PAN-AFRICAN SOYBEAN VARIETY TRIALS
SIL’s Pan-African Soybean Variety Trials (PAT) fast-track the introduction and testing of commercial soybean varieties sourced from across Africa, the U.S., Australia, and Latin America to provide the private sector, farmers, and processors with access to a broader selection of seed than what is currently available. The program consortium leverages its role as an independent third party and its unique access to international, regional, and national supplies of high-yielding and disease resistant germplasm to swiftly bring new varieties to market.
Starting in just 4 countries in 2016, the Pan-African Trials (PAT) have grown to 24 countries across 113 locations with 56 public-sector and 66 private-sector partners. Testing is taking place in 149 locations involving 24,437 plots. The PATs have already been successful in bringing 15 new soybean varieties to market in Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Cameroon, and Malawi.
the pat team
Dr. Nicholas Federico Martin
University of Illinois
Dr. Juan David Arbelaez
University of Illinois
Through direct and deep mentorship SIL researchers mobilize the critical trainings, equipment, infrastructure, mechanization, and standards of practice to transform partner soybean breeding programs into sustainable units that can successfully support the region’s varietal improvement needs.
SIL efforts have introduced new, high-yielding and disease resistant soybean varieties. Since 2013, the experimental lines developed by SIL’s breeding partners in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Zambia increased 1069%, yield plots planted increased 258%, and progeny rows planted increased 1069%. Partner breeding programs also achieved a 675% increase in successful crosses and a 223% increase in breeder productivity.
number of experimental lines planted
The Breeding team
Dr. Nicholas Denwar
Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Ghana
SIL established a high-caliber Master of Science degree program in Genetics and Plant Breeding for African students looking to work in the seed industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program includes collaboration and professional networking with private and public-sector laboratories, offering the highest-quality training in a regionally accessible environment.
The MS Degree in Genetics and Plant Breeding is a sustainable program that explicitly develops African human capital both at the faculty and student levels. The program combines instruction and research based in Ghana with ongoing linkages to leading university plant breeding labs in the U.S. The program is graduating plant breeders with market relevant skills to drive crop productivity in Africa and foster economic growth. We are currently in the process of expanding the MS program to an additional 5 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
"To achieve food and nutritional security in Africa, a workforce must be prepared to take on the challenges of drought, disease and insect resistance, and geographical adaptation in creating improved crop varieties for small shareholder farmers. SIL is working with universities across the African continent to train the next generation of scientists in crop improvement.”
- Dr. Rita Mumm, Emerita Professor in Quantitative Genetics and Plant Breeding and SIL Breeder Education Program Lead