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Africa RISING West Africa Virtual Exchange Seminar (WAVES)
5 May 2021
Virtual via Ms TEAMS
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Meeting video recording: https://cgiar-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/r/personal/j_odhong_cgiar_org/Documents/Recordings/Monthly%20Seminars%20-%20Africa%20RISING%20ESA%20Project-20210506_120317-Meeting%20Recording.mp4?csf=1&web=1&e=U5pD5h


  1. A. Ayantunde – ILRI
  2. A. Berdjour – IITA
  3. A. Folorunso – ICRISAT
  4. A.R. Nurudeen – IITA
  5. B. Boyubie – IITA
  6. B. Kotu – IITA
  7. B. Nebie – ICRISAT
  8. B. Traore – ICRISAT
  9. B. Zemadim – ICRISAT
  10. D. Agathe – ICRISAT
  11. F. Avornyo – CSIR-ARI
  12. F. Badolo – ICRISAT
  13. F. Dokurugu – IITA
  14. F. Gundula – IITA
  15. F. Kizito – IITA
  16. F. Muthoni – IITA
  17. I. H.Zeledon – IITA
  18. I. Mahama – IITA
  19. J. B. Tignegre – WorldVeg
  20. J. Nzungize – ICRISAT
  21. J. Odhong – IITA
  22. K. Jimah – IITA
  23. K. Sanogo – ICRISAT
  24. K. Traore – ICRISAT
  25. M. Diancounba – ICRISAT
  26. M. Magassa – ICRISAT
  27. M. Sidibe – ICRISAT
  28. O. Cofie – IWMI
  29. P. Zaato – WorldVeg
  30. R. Tabo – ICRISAT
  31. S. A. Adebayo – IITA
  32. S. Bedi – IITA
  33. T. Ansah – UDS
  34. T. Minh – IWMI
  35. W. O. Duah – IITA


  • Updates from partners
  • Presentation on ‘Bulb yield stability study of onions lines in Ghana and Mali’ by Jean Baptiste Tignegre

Updates / Introductory remarks

  • Zeledon – from the Africa RISING programmatic level, nothing much is happening recently, except for the PCT members who were busy with the drafting of the pre-concept notes for the new ONE CGIAR initiative. This was submitted on 16 April 2021. Ten days later, we got initial feedback from external reviewers which have been addressed and resubmitted. We were told that this week we would informed of the way forward. I have not yet heard anything from the CGIAR office. I was not unhappy about it because we are currently focusing on finalizing the Africa RISING’s 6 months report to USAID; I have been quite busy with it. I hope Fred can submit later today. We all know the process of this report – after my review it will be submitted to the steering committee for their comments and approval. When the steering committee’s comments are addressed, it will be submitted to the professional editor. Jonathan will then do the final formatting, and it will be submitted to USAID.
  • Kizito – Thank you Irmgard for the agreed insights. I’m sure many of us in this virtual meeting have also in one way or another been involved in different independent design teams around the ONE CGIAR. It’s a crazy dust, and I hope it will settle over time. We thank partners who were able to submit their reports on time. I would like to entreat you all on the aspects on the emphasis around what you promised on the SIAF. We had proposed during the drafting of our work plans that we would have:

- a tabular metrics that would show how data would be collected - the kind of metrics you would use to measure the indicators – before and after the indicators But some partners present their reports without necessarily filing in the data, yet, this is embedded in all our work plans. I kindly request that going forward, partners present their reports with the SIAF being taken care of. This is emphasized because it’s a tool that allows you to see the nature of the progress of your work in a more wholistic manner beyond just looking at only yield of productivity. It helps you to see how you are addressing other issues around gender, human nutrition, innovative capacities of farmers to experiment, etc. Let’s see this as positive. If there is any way we can support you in populating the tables based on the data, we have the capacity to do so. Let’s understand that it is something that’s really needed. It will appear awkward if there is inconsistency – some partners have it, and other do not. With regards to that, I’m tempted to debate if this should be included in the report. I hope this will be well noted. Does Birhanu have any addition to that?

  • Zemadim – I think your emphasis is on point. Hopefully, all partners will come to understand this; and we believe in their next reports the information will be included.
  • Kizito – We have been deliberating internally on the date for the Virtual Planning Meeting for West Africa. Thanks to Jonathan, we have a tentative agenda planned out. It will be shared with you during the week. You could have a look at it and submit your comments. The scheduled date is 26 – 27 May 2021. We kindly request that you flag the date in your calendars. We will share the agenda with you.

Presentation from Jean Baptiste Bulb yield stability study of onion lines over locations and years in Ghana and Mali

The presentation is on the results of trials implemented under Africa RISING project on onions. This is one of the 3 – 4 vegetables species being worked on as vegetable trials. Background Onion plays a key role as source of nutrients and income for people in sub-Saharan Africa but few high-yielding varieties are available to farmers. World top producers of onions are china, India, USA, Iran and Russia; world top exporters are Netherlands, India, Mexico, China, Egypt, USA, and Spain; and world top importers are USA, Germany, UK, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, etc. The production, growing areas and yield of onions vary according to countries and how intensive the production system is. The presentation reveals the onion mean yield (t/h) globally from 2005 – 2012. The mean yield of onion is very high above 40t/h for countries like China, Netherlands, Spain and USA; whereas yield is about 20t/h for countries like Mali, Senegal, Niger in West Africa. This shows that the difference is very high. The presentation also depicts imported and exported onions in metric tons in different countries from 2012 – 2016. It is to be noted that India is the top exporter of onions globally, followed by Netherlands and China. Looking at some West African countries such as Niger and Mali, the exportation of onion is very low as compared to the other countries. Importation of onion is even higher in Mali than the exportation.

Key challenges to onion production

Onion production faces constraints as indicated in the table below.


To identify adaptable onion genotype for a sustainable production in Africa RISING project intervention zones in northern Ghana and southern Mali.

Materials and Method

  • Sets of 8onion lines from the WorldVeg onion collection and one commercial check were evaluated during the cool and dry seasons from September to March for three years from 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • The trials with 3 replications were carried out on technology parks and on farm fields under the joint management of farmers and researchers.
  • The trial sites were Upper East and Northern regions of Ghana; and Sudan Savannah zones of Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala).
  • Plot dimensions were 2m x 2m with planting densities of 20cm and 15cm between and within roles respectively.
  • Onion bulb weight was recorded for each plot after harvest
  • Separate analysis of variances was performed for each location and season in a complete randomize design.
  • Combined analysis of variances (sites x year x genotypes) was made to determine the most stable varieties using the following stability analysis models:

- AMMI bi-plot - GGE bi-plot - Line superiority (Lin and Binns, 1988); and - Eco valence stability coefficient (Wricke, 1962)

Results and Discussion


The presentation shows the G AND E interaction (AMMI) for yield performance t/h-1of onion varieties over years and locations in Ghana and Mali – 2018-2020. Onion genotypes AVON 1073 and AVON 1074 were old onion lines in Mali in 2012. They are the most performing varieties at the moment. The Check variety is included; it was commercialized in Ghana and Mali. The combined analysis for variance show that whether by location or variety, the interaction was very significant. From the general Mean, it is clear that the top three varieties were the most eaten onion varieties with yield more that 30t/h and highly above the average yield of 25.6 t/h. We identified three varieties that were over yielded the old varieties in Mali, but were the varieties used in the ECOWAS countries in 2012.


The first model used was the AMMI bi-plot analysis for onion yield. The outcome of this analysis showed that the most stable lines from the model were the AVON 1325, AVON 1323 and AVON 1317. Only AVON 1325 with yield 13.68 t/h had above average yield (25.61 t/h). The second model was the GGE: Genotype + G x E interaction (GGE) bi-plot. This analysis shows two mega environments. The Mega Environment 1 has 2 environments in Koutiala, Mali. The Mega Environment 2 on the other hand has six environments in Ghana and Bougouni, Mali. These environments in Ghana and Bougouni, Mali, are quite similar and homogeneous. Genotype AVON 1308, is the highest yielding and was the best performing variety across locations and years in the Mega Environment 1 including Ghana and Bougouni; while AVON 1310 was stable in Ghana specifically. AVON 1314 was the winning variety in the Mega Environment 2, in Koutiala over two years.

WRICKE’S ECOVALENCE STABILITY COEFFICIENT TEST The ecovalence stability test shows that the wricke ecovalence stability, the higher the stability of the lines. Based on this statement, four genotypes including Check and AVON 1317 were the most stable varieties because they have the smallest stability coefficient. Two genotypes, AVON 1310 and AVON 1325 were best because they were above average yield (25.61 t/h).

LIN AND BINNS SUPERIORITY MEASURE OF GENOTYPE PERFORMANCE Using this model, the analysis shows some coefficient - the smaller the coefficient, the higher the stability of the lines. According this this model, we have three varieties: AVON 1310, AVON 1308 and AVON1325 which were the most stable varieties. These genotypes also produced bulb yield, higher than the average mean. This was quite interesting in terms of selection for stability.

SUMMARY OF STABLE GENOTYPES RESULTED FROM STABILITY ANALYSIS MODELS The Mega Environment 2 comprises of only one site: Koutiala. The environments in Ghana and Bougouni are homogeneous. Across the different models used to evaluate the stability, we evaluated the frequency of the lines. AVON 1325, having a frequency of 2, meant that two models validated the stability of this line. In Koutiala, AVON 1308 had a frequency of 2. In the Mega Environment that included Ghana and Bougouni, AVON 1320 had a frequency of 3; and AVON 1308 with a frequency of 2. The rest of the lines all had frequency of 1.

Conclusion and Recommendations

From this study, we can conclude that in Mega Environment 1 (Ghana –NR, UER and Mali – Bougouni), AVON 1308, AVON 1310 were the most stable genotypes. In Mega Environment 2 (Koutiala), AVON 1308 and AVON 1325 were the most stable above average yield. Across all the environments, AVON 1308 was the most stable genotype. This variety is therefore recommended for recommended Ghana and Mali regardless of the environment involved. These genotypes with above average yield also out yielded the old lines which were AVON 1074 and AVON 1073 in Mali. They can be recommended for sustainable production.

We would like to show you through this presentation, some bulbs of some of the lines that can be recommended for production in Ghana and Mali. AVON 1308 has a light red bulb colour. This colour is preferred by farmers across the two countries. AVON 1310 had a very good production in Ghana. In some places like Nyangua in Ghana, we had 40 t/h – 50 t/h. AVON 1323 and AVON 1324 are also recommended.

We would like to acknowledge Africa RISING, MoFA in Ghana, AMEDD in Mali, FENABE and our partners, including ICRISAT in Mali that facilitated our work in the field; and funded our project.


  • Kizito – Have you specifically carried out a study on consumer preferences, market preferences analysis for these varieties in Ghana and Mali?
  • Tignegre – We have not done market analysis nor consumer preferences but we have implemented farmers’ participatory variety selection. Among the criteria used, we have the palatability test. This means we have to test the variety to see the:

- colour of the skin - bulb size - pungency – how hot the taste of onion is. We could do a quick interview with farmers who implemented test. The outcome of the variety selection was that, red-coloured to light red-coloured skin is of great preference for farmers. We would like you to understand why red-coloured onion is preferred by farmers. Farmers are being used to red colour and do not accept white or yellow-coloured skin onions. It is more of their habit – there is no specific reason related to that. However, farmers again informed us, and we also know that generally, red-coloured varieties have longer shelf life than white-coloured onions. Therefore, there is some correlation between the colour and the shelf life of onions. For the pungency, it was difficult for farmers to distinguish which variety was more pungent than the other. Another important information we got was that, there is a potential in Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana for onion production. We could see how easier it was for farmers to succeed in onion production than other vegetables. Maybe in relation to that, there are less disease; and the nature of the soil. Sandy to loamy seems to be suitable for onion production. There is a current ongoing study in Mali on onion and vegetable cowpea. At the end of this survey implemented by Dr. Gundula Fischer together with our team in Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala), we will be able to provide more insight on the criteria upon which farmers select various varieties. The study ended 30 April 2021. Data will be processed and the results will be included in the next report.

  • Kizito – do you intend to publish this work, or you are waiting on further analysis from the additional gender component?
  • Tignegre – We can have two separate publications. I have taken those data for the publication being drafted.
  • Birhanu – It was good that you made this presentation. It is one of the outputs of onion vegetables. This is the report of activities you have been doing for the past three years. Part of my question was answered by you when you said you did not do the economic analysis. I was thinking of getting some information on economic analysis of this vegetable production. This is because normally when you present data for different countries, it could be quite restrictive and misleading. Most of the things that are in the output happen not to be the same, either for Mali, Ghana or other developed countries like India, Egypt. It is the input that matters – the value you put on agricultural production matters than to have a big yield or output. In our case, Ghana and Mali’s input to agricultural production is very limited. Direct use of fertilizer as well as labour is very limited; the land size is very small. I would like to say that you can include that in your papers; it will enhance it if you consider the aspects of production labour input, the economic analysis, its benefit, etc.
  • It is equally important to find out whether these farmers are producing these vegetables such as onions for home consumption or for marketing. Where is the threshold? What amount is the threshold limit for farmers at the household level make available the produce to the market? From that, you can have analysis for the output on markets. Do you have that information? How many farmers or by what percentage are farmers producing these onions for market value?
  • It is good that you have these high yielding varieties, and you are recommending them for ECOWAS catalogue. It is good that you have done the G x E Analysis. Practically, what are your strategies for scaling these high yielding and dominant varieties for further use by farmers?

  • Zeledon – Thank you Jean-Baptiste for listing me as part of the authors of this study. I am honoured but I think this is not justified. I do not think I have contributed anything to this study so I should not take credit. I prefer my name be removed from the list of authors who published this study.
  • Are the key challenges mentioned for onion production specific to Ghana and Mali or worldwide production?

  • Tignegre – Thank you Dr. Birhanu for the remark. Concerning the percentage for consumption and market, we realized that because some vegetable crops are more market oriented than others. Among such crops are onions and peppers. In northern Ghana, we observe that because these crops are high value speculation crops. Generally male farmers are growing these varieties in large areas for income. Depending on whether women or men are involved in the production, I think for the women, more percentage will be used for consumption; a little will be sold for income for the household. For some of the vegetables crops like African eggplant, the percentage of consumption is high as compared to pepper and onion. The trend is almost the same in Mali. Pepper is mostly produced by men because they perceive pepper production as well as onion production as a way to make income. They can sell to coastal countries where these crops have high value. The percentage for market or consumption will depend on the crop species involved. Secondly, we have a scaling strategy. Currently, the varieties mentioned earlier are involved in homologation trials. Once varieties with high yield are identified, you still have to undergo homologation trials for registration. Not later than two ago, we were visited by a committee in charge of variety homologation of Mali, who inspected our trials. The objective was to homologate these varieties so that they can be registered in Mali catalogue. Once a variety is registered in one ECOWAS country, it can be used by other ECOWAS member countries since there is a uniform law for all countries under ECOWAS. There is a scaling strategy – once a variety is certified and homologated, we share them and produce a lot of basic and certified seeds so that they can be used by farmers, seed companies, etc. The project contributed a lot to get these varieties to this far.
  • Thank you Irmgard for the suggestion you made about the authors. Concerning the specific key challenges, I mentioned some challenges that are common to both countries. I agree with you that some of the challenges I did not discuss may be specific to the countries. In Mali for instance, the trend is that people mostly export the variety out of the country. In Ghana, there is high demand, and most of the farmers’ production is sold in local markets, not exported. This could be verified when travelling by road in Ghana; one could see Lorries full of onions and tomatoes from Niger, Burkina Faso, etc to Ghana, Togo. There are some specific challenges like the Abiotic stresses. Some diseases are more specific, as Dr. Wubeto showed this evidence when sampling onion varieties in Ghana and Mali.

  • Sugri – Thank you for the nice presentation. I would like to know whether the variety is good for only dry season irrigation or it can be used for both dry irrigation and wet season or the raining season. The variety you recommended looks very similar to the variety in Ghana, called the Bawku red. I wonder if you came across it in your trial, and I wanted to check if you used that as your standard check in Ghana. It has been used several years in Ghana and it is the most stable, high yielding and disease resistant. The physical characteristics of the one in your presentation look like the Bawku red. I do not know if you have an idea. The last two has to do with the eventual release of the varieties. I was looking at how you were collaborating with the Africa RISING project and CSIR or MoFA to eventually get the varieties released for farmers to utilize. At the beginning of this project, we did a lot on okro but we eventually did not release those varieties. Therefore, I think this is an opportunity for Dr. Kizito and Dr. Irmgard to consider how we can at least lines in the name of Africa RISING.

  • Tignegre – the recommended varieties are not suitable for wet seasons. We have other types of varieties which are still being evaluated at early selection stages. Those varieties are mainly designed for dry season condition. We synthesized our work – we did a lot of trials in Ghana. In some of the trials we made, we involved Local Check but we also realized that farmers had one commercial line they were using that seemed to be high performing. According to our strategy, we do not have to use a Local Check if we have a commercial line that is high performing. We want our varieties to perform better than the most available varieties be it local, old introduced variety, improved variety or commercial line. That is the reason why we considered the commercial line used by farmers in the area.
  • Concerning the release of varieties to farmers, we are still in the process, even in Mali. Since four years, we have been faced with a lot of issues. To get varieties, we need to go through a long process. First is the variety homologation. Then one needs to struggle to secure funds to produce pre-basic and basic seeds. Nevertheless, in Ghana, on three occasions, we conveyed input dealers, mainly those involved in selling seeds from the Upper East and Northern regions. We also had a discussion with the seed companies in Accra, with the aim of getting those varieties registered; and easily disseminated to farmers. Seed companies have better strategies to distribute seeds to farmers. However, I accept that this is a weak point that needs to be addressed with MoFA’s support. I would like to point out that for the last three years, MoFA has been highly involved in our activities. MoFA even allocated one extension agent who was following up on the trials in Nyangua, Tekuru and other Africa RISING sites where the activities were implemented.

  • Kizito – Thank you Jean Baptiste for the responses. Sugri’s point has been well noted. Beyond MoFA, let us see how we can engage CSIR, Crop Research Institute. They have been involved in quite a lot of varieties on cowpea, sorghum in different areas. They have much experience concerning this and could share. Jean Baptiste could liaise with Dr. Sugri, Dr. Saaka Buah further on this topic. We will also engage the private entities that you were alluding to. It will be a team effort of exchange of ideas on how best we can draw a road map for the release of some of these varieties.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, we really appreciate your consistent participation in these meetings. I have notice most of the time we have an average attendance of about twenty-five. This is pretty good. It is really nice to exchange ideas as partners and to improve the quality of science we are doing such that it becomes robust, scientific and defensible. The next meeting will be held on 2 June; and Francis Muthoni will make a presentation. We are contemplating having two presentations in a seminar because we have many people who have expressed interest in presenting their works that are about to be published. Thank you so much; I wish you a great day and all the best for the month.

Bulb yield stability of onion lines in Ghana and Mali - Jean Baptiste Tignegre, WorldVeg Center

  • Download presentation from link in the title above.