MaRCCI’s Competency based training of students

From its inception in 2008, the Regional Graduate Programs in Plant Breeding (and MaRCCI arising from them) have focused on producing graduates with the technical and soft-skills to be able to effectively use modern tools to develop and organize dissemination of varieties that are higher yielding, climate resilient, tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Competency based training

These varieties must meet the requirements and preferences of the entire value-chain, including seed producers, seed distributors, farmers, processors, marketers, and consumers.   These requirements inform the Product Profiles reflecting Demand-Led Variety Development, a concept that is purposely imparted to the students. The specific competencies emphasized were initially developed through wide-stakeholder involvement organized by RUFORUM, and further developed by expert consultations and through the AGRA-funded project

  (Improved MSc in Cultivar Development in Africa, IMCDA) and the Plant Breeding e-Learning in Africa (PBEA, coordinated by Iowa State University). The core competencies for PhD PBB (Plant Breeding and Biotechnology) and MSc PBSS (Plant Breeding and Seed Science) graduates are shown below.The PBB and PBSS programmes associated with MaRCCI have trained 70 PhD’s and 150 MSc’s from 20 SSA countries.  These students have conducted research on 22 food-security crops.  PBB and PBSS graduates take up positions in National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARI’s, International Agricultural Research Institutes (IARI’s, including CGIAR centers), seed companies, universities, NGO’s, and other organizations involved in crop improvement.