Decisions on how to invest scarce resources in CGIAR genetic innovation systems have been predominantly supply-driven, and therefore potentially out-of-sync with the demands of smallholders, consumers and agro-industry. The turnover of improved crop varieties developed by CGIAR and its partners has been slow. Farmers may not be well informed about varietal options available to them, or reluctant to experiment with new varieties. Small-scale seed businesses lack incentives to actively promote new varieties given weak demand. Little is known about the drivers of varietal replacement and product substitution, and the role of downstream market actors such as traders, processors, and consumers in this process.
There is clear recognition of the need for demand- and data-driven processes to guide genetic innovation systems, but efforts to advance this remain incomplete and fragmented within CGIAR. Current product profile design is strongly biased towards agronomic and stress tolerance traits, with little systematic identification and integration of traits that contribute to wider social impact.
This Initiative aims to maximize CGIAR and partners’ returns on investment in breeding, seed systems and other Initiatives based on reliable and timely market intelligence that enables stronger demand orientation and strengthens co-ownership and co-implementation by CGIAR and partners.