The Peanut Innovation Lab management team met with External Advisory Panel members in a retreat last week to discuss priorities for the first projects funded by the program.
More than four dozen concept note proposals were submitted last month in two areas of inquiry: value-chain improvements and varietal improvements.
Over two days’ time, EAP members discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals, both individually and as part of an overall program.
The panel is made up of leaders in disciplines such as plant breeding, genetics and pathology; experts in food safety and nutrition; private sector industry partners; and economics and markets. Members of the panel include:
- Martha Byanyima, the lead expert for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Matters for the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA)
- Darlene Cowart, the corporate director for Food Safety with Birdsong Peanuts
- Cynthia Donovan, an associate professor of Agricultural Development at Michigan State University
- Jeffrey Ehlers, a geneticist and senior program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Andrew Emmott, a value-chain specialist and consultant who works with nuts in southern Africa
- Jeff Johnson, a retired executive with Birdsong Peanuts
- Isaac Joseph Minde, a Michigan State University professor based in Tanzania with the Agricultural Sector Policy and Institutional Reform Strengthening (ASPIRES) Project
- Shyam Nigam, an expert in plant breeding, seed systems, crop management, farmer-participatory research and development
- Helga Recke, a gender-in-agriculture researcher and visiting fellow with CALS-AWARE at Cornell University
- Farid Waliyar, an expert in international agricultural R&D and mycotoxins
With the feedback collected during the EAP retreat, the management entity is sending out requests for full project proposals to the selected concept note authors. Projects will be defined and selected this summer.
Later this year, the Peanut Innovation Lab plans to issue calls for proposals in two more areas of inquiry: nutrition, and gender and youth.