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Breeders Deliberate On Soybean Product Advancement To Meet Market Demand

As part of efforts to combat malnutrition in Africa, IITA-CGIAR has embraced the breeding and adoption of soybean as one of its mandate crops because of its nutritional potential. With millions of tons produced annually worldwide, Africa is fast becoming one of the major producers of the crop through breeding programs.

However, to respond to market trends and needs for grain crops—one of CGIAR’s reforms, a soybean product advancement meeting was held on 2 May at the IITA Ibadan campus. The discussion focused on advancing promising IITA-bred soybean varieties for the West African region through a data-driven approach.

IITA partners from Syngenta Foundation, Seed Companies, National Research Agricultural System partners (NARS), and the Soybean Association of Nigeria participated at the meeting alongside other key players from IITA stations and hubs.

The meeting, anchored by IITA Product Manager for Grain Crops Dean Muungani, allowed the team to deliberate on 12 soybean varieties, checking which varieties should be advanced in line with market trends and requirements, and discuss the key traits that breeders would focus on in subsequent breeding programs.

According to Dean, there are metrics, including market segments designed under the product design and trade specification, that breeders focus on to assist the team in deciding the varieties to be advanced.

He also stated that the exercise is powered by Seed Equal, a CGIAR initiative to ensure all breeding programs undergo a similar process. Most importantly, he added that IITA soybean is one of the key crops being considered in product advancement to design protocols that other CGIAR crops can adopt.

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