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Cassava Challenge Initiative Launch Meeting

Fiesta Royale Hotel, Accra, Ghana
23rd – 24th July 2010



Agenda: Click on the topic titles to view the corresponding presentations 



Friday 23rd

Chair:  Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah CRI Director


Opening Prayer

Dr. C. Egesi


Welcome from CSIR DG

Dr. A.B. Salifu


Welcome from GCP

Dr. Delannay


Introduction of Guest of Honour

Mrs Ruth Prempeh


Minister's Speech & Launch

Hon Sherry Ayitey Minister - MEST


Vote of Thanks

Mrs E. Y.  Parkes


Picture Taking and Coffee     

Session 1

Overview and Project Management

Dr. Delannay


CI objectives

Dr. Delannay


Linkage (IBP, AR and NARs)

Dr. Delannay


Project 1: Genetic resources

Development of a genetic resources base for drought and biotic stress improvement in cassava

Dr. Delannay / Dr. Morag



Project 2:  Biotic Resources           


Overview of Project and Proposed Activities

Dr. Egesi / Dr. Onyeka





Chair:  Prof. J.P. Tetteh         

Session 2

Project 3: MARS                   


The Mars Process and Pipeline

Dr. Delannay


Data Management

Dr. Arllet Portugal


Overview and Work Plan for Mars

Dr. Okogbenin


Genomics Tools to Accelerate Cassava Improvement

Dr. Pablo




Overview of Phenotyping Activities

Dr. Tim Setter


Discussion of Work Plan        

Saturday 24th


Session 3

Chair:  Dr. Xavier Delannay



Overview / Work Plan

Dr. Hernan


Drought Tolerance Trial in Latin America

Dr. Luis






CoP/CI Training and Capacity Building

Challenge Initiative Project 5: Cassava breeding community of practice

Dr. E.Okogbenin




Product Delivery

Dr. Butler


Product Delivery Strategy

Dr. Butler






Chair:  Dr. Larry Butler

Session 4



Discussion on Necessary Resources to Sustain CI Activities

Dr. Butler




Mega programme for roots and tubers, plantains and bananas

Dr. Kulakow /Dr. Hernan


General Discussion and Closing

Dr. Delannay



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Cassava - Human resources

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Cassava - Products

#ProductTypeDescriptionCurrent UseAccessAccess URL
1 A microsatellite kit for the GCP cassava reference germplasm set Genomic Resources Reference kit of 36 SSRs, with sequence list and protocol, germplasm checks, and allele sizes of microsats for those checks Assessment of diversity in cassava collections Contact M. Ferguson, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2 A cassava germplasm reference set Germplasm A reference set derived from a cassava composite set of 2494 accessions from CIAT, IITA and EMBRAPA genotyped using 22 SSR at CIAT and 8 SSR  at IITA Comparative genomics studies and introduction of diversity and selected traits in cassava breeding programmes. Contact M. Ferguson, International Center for Tropical Agriculture(IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
3 Cassava germplasm improved for physiological and biotic traits Germplasm BC2 progenies with excellent delayed PPD identified for establishment in vitro and shipment to partners in Africa; Several wild Manihot species and inter-specific hybrids with resistance to cassava green mites identified, accessions of M. esculenta sub spp flabellifolia with resistance to whiteflies identified; Development of a new set of CMD resistant materials with enhanced nutritional quality for shipment to  partners in Africa; The main objective of project is to accelerate the process of introgression of useful genes from wild relatives into cassava via a modified Advance Back Cross QTL (ABC-QTL) breeding scheme. Germplasm to be used in a SP3 commissioned project 2003 (Cassava Nigeria) Contact A. Bellotti,International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
4 Drought tolerant contrasting cassava varieties Germplasm In order to elucidate the mechanisms of cassava which has remarkable tolerance to drought and to determine the best traits to be used in breeding programmes for drought tolerance, selected contrasting varieties have been screened and evaluated in four representative semi-arid environments in Brazil, Colombia, Tanzania and Ghana. Cassava breeding materials in Brazil Contact, A. Alves, EMBRAPA, Brazil aalves@cnpmf.
5 Drought resistant cassava germplasm lines Germplasm Seedlings of 109 accessions of selected cassava germplasm (drought and other resistances) certified virus free and ready for distribution/use Improvement of cassava breeding lines in West Africa Germplasm multiplied in quantity compatible with distribution to selected partners in the range of 10 seedlings per accession per partner. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
6 UMCASS33. a disease-resistant, high-yielding cassava variety from Nigeria Germplasm Released in December 2010, UMCASS33  brings together favorable quality and agronomic characteristics  from South  American and African cassava. Selected South American cassava provided  a higher nutritional content, while African cassava conferred resiliencyand CMD resistantce . CIAT provided the South American cassava, while the local variety resistant to cassava mosaic disease (CMD) was developed from material obtained from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). UMCASS33 has indicated higher yields and tolerance to acid soils conferred from the South American parentage and CMD disease resistance from the African. Cultivation by Nigerian farmers and breeding material for elite lines. Contact Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin or Dr. Cheidozie Egesi, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) at Umudike, Nigeria eokogbenin@
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
7 Training course materials on phenotyping Training Materials Training course : phenotyping and water deficit.  A ooklet of the course, distributed to participants with copy to GCP; CD rom with all power point presentations, conclusions of the course and spreadsheets for calculating environmental data and soil water balance. Distributed to participants with copy to GCP; six A4 pages presenting techniques (measurements of plant temperature, of evaporative demand, of soil water content, of intercepted radiation, calculation of evapotranspiration); The training course aimed at providing participants with theoretical and practical elements for these choices. Twenty three scientists (level : PhD or master) participated to the course, 6 from Africa, 6 from south Asia, 4 from east Asia, four from Latin America and 3 from Europe. The latter were participants to ongoing GCP projects which received no financial support from the GCP. The course lasted 8 working days (from 3 to 12 July 2006) and the time was split into three parts of similar durations (i) lectures, aimed at providing and discussing the theoretical frameworks, (ii) practical sessions in the greenhouse or in the field aimed at a direct contact with the tools involved in phenotyping, (iii) computer sessions in which each participant could work on practical examples and directly test methods of analysis and reasoning. The course consisted in two sessions : "Characterising the plant environment and the stress" with lecures, a practical experience of measurements in greenhouse and field and computer sessions, and "Assessing phenotypes : trait evaluation" with lectures, a field session and two days of computer sessions. General training on phenotyping CD rom with all power point presentations, conclusions of the course and spreadsheets for calculating environmental data and soil water balance on demand from GCP (www.generationcp.org) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cassava – Capacity building

In Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, cassava researchers have benefited from physical infrastructure, as well as from GCP’s Genotyping Support Service (GSS), and GCP is also funding several postgraduate students working on cassava – including at least one in each of the four countries in the cassava community of practice (CoP),which includes Uganda.

An informatics and data management workshop was held for all four partner countries in Accra, Ghana, in July 2010.

The aim is to strengthen the capacity of country breeding programmes to combine both conventional and molecular breeding.

For the African cassava breeders Community of Practice (CoP) supported by the CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme (GCP), capacity development is important. “Capacity building is critical for the CoP, especially to use the products coming from GCP,” says Emmanuel Okogbenin, the CoP Coordinator.

He adds, “The common adage that people are the most important asset is not quite true. The right people are your most important asset. People with the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes.”

Postgraduate students from partner institutes supported by the cassava RI

Country Student Home institute University Course Research area Status
Ghana Joseph Adjebeng-Danquah SARI–CSIR WACCI, University of Ghana PhD Genetic studies of cassava genotypes for improved productivity in the guinea savanna zone of northern Ghana Enrolled in 2010
Ruth Prempeh CRI-CSIR WACCI, University of Ghana PhD Genetic sutides on root quality trais in cassava with emphasis on postharvest physiological deterioration Enrolled in 2009
Bright Boakye Peprah CRI-CSIR University of Ghana MSc Genotype-by-environment effects on improved cassava varieties Enrolled in 2008 (via CoP)
Nigeria Bunmi Olasanmi NRCRI University of Ibadan, Nigeria PhD QTLs for early maturity for cassava Completed in 2010 (enrolled via CoP)
Tanzania Bernedetha Kimata ARI-Tanzania Egerton University, Kenya MSc Genetic linkage mapping of CBSD tolerance Enrolled in 2009 (via CoP)
Uganda Williams Esuma NaCRRI Makerere University, Uganda MSc Genetic diversity of yellow-root cassava germplasm in Uganda Enrolled in 2009 (via CoP)


Site-specific infrastructural development is planned for GCP Phase II, based on an ongoing needs assessment at research-station level. Thus far, infrastructural improvement includes:

  • 2011: Topographic surveys, improved infrastructure (irrigation systems, fencing, and weather stations), and plot rehabilitation for partners in Ghana and Nigeria
  • 2005–2006: GCP supported the establishment of a modest molecular breeding laboratory at NRCRI in Nigeria, and a marker-assisted selection laboratory at CRI–CSIR in Ghana.


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