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Project 4. Integrated Crop Management

Problem analysis

Potato and sweetpotato farmers in developing countries face several biotic constraints that reduce crop productivity. The main constraints of global importance that affect the potato crop are the diseases late blight, bacterial wilt and a number of viruses, and the insects potato tuber moth, leaf miner fly and the Andean potato weevil. The main biotic constraints to sweetpotato production include viruses, sweetpotato weevil and white fly. The lack of high quality planting material is a common problem for both crops in developing countries where commercial seed production systems are virtually non-existent. In addition, soil fertility is declining in many developing countries, affecting the present and future productivity of these crops, which are planted to a large extent in marginal areas. The incidence of different constraints depends on regions and countries, however, in most cases two or more constraints act together to reduce crop productivity, which consequently reduces farmer competitiveness, food security and income. Biotic constraints also lead to the use of highly toxic pesticides that pose a serious risk to human health and environment. In addition, NARS in developing countries have limited access to suitable information, principles, technologies and methods, which influence their capacity to develop and deliver sustainable technologies in a more integrated way.

Identification of specific problems to be tackled with research

The lack of quality planting material for potato and sweetpotato in developing countries is the first problem that the ICM project is addressing. This is being done through research and training to improve formal and farmer-based (self-supply) seed systems. Improvement of the formal seed system will also contribute to a more efficient dissemination of new varieties. The optimization of soil-nutrient use will be addressed within a wider concept of developing strategies and methods for a better technical integration of agronomic management of potato and sweetpotato. The third and fourth areas of research focus on the development of control components for diseases and insects respectively; for this purpose basic research to understand the biophysical principles of pests is conducted at a preliminary stage, to transform this knowledge into tools and management components in a later stage. The fifth area of research is directed at developing participatory methods and strategies for integration of ICM components in response to specific needs and socioeconomic conditions of farmers. Because of the virtually unlimited variability of agro-ecosystems and socioeconomic conditions, the project focuses on the development of general principles and methods for integration and scaling-up and gives priority to provide training to NARS. Thus, the partner institutions (NARS) will use such principles and methods to fine tune components, integrate them and scale-up specific ICM strategies according to their priorities.

Objectives

The goal of the ICM project is to reduce poverty and hunger and contribute to sustainable agriculture by developing and disseminating new and appropriate technologies related to the integrated management of the main factors that influence potato and sweetpotato productivity. In this way the project aims at contributing to household food security, competitiveness and income generation and as a result, contribute to poverty and hunger alleviation.

The objectives of the Division are a) develop and assess technological and organizational strategies for improving formal and farmer-based seed systems towards enhancing potato and sweetpotato production efficiency and competitiveness; b) develop and assess principles, strategies and methods for technical integration of agronomic management components towards sustainable intensification of potato and sweetpotato cropping systems; c) conduct basic and applied research to develop integrated management strategies for the main potato and sweetpotato diseases; d) conduct basic and applied research to develop integrated management strategies for the main potato and sweetpotato insect pests; e) develop and assess participatory strategies and methods for socio­economic integration of potato and sweetpotato ICM to support NARS to be more responsive to the needs of the poor.

There are some changes regarding last year?s MTP in the way objectives are written. The current MTP includes each objective linked to an output, which was not the case in the previous plan. In addition, there has been some realignment of objectives and outputs, which have been already explained in the overview. Additional explanation about these changes is provided below:

In Output 1: Strategies for improving formal and farmer-based seed systems towards enhancing potato and sweetpotato production efficiency and competitiveness validated in LAC, SSA and Asia there has been just a slight change in the terminology, replacing ?informal systems? by ?farmer-based? seed systems which are prevalent in developing countries. The new way the output is written also puts emphasis on improving production efficiency and farmer competitiveness.

In Output 2: Strategies and methods for technical integration of soil, seed, disease and insect management components for subsistence and semi-commercial potato and sweetpotato growers developed in key countries in LAC, SSA and Asia, there has been a significant change. This output was previously oriented specifically to develop strategies for conservation agriculture and soil fertility management as components of ICM. However, NARS require strategies and methods for improving technical integration of crop management components, which includes soil fertility and conservation agriculture but as integration mechanisms in relation to seed, disease and insect management.

In Outputs 3 and 4, there has been a slight change in terminology to emphasize the need to develop strategies for integrated disease and insect-pest management respectively and not only management components as it was previously written.

In Output 5: Participatory strategies and methods for socioeconomic integration of potato and sweetpotato ICM components developed and made available for improving potato and sweetpotato innovation systems in LAC, SSA and Asia, there has been a significant change. In the last MTP this output included the development of strategies and methods for both technical and socioeconomic integration. In the current MTP, the development of methods for technical integration is part of Output 2 and in Output 5 the emphasis is specifically on the development of participatory strategies and methods for socioeconomic integration of ICM, which will be applied by NARS and NGOs according to the specific needs of regions and countries.

Alignment with CGIAR System priorities


Output 1. Strategies for improving formal and farmer-based seed systems towards enhancing potato and sweetpotato production efficiency and competitiveness validated in LAC, SSA and Asia

The improvement of seed quality will contribute to enhancing farmer efficiency and competitiveness. Therefore, this output will contribute to Priority 3A (increasing income from fruit and vegetables), assuming that the Science Council designates potato as a high value horticultural crop[1]. The output will also contribute to Priority 4D (sustainable agro-ecological intensification in low- and high-potential areas) and Priority 5D (improving research and development options to reduce rural poverty and vulnerability). For new improved varieties to generate impact, they require to be disseminated through efficient seed systems. Therefore, this output will also contribute to the system Priority 2A (maintaining and enhancing yields and yield potential of food staples) when referring specifically to integrating management components to preserve the value of new genetic materials developed by CIP?s breeding work.

Output 2. Strategies and methods for technical integration of soil, seed, disease and insect management components for subsistence and semi-commercial potato and sweetpotato growers developed in key countries in LAC, SSA and Asia

The availability of principles and methods for technical integration of crop management components will help NARS to design and deliver more appropriate potato and sweetpotato ICM technologies, which, in combination with Output 5, will make NARS technologies more responsible to the needs of the poor. This output is clearly linked to Priority 4D (sustainable agro-ecological intensification in low- and high-potential areas), but it will also contribute to Priority 5D (improving research and development options to reduce rural poverty and vulnerability), Priority 3A (increasing income from fruit and vegetables) and Priority 2A (maintaining and enhancing yields and yield potential of food staples) as explained for Output 1.

Output 3.  Components and strategies for the integrated management of key potato and sweetpotato diseases ? late blight (LB), bacterial wilt (BW) and viruses ? developed, tested and disseminated within ICM strategies in LAC, SSA and Asian priority countries; and Output 4. Components and strategies for the integrated management of key potato and sweetpotato insect pests developed, tested and disseminated as part of ICM strategies in LAC, SSA and Asia priority countries.

Developing environmentally friendly strategies for the integrated management of diseases and insects will contribute to the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of potato and sweetpotato-based systems and to reduce the dependency on pesticides. This output is clearly linked to Priority 4D (sustainable agro-ecological intensification in low- and high-potential areas), but it will also contribute to Priority 5D (improving research and development options to reduce rural poverty and vulnerability), Priority 3A (increasing income from fruit and vegetables) and Priority 2A (maintaining and enhancing yields and yield potential of food staples) as explained for Output 1 and 2.

Output 5. Participatory strategies and methods for socioeconomic integration of potato and sweetpotato ICM developed and made available for improving potato and sweetpotato innovation systems in LAC, SSA and Asia

Having participatory methods to help NARS and CIP for more efficient technology generation in order to be more responsible to the needs of the poor will be linked to Priority 5C (rural institutions and their governance), particularly to the specific goal 1 of this priority, which is related to strengthening modes of participatory research. Output 5 will also contribute to Priority 5D (improving research and development options to reduce rural poverty and vulnerability) and Priority 5A (science and technology policies and institutions).

Impact pathways

The description of the main impact pathways per output is included below and refers to the pathways related to the new CIP?s research themes described in the overview section.

Output 1. Strategies for improving formal and farmer-based seed systems towards enhancing potato and sweetpotato production efficiency and competitiveness validated in LAC, SSA and Asia

The lack of quality seed for potato and sweetpotato growers is common in developing countries. Therefore, developing strategies for improving the formal and farmer-based seed systems and providing training to NARS and extension organizations, will have a direct impact on sustainable intensification of the crops, which will be reflected in income increase, poverty and hunger reduction, improving access to nutritious food for farmers. This will be important to help linking farmers to markets for regions such as Africa and Asia where potato is a high-value crop and farmers need to be more competitive to take advantage of market opportunities. For subsistence farmers, such as in the Andes, the output will help them to achieve food security, but also to initiate interactions with niche markets, for example, for commercialization of native potatoes. The relative strength of NARS has a direct influence on the possible development of formal seed systems. CIP will play a primary role in identifying bottlenecks that limit the improvement of seed systems and conduct research to solve some of the constraints, but also will play a catalytic role to bring institutions together from the public and private sector to address seed-related challenges. Intermediate users of the technology (NARS, including universities) will play an important role for adjusting and scaling-up technologies and strategies according to local conditions.

Output 2. Strategies and methods for technical integration of soil, seed, disease and insect management components for subsistence and semi-commercial potato and sweetpotato growers developed in key countries in LAC, SSA and Asia

Farmers face a number of constraints to potato and sweetpotato production, particularly related to seed, soil, diseases and insects. The Project will develop principles, methods and strategies for technical integration of crop management components and provide them to NARS through capacity building. In this way, NARS will be enabled to develop and disseminate integrated management technologies more efficiently according to local needs (this will be achieved in combination with Output 5). The development of locally specific crop management strategies will support the sustainable intensification of potato and sweetpotato-based production systems in low- and high-potential areas and will be related to all research themes included in CIP?s strategic plan. CIP will play a primary research goal for the development of principles, strategies and methods, but only a secondary and facilitation role for enabling NARS (including NGOs and universities) to conduce more efficient integration of components.

Output 3. Components and strategies for the integrated management of key potato and sweetpotato diseases ? late blight (LB), bacterial wilt (BW) and viruses ? developed, tested and disseminated within ICM strategies in LAC, SSA and Asian priority countries; and Output 4. Components and strategies for the integrated management of key potato and sweetpotato insect pests developed, tested and disseminated as part of ICM strategies in LAC, SSA and Asia priority countries

Disease and insect-related constraints affect potato and sweetpotato in different regions. There are pests of global importance such as late blight, bacterial wilt and potato tuber moth and others with regional importance such as the Andean potato weevil in South America and the Colorado potato beetle in Central Asia. The development of management components for diseases and insects will have clear implications for sustainable intensification of the crops, thus contributing to income generation, poverty and hunger reduction, improving access to safe food and to help farmer to link with the markets more competitively. In addition, integrated disease and insect management will help reduce dependence on pesticides with the consequent positive impact on the environment and human health. Institutional constraints related to the competition of private agrochemical companies would be a conditioning factor for the results. CIP will play a primary research role for the development of management components and a secondary role in coordination with ARI?s for more basic types of research. In addition, it will play a role of facilitator for supporting access of NARS to scientific knowledge and technologies and enabling institutions to develop, apply and make available disease and insect management for the final users of the technology (farmers).

Output 5: Participatory strategies and methods for socioeconomic integration of potato and sweetpotato ICM developed and made available for improving potato and sweetpotato innovation systems in LAC, SSA and Asia

Public NARS in developing countries have been weakening over the years and new institutional players have started to increase in importance as information providers for farmers, for example, NGOs. However, the lack of access to technical and methodological information limits the institutional capabilities to help farmers to solve problems more efficiently. The project will develop strategies and methods and will provide capacity building to NARS (intermediate users) including NGOs, to facilitate the use of participatory methods to fine-tune ICM strategies for potato and sweetpotato according to local needs and socioeconomic conditions of farmers. This output is related to CIP?s new research theme on institutional learning and pro-poor change, aiming at contributing to improve the efficiency of the potato and sweetpotato innovation systems. Methodological change or adjustment will depend on the existence of favorable institutional environments, which can enable innovation; such environments vary from country to country. CIP will play a primary and secondary role for research, according to the strength of the NARS, will take advantage of experiences developed by other research and development organizations and will play a catalytic and facilitation role towards capacity building for NARS, in coordination with local or regional universities.

Research approach to develop IPGs

The project has a strong focus on IPG through the development of knowledge of biophysical principles related to the main potato and sweetpotato constraints and the development of management components of wider application, but also through the development of principles, strategies and methods to support the integration of management components by NARS according to local conditions. Outputs 2, 3 and 4 will involve the development of technically oriented IPG and CIP has a comparative advantage for this because it will build on previous knowledge about potato and sweetpotato constraint and because of the key liaison role it can play to link NARS and ARIs, but also to conduct global analysis regarding specific constraints and their management, for example, late blight. Outputs 1 and 5 will involve the development of methodologically oriented IPG, in which CIP also has a comparative advantage in terms of approaches and methods developed in the past, but will also draw from relevant experiences developed by other institutions.

External conditions

The main assumption that drives the activities of the ICM Project is that NARS are willing to collaborate in the research process and that financial resources are available for conducing research. NARS participation depends on the level of organization, capabilities and resources available in each country and also on the existence of supporting policies for research purposes. On the other hand, the achievement of outcomes and impacts depends on the existence of mechanisms for dissemination of information and technologies, which include government and non-government extension services that vary from country to country.

Target ecoregions

The Project focuses its activities in the highland region of Latin America (LAC), South Saharan Africa (SSA), South West and Central Asia (SWCA) and East and South East Asia and the Pacific (ESEAP), where potatoes are grown. The Project has also important activities in subtropical lowlands in SSA, SWCA and ESEAP, where sweetpotatoes are grown. Within WWCA, a new ecoregion for the Project includes the Continental semiarid regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus, where potato is also an important crop. This ecoregion is characterized by long days with one main potato crop in the highlands and two potato crops per year in the lowlands.

Collaborators


Partner

Type

Strategic role and complementary advantage (what capabilities the partner has, that CIP does not have, to facilitate the work)

Outputs to which partner contributes

PROINPA (Bolivia)

NARS

Contributes with human, financial support and logistic facilities for conducting ICM-related research.

Output 1
Output 2
Output 3
Output 4
Output 5

ISABU (Burundi)

NARS

Contributes with human resources and facilitates technology evaluation with farmers.

Output 3

IRAD (Cameroon)

NARS

Contributes with human resources and facilitates technology evaluation with farmers.

Output 3

Vegetable Research
Institute (China)

NARS

Facilitates technology evaluation with farmers

Output 3

Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (Denmark)

University

Contributes with funding for students and facilitates linkages with research teams in Developed countries in Europe.

Output 3

INIAP
(Ecuador)

NARS

Contributes with human resources for conducting research related to LB and insect control

Output 3
Output 4

International Association for Agricultura Development (Georgia)

NGO

Contribute to validate farmer-based seed technologies with the Seed Growers? Associations assisted by the NGO.

Output 1

University of Hohenheim (Germany)

University

Contribute with students to conduct research as part of Master and PhD programs.

Output 4

Institute of Biological Control, BBA (Germany)

NARS

Contributes with expertise on biological control, particularly for baculovirus-related research.

Output 4

Central Potato Research Institute (India)

NARS

Contribute with human and financial resources to conduct research activities at the research station located in North-East, India.

Output 1

Department of Horticulture, Meghalyaa  and Department of Agriculture Nagaland (India)

NARS

Contributes with human resources for the validation and dissemination of positive and negative selection of clonal seed and TPS to improve farmer-based seed systems.

Output 1

KARI (Kenya)

NARS

Facilitate access to lab facilities and technology evaluation with farmers. It leads the ASARECA-funded project on seed and BW management.

Output 1
Output 3

Potato Development Section (Nepal)

Posted on Wednesday, September 20