From awareness to action: Knowledge sharing for more gender-responsive animal and plant breeding
This action plan brief (PDF) by CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network illustrates the type of strategic knowledge sharing in gender research, with the example of the integration of gender into animal and plant breeding. Many breeders in CGIAR are aware of how gender differences can influence variety adoption and the impact of plant and animal breeding programs. However, the problem is that not enough is known about practical ways to make breeding programs more gender responsive. During a CGIAR workshop on gender, breeding and genomics, the key features of a gender-responsive breeding program were discussed. For example, the target population should be clearly defined at the outset of the breeding program as well as the social and physical environment. Sampling should be used to ensure that the gender differences to be addressed by breeding are representative of social target groups. This should be followed by characterizing and prioritizing traits desired by different target groups. Trait values should be defined by measuring priority traits, determining whether they are heritable, and assessing the genetic, economic, and cultural trade-offs. Multi-season selection should be managed to identify the desired genotypes more precisely and to accelerate selection. For this, farmer-participatory breeding trials should be part of the process. During the workshop it was recognized that gender-responsive breeding programs depend on a collaborative approach to targeting, implementation, and monitoring that involves multi- or trans-disciplinary teams.