Driving bottom-up strategies in crop improvement

We believe that science, innovation and collaboration are central to reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty around the globe. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement brings together scientists and stakeholders from around the world to co-develop and implement crop improvement tools, technologies and methods that are adjusted to fit the unique needs of each community. We are working to accelerate the breeding of locally and regionally adapted crop varieties targeted to smallholder farmers with a focus on roots, tubers and banana, millets, sorghum and legumes.

Objective areas

Our work is advancing plant breeding tools, technologies and methods aimed at delivering staple crops that can increase yields, enhance nutrition and show greater resistance to pests and diseases. We listen to the voices at National Agricultural Research Institutes  and work together to drive advancement in crop improvement. Together we are creating impact and forming sustainable solutions to reduce hunger on a local and global scale. We focus on seven key areas:

Breeding informatics

Deploying cloud computing hubs and web application for data-based simulations to optimize breeding efficiency and genetic gains in staple crops

Cross-cutting themes

Supporting plant breeding programs’ attention to gender equality, youth engagement, nutrition security, resilience and inclusion in the development of tools, technologies, and methods


Leveraging advances in molecular biology and bioinformatics to introduce advanced trait predictions in breeding populations

Institutional Capacity

Assessing the institutional capacity of national agricultural research centers to innovate and sustain crop improvement activities


Advancing data collection and management through cutting-edge technology to introduce nutritional and resilience traits in crops

Priority setting

Delivering scalable and robust market analysis with critical attention to issues of gender, age, social difference and more

Trait discovery

Empowering the rapid discovery and deployment of novel plant traits by leveraging rigorous hypothesis-testing and advanced genomic resources

A holistic approach to plant breeding

We connect with a global network of plant breeders, social scientists, farmers and communities that are transforming food security for a better and more just world.

Centers of Innovation for Crop Improvement


East African Center of Innovation for finger millet and sorghum (CIFMS)

Costa Rica & Haiti

Central American and Caribbean Crop Improvement Alliance (CACCIA)


Center of Innovation for Crop Improvement for East and Southern Africa (CICI-ESA)


Crop Innovation in West Africa (CIWA)

Focus crops

Roots, tubers and banana




How we work

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