Photo Credit: C.Zanzanaini/Bioversity International

Following its official launch in 2012, the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) embarked on a strategic assessment of research priorities for five of its major crops (banana, cassava, potato, sweet potato, and yams). The objective of this exercise was to determine the expected impact each research options would generate in terms of economic benefits, poverty reduction, food security, nutrition and health, gender equity, and environmental sustainability.

This website introduces you to the methods and results of the strategic assessment of banana research priorities and provides a knowledge toolkit that will guide you step-by-step through the different stages of the assessment process.

The following four questions will give you an overview about our research before digging into the knowledge toolkit.




Bananas and plantains are grown in more than 130 countries across the tropics and subtropics and are the developing world’s fourth most important crop after rice, wheat and maize. Yet, world banana and plantain production is strongly threatened by deadly viruses, bacterial infections or fungi, among others, that can wipe out large shares of banana production areas. Research can help counter these threats, but resources are limited and therefore need to be invested strategically to maximize benefits and development impacts.


As part of a multi-crop priority assessment exercise coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, the impact of different research investments for bananas and plantains, such as cropping system intensification or breeding for pest and disease resistant bananas, has been estimated to provide a basis for the strategy development of RTB research.


To elicit the key constraints small-scale banana producers face, we conducted a comprehensive global online survey with more than 500 respondents from 54 countries and an expert workshop with 34 banana scientists. The calculation of expected economic benefits and poverty reduction effects of the identified key research investments involved economic modelling with an Economic Surplus Model and subsequent Cost-Benefit Analysis at its core. 


The results are very encouraging and show that research benefits can run into billions of dollars, up to 31 million people can benefit and more than 3 million people can be lifted out of poverty.