Cassava Breeding - Alliance Bioversity International - CIAT

Cassava Breeding Workshop on new concepts and best practices, and hands-on training on breeding tools.



©2022 CIAT/Juan Pablo Marin Garcia

To improve the livelihoods of cassava-growing smallholder farmers and their communities, the Alliance Cassava Program co-develops innovative solutions for specific regions, farming systems, and markets that boost farm productivity, enhance consumer benefits, and drive sustainability throughout the value chain. How? Explore below.

The Importance of Cassava Research

Cassava is a vital crop for food security and income generation in many developing tropical countries. It can grow in poor and acidic soils, and can be stored in the ground for long periods.

Cassava is not only a source of carbohydrates, but also of minerals and micronutrients. Some varieties have high vitamin A content, and the leaves are edible and rich in protein.

Cassava is also processed into various products for local and global markets. These products can help address the challenges of malnutrition, such as undernutrition, overnutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies, especially in Africa.

History of Cassava Research at the Alliance

Coordinated research efforts to improve cassava genetics and cropping practices began in the 1970s with initiatives at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) - now part of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT - and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).


Our Research Approach

The integrated research team works across multiple scales addressing emerging challenges and capitalizing on new opportunities across the cassava value chains.  

The program has dedicated in-country staff and a network of partners to ensure the co-design of improved genetic products, production and marketing systems, and tools to meet the demands of today and the challenges of tomorrow. 


Where We Work

The Cassava Program is headquartered in Cali, Colombia for Latin America, and the Asia hub is located in Vientiane, Lao PDR, with staff located in Vietnam and Cambodia. The program works with partners to develop products and innovations targeting Latin America, Asia and Africa. 

Thematic Research Areas

1. Enhancement of Genetic Resources

Improved varieties (breeding and pre-breeding)

This first research area targets production and economic issues with potential genetic solutions, aiming to increase productivity, sustainability and utilization of cassava in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Southeast Asia (SEA).

2. Agronomy and Soil Management

Optimized fertility solutions

The objective of the second research area is to achieve sustainable cassava production through land-use practices that are highly productive, sustainable, economically viable, and environmentally safe.

3. Crop Protection

A Strategic pre-emptive response to pests and pathogens

The main objective of the third research area is to contribute to the development of pest and disease management approaches that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and that will help protect and enhance human health in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Southeast Asia (SEA).

4. Seed Systems and Harvesting

Increased access to clean seed material

The main objective of the fourth research area is it to develop technologies and strategies that contribute to the implementation of commercially sustainable cassava seed value chains for this vegetatively propagated crop while encouraging smallholder farmers to adopt these highly productive and improved varieties using healthy seed material. 

5. Post-harvest and Enhanced Nutrition

Better nutrition and income

The key objective of the fifth research area is to create cassava-derived products with desired end-user traits by operating as an interface between breeding and users while fulfilling the expectations of users and processors regarding variety composition and suitability.

6: Value Chain, Markets and Policy

Unlocking new market growth (in conjunction with research areas 1-5)

This sixth research area brings cross-cutting support to the Cassava Program, guiding it in fulfilling its mission by helping to set research priorities to better assess different stakeholder and end-user demands and needs.

Partnership and Outreach

The Cassava Program works with many partners at different levels to improve cassava productivity globally by addressing primary needs such as better cassava varieties, access to clean planting materials, monitoring and surveillance of pests and diseases, improved farming and postharvest practices, and the development of sustainable cassava value chains to unlock new cassava market growth. 


Videos and Podcasts

The Cassava Program and its actions towards improving the livelihoods of farmers globally.

How does Cassava Witches' Broom Disease affect farmers? Watch and learn.

A simple way to cultivate and manage cassava while preventing soil erosion on sloping land.

Our high-starch cassava varieties and Clayuca's small-scale processing plant come together to produce eco-efficient fuel for a variety of purposes.

Why cassava holds high value for farmers in Cambodia

Experts agree that a coordinated, region-wide response is required to respond to the Cassava Mosaic Disease(CMD) breakout in South East Asia.

Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT · Hernán Ceballos: Reflections on two decades of cassava breakthroughs

More tools


Using this toolbox, we aim to get detailed information to use the tools to understand particular root, tuber, and banana seed systems, so we can design, conduct, monitor and evaluate seed system projects. 


Meet The Team

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