CGIAR Gender News

Plant breeders could let women farmers guide them

An an improved bean variety helps women and men farmers in Tanzania improve their lives. Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT.

Plant breeders produce new varieties for their customers: farmers. To predict what kinds of new varieties are likely to offer significant benefits to farmers, breeders may turn to their customers to evaluate which characteristics might make a new variety more acceptable. A comprehensive review of many such evaluations suggests that if breeders were to pay more attention to what women need, it could increase the usefulness of new varieties in many ways.