Case study 3: Fund for the Improvement and Adoption of African Crops (FIACC)

A popular new variety of maize produced by crossing high-yielding and local varieties. Credit, M. DeFreese, CIMMYT.

A popular new variety of maize produced by crossing high-yielding and local varieties. Credit, M. DeFreese, CIMMYT.

The Fund for the Improvement and Adoption of African Crops (FIACC) programme is intended to increase farmers’ choice in the development of ‎improved seed varieties. This is done by crop breeders and farmers working together to include farmer preferences in the variety selection process.

FIACC adopts a decentralised approach to crop improvement that brings breeding work closer to farmers, with testing amongst farmers for selection and an emphasis on agroecological diversity. The breeders use local varieties in combination with modern, higher-yielding lines to achieve better adaptation to local environments. New varieties are tested with government regulation processes involving on-farm trials and demonstrations on farmers’ fields to authorize the seeds for commercial use by seed enterprises.

FIACC uses breeding stock available through international channels such as the Global Agricultural Research Partnership (CGIAR) and local landraces. As of 2010, 100 new varieties have been produced through the programme using conventional breeding methods. The release of new varieties in 2010 surpassed the target by 50% (60 new varieties released compared with a target of 40). FIAAC’s objective is to develop and release 1,300 new crop varieties over 10 years.[1]

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