This blog is a collection of stories taking stock of the achievements and legacy of the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP), which operated from 2004 to 2014, in building partnerships in modern crop breeding for food security. It takes us on a tour of the world, tasting a mouth-watering variety of crops along the way. For more read our introductory post on Why this blog?
These cross-cutting stories discuss selected underlying themes of GCP’s work and correspond to some of our 2012 ‘big-picture’ Position Papers.
- Overview – The Generation Challenge Programme: a tale of partnership
- Capacity building – Raising a new ‘crop’ of plant breeders to protect farmers’ futures
- The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) – The Integrated Breeding Platform: one-stop crop-breeding shop for developing countries
- Diagnostic molecular markers – Markers for favourable genes boost crop yields, economies and spirits
- Cloned genes – Cloned genes an asset in push for food security in developing countries
- Genetic stocks – Genetic stocks: the secret to more productive and efficient crops
These are stories about the nine crops that formed part of GCP’s research remit throughout its ten years, during both Phase I and Phase II – plus the story of our comparative genomics research seeking similar genes across crops.
- Beans – Superior bean pods boost yields in face of drought
- Cassava – Cassava: ‘there is life’ for African farmers
- Chickpeas – Chickpea’s promise: to be win-win for Africa and India
- Cowpeas – Cowpea research helps secure food supply during the ‘hungry months’ in Africa
- Groundnuts – Groundnut boom may help crack poverty in Africa
- Maize – Scientists paint a rainbow over maize research
- Rice – The power of rice unlocked
- Sorghum – Sorghum sunrise: collaborating across continents to lift West African yields
- Wheat – Giants make giant strides in quest for drought-tolerant wheat
- Comparative genomics – All in the family: sister genes help breed better crops
Phase I crops
Here we explore a few of the additional crops that GCP worked on during its Phase I, providing a valuable boost to genetic research and breeding.
- Bananas – Collective ‘intelligence’ cracks banana’s genetic code, clearing way for breeders
- Barley – Barley: the ‘last crop grown before the desert’
- Lentils – A little research goes a long way for lentils
- Pearl millet – Protein-rich pearl millet, pearl of the harsh lands
- Sweetpotatoes – Sweetpotato: lifesaver that gets a genetic lifeline
- Yams – West Africa gets its own ‘fully fledged’ yam scientists
Here we tell the stories of a few of our research champions – some of the many superstars of the GCP family.
- Chiedozie Egesi – Chiedozie Egesi: cassava champion for poor African farmers
- Elizabeth Parkes – Elizabeth Parkes: Cassava’s ‘woman of destiny’ in Ghana
- Hei Leung – Hei Leung: rice man of MAGIC and gene discovery
- Niaba Témé – Niaba Témé and the sunrise for sorghum in Mali
- Ousmane Boukar – Ousmane Boukar: committed to cowpeas
- Sam Gudu – Kenyan crop scientist Sam Gudu embraces next-generation researchers and farmers
These stories tell the tales of a small selection of GCP’s partnerships with a range of different institutions around the world.
- Agricultural Research Institute (ARI), Tanzania – Tanzania’s researchers turn high-end science into real food
- Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA) – Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research finds kindred spirit in GCP
- Crops Research Institute (CRI), Ghana – Ghana’s plant researchers blossom in their own fields
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) – ICRISAT researchers agree, partnerships can alleviate poverty
- International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) – Rice research reaps a rich harvest of products, people and partners
- National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Nigeria – Nigeria’s cassava researchers leading the march