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Research For Development

Plant Breeding and Germplasm: Brian Diers and Randy Nelson, University of Illinois
• Build and strengthen the institutions, organizations, and firms engaged in plant breeding, germplasm management, and seed production
• Increase the soybean breeding capacity and performance of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and National Agricultural Research Stations (NARS)
• Improve performance of IITA and nationally released soybean varieties
• Introduce elite germplasm from Brazil and the United States
• Develop new, high-yielding and disease-resistant soybean varieties
• Develop low-phosphorous soybean varieties
• Conduct Africa’s first pan-African variety trial program to identify high performing commercial varieties
Grain and Seed Quality: Kristin Bilyeu and Kerry Clark, University of Missouri
• Identify and promote improved seed management practices under tropical environments
• Develop locally produced low cost threshing and planting mechanization technologies for smallholder farmers
• Establish small scale mechanization design and manufacturing networks of entrepreneurs
• Evaluate the adoption decisions of mechanization, improved storage and seed management      technologies by smallholders.
• Develop a new, low-processing soybean variety for household consumption
• Solve adaption questions for better introgression of yield/stress traits into Sub-Saharan Africa lines.
• Design “soybean success kits” and extension materials to make soybean accessible and profitable for smallholder farmers in Africa
Production and Agronomy: Dan Reynolds and George Awuni, Mississippi State University
• Establish and operate the region’s first soybean production, agronomic, and varietal testing research station (SMART Farm, Soybean Management and Appropriate Research and Technology)
• Provide industry formal and proven guidance on best agronomic and production practices for higher soybean yields
• Provide Soybean Innovation Lab clients with technical guidance on soil correction, inoculation, varietal selection, germination, fertilization, pest management, seed and grain storage
• Establish public-private partnerships for trialing of commercial technologies for smallholder yield improvement
Plant Breeder Education: Rita Mumm, University of Illinois
• Build and strengthen the institutions and organizations engaged in plant breeder education and training
• Establish public-private partnerships to support the development of talent to support the growing African seed system
• Establish an outstanding Master’s Degree Program in Genetics and Plant Breeding to develop the next generation of qualified African plant breeders
• Develop a Master’s student internship in the United States, facilitating student interface with the seed industry and exposure to private sector pipelines for cultivar improvement
Utilization for Human Nutrition: Juan Andrade, University of Illinois
• Increase soy utilization and integration in household diets through small scale processing technologies, at-home training, and local recipe development
• Establish community micro-enterprises and support food entrepreneurs through the introduction of soy food production technologies
• Provide entrepreneurs training on equipment use, business and marketing skills, and product development
• Establish business and benchmarking networks of soy dairy entrepreneurs
• Address barriers to soy utilization at the household level through the provision of technical knowledge, processing innovation and nutrition education
• Develop complementary foods to improve the nutritional quality of weaning foods, school lunches, and commercial baked food products
Utilization for Livestock Nutrition: Mike Lacy, University of Georgia
• Promote soy-based feed formulation for improved poultry and aquaculture nutrition
• Establish Poultry Nutrition Centers, involving small scale soybean extruders and maize mills that source local grains for feed production
Gender Impacts: Kathleen Ragsdale and Mary Read Wahidi, Mississippi State University
• Investigate the role of women’s empowerment in commercial crop production systems like soybean using the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI)
• Identify constraints for women integrating soybean into their cropping mix, household diet, and income generation.
• Measure and provide guidance on gender equity performance for SIL and its partners
Economic Impacts: Jill Findeis, University of Missouri
• Conduct longitudinal and multilevel assessments to define the socio-economic drivers for soybean adoption and sustainability among small and medium holders
• Understand the role of labor constraints on yield performance and commercial crop adoption
• Determine the influence of input availability and value chain linkages on soy production
• Test the importance of credit availability and savings on commercial crop adoption
• Measure the economic impact of soybean production and processing on local communities.
Environmental Impacts: Jeremy Guest, University of Illinois
• Measure the environmental impact of agricultural intensification with soybean production
• Identify environmental management and mitigation practices for soybean production
Seed Systems:  Dennis Thompson, University of Illinois
• Provide direct technical support and capacity building to public and private sector seed companies and their technical staff
• Introduce appropriate technologies to store seed, improve germination rates, test seed quality, and augment seed supplies
• Conduct seed supply chain audits to identify failures and design remediation steps
• Provide local private and public sector seed managers with access to, and programmatic interaction with, a network of seed manager mentors