Fruit and Vegetables for Sustainable Healthy Diets (FRESH)

Project summary

Fruit and Vegetables for Sustainable Healthy Diets (FRESH) is an initiative of the One CGIAR that uses an end-to-end approach to address fruit and vegetable demand, food environments and supply issues simultaneously and in a coordinated fashion. The initiative involves research on consumer behavior, food environments, markets, production systems, and genetic diversity and improvement. FRESH is a partnership between the One CGIAR and World Vegetable Center, also involving several other international and local partners including Benin, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Philippines. Over the first three-year period, FRESH, the project aims at (i) understanding and influencing consumer behaviour; (ii) exploring vegetable biodiversity, genetic innovation and seed systems; (iii) working to expand safe and sustainable production; (iv) supporting postharvest efforts and ensuring inclusive markets to reduce postharvest losses, improve food safety and empower women and youth in fruit and vegetable value chains in low- and middle-income countries; and (v) developing and influencing food environments to improve consumer access to and affordability of diverse and safe fruits and vegetables.

Under this initiative, the Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS) through the contract “Maconomy Nr: 10000450, WorldVeg Contract Nr: SC-450-05” was tasked to collect genetic resources of six traditional African vegetables in Benin for conservation and further use in breeding programs.

GBioS contract objectives

The objective of the collection of traditional African vegetables in Benin was to ensure the availability of germplasm for use in the World vegetable center breeding program. Specifically, GBioS intended:

* collect 300 accessions for each of the six target crops namely Corchorus olitorius, Abelmoschus esculentus, Vernonia amygdalyna, Lycopersicon esculentum, Ocimum gratissimum, capsicum sp: and

* conserve and share with World Vegetable the collected accessions.

Activities implemented

Under the contract, GBioS conducted the following activities:

  1. training of collectors.
  2. accessions collection through two the organization of two collecting missions; and
  3. accessions processing and conservation.

Contract duration

These activities were conducted over a three-months period expanded from September 2022- November 2022.

Intervention areas

The germplasm collection activities took place in 61 out the 77 municipalities of Benin. These included 35, 11 and 15 municipalities from the Guineo-Congolian, Sudano-guinean and Sudanian regions of Benin, respectively.


A total of 2,465 accessions were collected including 667 of Capsicum spp, 445 of Lycopersicon esculentum, 436 of A. esculentus, 429 of Ocimum gratissimum, 374 of Corchorus olitorius and 114 of Vernonia amygdalyna.

Project partner

World Vegetable Center and the Benin ministry of Environment.

Project contact person

Prof Enoch G. Achigan-Dako, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin,

Dr Dèdéou Tchokponhoué, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin

 Dr Carlos Houdegbe, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin

Mr Lys Aglinglo, World Vegetable Center.

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