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Root, Tuber and Banana Food System Innovations

Value Creation for Inclusive Outcomes

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  • Open Access
  • © 2022

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  • This book is open access under a CC-BY 4.0 license
  • It covers a gap in the agricultural literature by addressing overlooked topics such as innovation in crops in developing countries, value creation chains and gender roles
  • Root, tubers and banana crops represent a main source of food, feedstuff and raw materials for many tropical countries industries
  • The book is the result of a major international collaboration between tropical countries, academic and industry partners focused on multiple crop systems

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About this book

This open access book describes recent innovations in food systems based on root, tuber and banana crops in developing countries. These innovations respond to many of the challenges facing these vital crops, linked to their vegetative seed and bulky and perishable produce. The innovations create value, food, jobs and new sources of income while improving the wellbeing and quality of life of their users. Women are often key players in the production, processing and marketing of roots, tubers and bananas, so successful innovation needs to consider gender. These crops and their value chains have long been neglected by research and development, hence this book contributes to filling in the gap. 

The book features many outcomes of the CGIAR Research Program in Roots, Tubers and Banana (RTB), which operated from 2012-21, encompassing many tropical countries, academic and industry partners, multiple crops, and major initiatives. It describes the successful innovation model developed by RTB that brings together diverse partners and organizations, to create value for the end users and to generate positive economic and social outcomes. RTB has accelerated the scaling of innovations to reach many end users cost effectively. Though most of the book’s examples and insights are from Africa, they can be applied worldwide. The book will be useful for decision makers designing policies to scale up agricultural solutions, for researchers and extension specialists seeking practical ideas, and for scholars of innovation.

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Table of contents (17 chapters)

  1. Overview, Institutional Change and Scaling

  2. Processing, Marketing and Distribution

  3. Enhancing Productivity

Editors and Affiliations

  • CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, led by the International Potato Center, Lima, Peru

    Graham Thiele, Michael Friedmann, Vivian Polar

  • International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru

    Hugo Campos

  • Agro-Insight, Cochabamba, Bolivia

    Jeffery W. Bentley

About the editors

Graham Thiele is director of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, led by the International Potato Center (CIP), bringing together multiple partners to improve food security and reduce rural poverty through research for development. He holds an MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of London and a PhD in Anthropology from Cambridge. He began his career at the UK’s Department for International Development (now the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) in 1984 working on market studies, farming systems, and research-extension liaison. He joined CIP in 1994, developing, and disseminating approaches for promoting innovation in value chains through public-private partnerships and contributing to participatory varietal selection and seed system development. In 2005, he became the leader of CIP’s Social Sciences Division, working on targeting, priority setting, and adoption studies of new agricultural technology and participatory methods. He has mentored and backstopped projects in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Benin, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Philippines, and Indonesia. He has authored over 70 peer-reviewed articles, two books, numerous book chapters and magazine pieces.

Michael Friedmann joined the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas in 2015, where he is the Senior Science Officer. He provides strategic scientific support to the program, linking research across disciplines from genomics and breeding to seed systems and post-harvest processing of root, tuber and banana products. He holds a PhD in Horticulture from Washington State University, and post-doctoral work in cancer research and immunology at the National Institutes of Health of the USA. He has over 30 years of experience in project management, science research and plant breeding, both in academia and private industry. Has published in numerous disciplines, from tomato breeding to human immunology with over 35 peer-reviewed articles. 

Hugo Campos PhD (John Innes Centre, UK), MBA (Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile), with over 20 years of professional experience in large corporations and in international development. He serves as Director of Research at the International Potato Center. Hands-on experience in the USA, Africa, Asia and Latin-America informs his extensive publication record, including four previous books: Principles of Plant Breeding 2nd Edition, cowritten with Jack Brown and Peter Caligari (Wiley-Blackwell), Genetic Improvement of Tropical Crops, coedited with Peter Caligari (Springer), The Potato Crop, coedited with Oscar Ortiz (Springer), and The Innovation Revolution in Agriculture - A Roadmap to Value Creation (Springer).

Vivian Polar is the Gender and Innovation Senior Specialist in the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, which she joined in 2017.  She provides strategic support to theprogram, advancing research on gender and social inclusion across technical topics.  She holds an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development from Tomás Frías University in Bolivia and a PhD in Social Sciences from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  She began her career working on plant breeding, seed systems and farmer participation, linking the private sector and national research institutions with farmer organizations. She has over 20 years of field experience working with farmers and indigenous peoples in developing countries on empowerment for agricultural innovation, adaptation to climate change and food security

Jeffery W Bentley is an agricultural anthropologist (Ph.D., University of Arizona). He has studied the changing farming practices of smallholders in Portugal. He worked for seven years at the Pan-American Agricultural University (El Zamorano) in Honduras, where he collaborated with scientists and familyfarmers on alternative pest control, and wrote a dictionary of campesino Spanish. He co-developed the plant clinic approach (with Eric Boa) at CABI and has consulted widely in Latin America, Africa and South Asia. His work with Agro-Insight includes writing scripts for farmer learning videos, and documenting how people respond creatively to watching the programs. At RTB, Bentley has studied cassava seed systems in Nigeria and has co-edited and written various publications on seed systems and innovations, including the last four annual stakeholder reports

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Root, Tuber and Banana Food System Innovations

  • Book Subtitle: Value Creation for Inclusive Outcomes

  • Editors: Graham Thiele, Michael Friedmann, Hugo Campos, Vivian Polar, Jeffery W. Bentley

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Biomedical and Life Sciences, Biomedical and Life Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-92021-0Published: 07 April 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-92024-1Published: 07 April 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-92022-7Published: 06 April 2022

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXXV, 561

  • Number of Illustrations: 3 b/w illustrations, 179 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Genetics and Genomics, Business and Management, general

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