With regards to plant improvement, ISRA (CERAAS) through the Regional Center of Excellence, is coordinating four (04) projects on sorghum and millet within the framework of SMIL and the establishment of a new innovation center (02 projects) within the framework of ILCI. Cowpea improvement activities (04 projects) are being undertaken within the framework of the LSRIL and variety testing and best agronomic practices are underway within the framework of SIIL Phase II (02 projects). Under the PIL (06 projects), peanut variety improvement is based on new techniques in genetics, genomics, phenotyping and data management. FSIL (01 project).
Some programs/projects supporting crop improvement toward agricultural productivity enhancement and economic development in Africa.

DeSIRA (Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture):

Initiative aiming at linking more effectively research and innovation with development. Funded by the EU, this intends to boost innovation in agriculture and food systems transformation in low and middle-income countries with a view to be more resilient to the effects of climate change. It particularly emphasises the Sahel region, the poorest region in the world, where family farming is highly vulnerable to land degradation and climate change. In the framework of the DeSIRA initiative, four projects have been recently (2020 – 2025) funded on different agriculture-related topics in West-Africa, including sustainable integration of crop and livestock systems (CASSECS), agro-ecological practices (FAIR) and crop improvement (ABEE and APSAN). ABEE and APSAN are two tightly linked projects involving four countries in WA (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) led by CORAF and ICRISAT respectively. These two projects aim at modernizing breeding by setting breeding priorities on the basis of market and user demand, building human, infrastructure and equipment capacities of NARS, digitizing data and reinforcing the sustainability of the regional crop testing network.

Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT):

An important element of “Feed Africa” a strategy of the African Development Bank to transform agriculture and scale up agribusiness opportunities throughout 18 key agricultural commodity value chains targeting the sorghum and pearl millet compact. TAAT supports Feed Africa by providing the needed, proven agricultural and food processing technologies and implementation strategies for inclusion within the Bank’s loans to Regional Member Countries. TAAT estimates to lead to 120 million tons of additional raw food production per year and will contribute to lifting about 40 million people out of poverty.

PAIRED Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development in West and Central Africa:

ThisCORAF and USAID partnership is underpinned by the conviction that regional approaches and interventions are efficient as an added value to national efforts in reaching out to millions of people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and whose socio-cultural and economic circumstances are similar. The current program, Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development (PAIRED) in West and Central Africa (WCA), funded by USAID was designed to undertake the needed restructuring, with the aim of transforming CORAF into a structurally sound and financially stable organization to take the lead in agricultural research and innovation in WCA.

The USAID Feed the Future Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab (SMIL), Legumes System Research Innovation Lab (LSRIL), Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) and Peanut Innovation Lab (PIL), Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI):

An initiative that is part of the U.S. government’s strategy to fight hunger and poverty around the world. In WA, these innovations labs are already collaborating tightly with the RCE CERAAS and its partners, especially on sorghum, millet, cowpea and groundnut improvement and variety testing together with best agronomic practices.

Enhancing institutional breeding capacity in Ghana, Senegal and Uganda to develop climate resilient crops for African smallholder farmers (EBCA):

This project is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and led by the IBP through a hosting arrangement with AfricaRice. The main objective of the project is to develop and disseminate improved crop cultivars in Senegal, Ghana and Uganda that have characteristics that meet smallholder needs (improved grain yield and quality, fodder) and market demands as well as able to mitigate agro-ecological challenges, climate change, and biotic and abiotic stresses. Ultimately, this will lead to the adoption of ‘fit-for-purpose’ varieties of sorghum, cowpea, rice and groundnut.

Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (Phase 2 – Date?).

This lab is managed internationally by theUniversity of Kansas. The objectives are to develop research and capacity building portfolios in collaboration with U.S.universities and international research organizations on activities related to sustainable intensification, and tosustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes that ensure food and nutrition security for smallholderfarmers in Africa and Asia while maintaining a strong focus on research on integrated agricultural systems.

Legume System Research Innovation Lab (Phase? – Date?).

This lab is managed internationally by theUniversity of Michigan. It aims to develop innovations in legume pest control, new and improved variety selection,alternative cropping systems, technology adoption in commercial systems, nutritional approaches, and the effects ofpolicies on the system. It also aims to fill gaps in the knowledge base on approaches to better understand and improvethe scaling up of innovations.

Peanut Innovation Lab (Phase 2 – 2018-2022).

This laboratory is managed internationally by the University ofGeorgia. Its goal is to reduce hunger by helping farmers in developing countries to grow and benefit from healthypeanut. The new program builds on the many successes of the previous Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Laboratory interms of new variety development, pre- and post-harvest management, and processing. It also works in the new researchareas of peanut nutrition, gender and youth.

Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab (phase 2 – 2019-2023).

This laboratory is managed internationally by theUniversity of Kansas. It is a leading research consortium aimed at improving the adaptation and resilience of sorghumand millet to the semi-arid climates of East and West Africa. It brings together U.S. and international universities andresearch organizations in a collaborative effort to build human and institutional capacity in Ethiopia, Niger, andSenegal.