Taiwan Africa Vegetable Initiative (TAVI)

Project summary

The TAVI (Taiwan Africa Vegetable Initiative) project is an international initiative that brought together four African countries partners and the World Vegetable Center to conserve and use African vegetable biodiversity to address malnutrition by increasing the production and consumption of nutritious vegetables. The African partners of the TAVI project included the Republic of Benin (represented by the Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS) of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Abomey-Calavi), Eswatini, Madagascar and Tanzania. The project has three key objectives that were to: i) upgrade genebanks of Eswatini’s National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC) and the World Vegetable Center’s Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa in Tanzania.; ii) rescue genetic resources of traditional African vegetables by collecting at least 4,800 landraces and crop wild relatives from 25 species in Eswatini, Tanzania, Madagascar and Benin, which are “hotspots” of vegetable biodiversity in Africa and iii) improve nutritional content of Eswatini’s school meals as part of the National School Feeding Program (NSFP). Field-tested school and home garden interventions and links to champion farmers to supply schools with nutrient-dense African vegetables can bring more nutritious diets to students and families. The GBioS activities are anchored in the second key objective.

Project objective

Under the TAVI project, the GBioS Unit will rescue 1,200 accessions of 25 traditional African vegetable species and their wild relatives. Specifically, the project:

  • will collect1,200 accessions of traditional African Vegetable species and their will wild relatives;
  • regenerate and share with World Vegetable Center genebank in Arusha the collected accessions;  and
  • train MSc student on traditional vegetables documentation and strengthen the GBioS genebank staff’s capacity on genebanking operations.

Project activities

The TAVI project activities in Benin are five-fold:

  1. collection of germplasm of traditional vegetable species through collecting missions organization;
  2. regeneration and sharing of the collected accessions;
  3. training of MSc students on the collected accessions documentation through phenotypic characterization and genome-wide molecular characterization;
  4. participation of the genebank staff in various training sessions/workshops; and
  5. landscape genomic analysis for collected accessions.

Project duration and budget

TAVI is a three-years project co-funded by the Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The GBioS’ budget share in the project worth € 228,600.

Project intervention areas

The germplasm rescue activities are to be carried out at the national level and in all accessible areas.

Project achievements

Under the TAVI project:

*a total of four collecting missions covering 59 different districts out of the 77 in Benin were organized;

* a total of 9,477 accessions of 50 different species were collected;

*1430 collected were regenerated;

*2,963 accessions were already shared with World Veg Arusha;

*1758 collected were characterized phenotypically;

*Sequencing information are being generated for 1,500 collected accessions;

*a total of 11 students were sponsored for their MSc research;

*three students successfully defended their dissertation already, while the eight other are either at write-up stage or at the data collection stage, and

*the genebank staff attended two annual training workshops organized in Arusha; and

*landscape genomics analyses going on Amaranthus cruentus.

Project partners

World vegetable Center

Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)

Centre National de Recherche Appliquée au Développement Rural (CENRADERU-FOFIFA)

Eswatini’s National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC)

Project contact person

  • Prof Enoch G. Achigan-Dako, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin, e.adako@gmail.com
  • Dr Dèdéou Tchokponhoué, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin
  • Dr Sognigbe N’Danikou, World Vegetable Center, Arusha Tanzania.

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