Plant breeders without borders (PBWB)
Plant breeders without borders looks to train smallholder farmers to breed and develop new varieties in underutilised crops around the world
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Plant breed without borde
Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Secondary Focus Area
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Yambuk, Victoria, Australia
Location(s) of impact
This initiative will be a worldwide program.
Pilot projects have been carried out in :
-Ethiopia, Addis Abba.
This video describes what is a plant breeder, what is plant breeders without borders and what is an underutilised species and how they can help smallholder farmer increase production with the onset of climate change
My name is Anthony Leddin and I am the founder of Plant breeders without borders, an NGO looking to use volunteer plant breeders to train smallholder farmers and students to develop their own varieties of underutilised species and become breeders. These species have had little breeding work done on them in the past and would greatly benefit in yield and stress tolerance for the work we do on them. This seed would then be available to people around the world that are using this species.
Crops in Ethiopia are never far away from being drought affected so by developing more underutilised crops through Plant breeders without borders food security can be increased for the smallholder farmer.
Here we are crossing some lab lab plants out in the field in Ethiopia in 2015. It was hot work out there once the sun got overhead!
Here is the class for the first Plant breeders without borders pilot in Ethiopia in 2015. This was made up of smallholders farmers and technical staff from the International livestock research institute. The participants did practical crossing out in the field and learnt the theory of what they were doing in the classroom.
Here is one of the Ethiopian dairy farmers that would benefit from the development of forage varieties specifically for Ethiopia. They currently feed their livestock teff straw that doesn't have a high nutritional profile for their livestock, hence there milk production is low.
Ethiopia is a dry country and with 80 million people to feed it is always close to famine when drought conditions occur. By developing more drought tolerant underutilised forages for Ethiopian farmers this would increase their food security and income.
The hand cleaning of legume seed in Ethiopia, the site of the first pilot project for Plant breeders without borders.
Here is the happy class in Indonesia learning how to breed bambara groundnut and indigenous vegetables in May 2017. The class was made up of smallholder farmers, university plant breeders, students and a volunteer plant breeder from Australia and the USA. More than 50% of the class participants were women. In 2018 we are looking to have 5 more of these training classes around the world and each class will then begin their own breeding program in their underutilised species.
Plant breeders without borders is all about knowledge sharing. We need to create the next generation of plant breeders so we are targeting students to come along to the training and be mentored by senior volunteer plant breeders. The number of plant breeders is decreasing around the world and they are needed in the front line to help us increase food production by 70% by 2050 under the shadow of climate change.
Both farmers and university staff working together to create new varieties a better product will be developed that will have greater uptake by farmers. University staff and breeders can guide the smallholder farmers through the process of developing a new variety so they achieve their goals and increase their income and food security through climate change.
Here is a family harvesting Bambara groundnut in Indonesia. 57% of the smallholder farmers are women in Indonesia so by training them to develop their own varieties not only does it benefit women but also their infants who rely on the protein for their growing bodies that crops like bambara groundnut can provide.
Bambara is a hard nut to cross so staff from Bogor University are teaching farmers how to do this through Plant breeders without borders training.
This humble bowl of the little known bambara groundnut could be the crop of the future, high in protein for developing babies and drought tolerant, adapted to climate change. But little breeding work has been done on the species and smallholder farmers have used one variety for many years in Indonesia leaving them at risk of this being wiped out by disease. Smallholder farmers are now wanting to learn how to breed their own variety that will be made available for smallholder farmers worldwide.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
By 2050 the world needs to increase current food production by 70% to feed its estimated 9 billion population. This needs to be done under the shadow of climate change which is decreasing current crop yields around the world. More plant breeders are needed to create new varieties in underutilised species that are higher yielding and more tolerant of adverse climates. These varieties will give us the diversity to help with the changes ahead.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Plant breeders without borders is about knowledge sharing of how to develop new varieties of underutilised species to increase yields and the income of smallholder farmers around the world. An example of this is the latest pilot project that was done in collaboration with Bogor University in Indonesia. Participatory plant breeding techniques were used where smallholder farmers were taught by volunteer plant breeders and university staff how to do the plant crossing out in the field for bambara groundnut and indigenous vegetables. They then did a market chain analysis for the crop, identifying weak points in the chain where plant breeding could be used as a solution. The smallholder farmers then created a list of selection criteria and ranked them in order of importance for a breeding program. Finally they designed a breeding program in partnership with the university.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
So far there have been 2 pilot projects for plant breeders without borders. The first was in Ethiopia in 2015 in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute training smallholder farmers how to breed their own forage species. The second pilot project was in 2017 in Indonesia with Bogor University training smallholder farmers how to breed their own variety of Bambara groundnut. In Indonesia 5000 smallholder farmers would benefit from the varieties that would be developed in the program. This germplasm would then be made available worldwide. In 2013 243,000 tonne of bambara groundnut was grown around the world. The project is hoping to double yield and protein content. Bambara groundnut and other underutilised crops are more tolerant of adverse climates than staple crops such as rice, wheat and corn. Using underutilised crops can help increase food security.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
1. Plant breeders without borders is in the process of developing a crowdfunding strategy. It is hoped that $100,000 will be generated each year through this.
2. The first pilot project was funded through a grant through the Crawford fund valued at $10,000.
3. Bayer sponsored the second pilot project. More corporate sponsors are currently being sort.
4. Plant breeders without borders is an NGO so there is no income.
5. Philanthropist groups
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Plant breeders without borders shares the knowledge of plant breeding to empower those who need it.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
In 2003 I was a student studying my passion in plant breeding and I went to a plant breeding conference where my "heros" in plant breeding gave me some of their knowledge. Many of these have retired and their knowledge is lost. There is also a decreasing number of young people wanting to do plant breeding around the world. I thought if we could bring these two groups together there could be a knowledge transfer to the next generation. I have also an interest in the developing world and I thought that these people were the ones that needed the help in plant breeding. There are many species around the world that if some breeding work could be done on them they could help feed the world. Hence that is where the idea came together.
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