAVAO, Makerere University (Uganda).
Outputs: Increase the fodder/feed value in addition to the food value of GLDC crops, considering the global economic impact, social implications and benefits, documenting the downstream nutritional impact (due to healthier, more productive herds and benefits to the farmers) and have increased capacity building.
Estimated cost of the initiative: $ 9.5 million.
Potential funding sources: BMGF, IFAD, USAID, DESIRA (EU), DFIT and ADB