Integrated breeding platform - Plant breeding software

Webinar FAO/IBP: Digitalization of breeding and seed value chains for better crop varieties in sub-Saharan Africa ::: Tuesday, 28 June 2022

June 23, 2022



FAO-IBP webinar

Digitalization of breeding and seed value chains for better crop varieties in Sub-Saharan Africa

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 | 13:00 -14:30 CEST



Significant efforts are being invested in the transformation of our agrifood systems to become more efficient, inclusive and resilient as means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition and poverty in all its manifestations by 2030. Towards this end, farmers must have access to, and use, quality seeds and planting materials of improved crop varieties which, by being productive, nutritious, input use-efficient and tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses, satisfy end-user needs and preferences.

The decisions that lead to the selection of new improved crop varieties are based on inferences drawn from the analyses of data on their performances – and those of other materials, typically over several seasons, years and locations. This implies that faulty analyses compromise the value of expensive plant breeding programmes. With advancements in computing technologies, significant amounts of data can be stored and analysed at speeds that were unthinkable just a couple of decades ago. The digitalization of data collection and the computerization of plant breeding pipelines have therefore improved significantly the efficiency of crop varietal development. This is because massive amounts of phenotypic and genotypic data can be collected, stored and analysed rapidly, thereby hastening the process for the development of the progressively superior crop varieties needed to address the constraints to food security and nutrition. Well-resourced private seed and plant breeding companies, especially the wealthy multinationals, have since computerized their plant breeding activities. National plant breeding programmes, especially in developing food insecure countries, have not had the resources to adopt the same efficiency-enhancing processes.

The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP), in collaboration with CGIAR and 21 national programs, developed the Breeding Management System (BMS) and the Integrated Seed Platform (ISP) to modernize plant breeding and seed delivery systems for food security crops in Africa. The BMS is a program that enables better management of breeding data across all phases of the crop improvement cycle, from program planning to decision making-, facilitates trial management, nurseries and seed inventory; runs statistical analyses; and supports breeding decisions through the integration of genetic markers. Currently used by about 700 researchers around the world, the adoption of the BMS as a crop improvement software of choice by practitioners has enabled better coordination and decision-making in plant breeding programs at the national level. It has also greatly enhanced the exchange of germplasm and data at a regional level. The ISP is a knowledge platform that directly addresses two fundamental challenges facing smallholder farmers: the lack of access to adapted and marketable new crop varieties due to a disconnect between farmers and the plant breeding process; and the limited access to information and advisory services, especially about new crop varieties, seed supplies and market opportunities.

This webinar aims to demonstrate the impact of digitalized data management in national programmes and private companies in delivering improved crop varieties to farmers.


  • Share experiences on the digitalization of breeding and seed value chains, with a special focus on the BMS – ranging from its development and deployment to practical use.
  • Highlight the importance of digitalizing the crop value chain to transform agrifood systems.
  •  Demonstrate that the ISP is enabling smallholder farmers to have better access to improved, resilient, and more profitable crop varieties.

Expected outcomes

  • Increase awareness of the importance of digital platforms for crop improvement.
  • Demonstrate the utility of BMS, expand the community of practice for the use of the tool.

Target audience

The event will be informative for FAO staff in HQ and in the decentralized offices and partners and other interested parties engaged in crop improvement, including representatives of governments, and staff of ministries of agriculture, national research and extension systems, seed sector practitioners; private sector and civil society organizations; the academia and farmers.


The event will consist of a series of presentations. The audience will be able to engage in the discussion by asking questions during the Q&A session but also by sharing their thoughts through the chatbox. Simultaneous interpretation in English and French will be provided.

Key messages

  • Digitalization of breeding and seed value chains enables smallholder farmers to have better access to improved, resilient, and more profitable crop varieties.
  • Digitalization supports income generation through enhanced coordination and efficiency of agrifood operations, the use of information and communication technology tools and by ensuring the reliability of seed supplies.
  • The development of e-services such as ISP supports the businesses of small holder farmers and youths engaged in the agrifood sector.
  • The digitalization of the seed value chain has economic, social and environmental impacts through enhanced productivity of cropping systems, risk reduction and access to market.
  • Digital agricultural transformation contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of a “world with zero hunger” by 2030.

Draft agenda


Item and presenter


Opening remarks by Jingyuan Xia, Director, Plant Production and Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


Technology transfer in Sub-Sharan Africa, challenges and perspectives: Jean-Marcel Ribaut, Director, Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP)


Institutional digitalization of breeding programs using the BMS: the study case of CERAAS by Ndjido Kane, Director, Centre d'étude régional pour l'amélioration de l'adaptation à la sécheresse (CERAAS)


Regional deployment of the BMS in public and private sectors in East and Soutern Africa by Mable Mulanya, Regional Deployment Manager for East and Southern Africa, IBP


Digitalization the seed value chains: an inclusive approach for visibility, traceability and quality control along the seed value chain by Alioune Mbow, Knowledge and Communication Manager, IBP


Q&A session


Closing remarks by Chikelu Mba, Team Leader, Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO


The event will be moderated by Ndeye Ndack Diop, Agricultural officer, Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO.

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