African plant breeding programs typically manage their seed, field operations, data collection and analysis without the benefit of modern digital technology. Discussions with African breeders have revealed that breeders are often not able to analyze the results of a given field season before they need to plant their next trials. This results in a great deal of inefficiency, which reduces the impact of the breeding programs. This proposal is based on the hypothesis that the use of bar-coding, label printers, hand-held field computers and relational databases could strongly improve the efficiency of African plant breeding programs. The project team will update their assessment of the hardware and software options that might best suit four CCRP-funded breeding programs in EAf: two for sorghum and two for finger millet. A graduate student from Kansas State University will work closely with the EAf breeders to assess various technology options in terms of efficiency, durability and error rates. The breeding context will include on-station research as well as participatory approaches. These efforts will synergize with our on-going Research Methods support for Data Flow and the Multi-Environment Trials Initiative. The input is in high demand from the project teams, who are familiar with the proposed project leader. The results of this pilot effort will be used to make an ex-ante impact assessment for the wider potential of the technology
To equip four breeding programs in East Africa with sufficient technology and training to be able to improve the efficiency of their research programsTo serve as a pilot study for assessing obstacles and limitation for OHPB and developing a low-cost technology package for data management in breeding programs.