The Maize Improvement Program of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is one of the early adopters of the Enterprise Breeding System (EBS) within CGIAR space, having successfully launched the EBS tool in April 2022. The tool offers a cloud-based platform helping users track and manage breeding experiments and data, leading to significant improvements in breeding processes.
The main goal of EBS is to modernize the breeding programs in IITA and across CGIAR. The platform consolidates data from various users and offers management and analytical tools to facilitate data analysis and informed decision-making without the need for manual file exchanges.
The training took place at the institute’s headquarters in Ibadan from August 23 to 24, 2023. Twenty-one enthusiastic participants emerged with updated proficiencies in fundamental and advanced germplasm and seed record searches, experiment and list creation and management, data collection, uploading, and validation. Participants also gained insights into the efficient sharing of breeding data among team members through tools like EBS List Manager and Internal Seed Transfer.
Beyond the core training, participants delved into dashboard configuration and EBS’ Support Desk (ESD). These components enable them to maximize the key features and functionalities of this breeding data management system while providing channels to report any issues, technical challenges, or suggestions for improvement. This holistic approach aims to streamline work processes among maize programs within IITA, CIMMYT, and CGIAR-wide.
IITA Head of Breeding John Derera in his opening remarks said, “EBS is updated with more features to enable users to navigate the tool successfully, swiftly locate information, and instantly share it with their team. It is powered such that data collected from field, laboratory, farm, and other sources is updated directly so breeders can make quick and informed decisions.”
Derera reiterated that EBS is the chosen breeding data management and analytics system at CGIAR organization level and that all breeding programs will gradually adopt it.
IITA Data Manager for Breeding Simon Imoro said, “EBS is a powerful tool envisioned by CGIAR to be a one-stop shop for breeding data management. Today, we brought the teams together to operate within a shared network. We are eliminating the need for manual file exchanges, granting users, programs, and colleagues access to information updated in real-time.”
Reflecting on the benefits of the training, IITA Germplasm Assistant Jelili Adedoja reckoned that the training helped participants navigate through EBS seamlessly and that their workflow will be further enhanced through the upgrades in the system. He said, “I can now confidently search for a germplasm or package in the database. I can comfortably create lists and commit experiments with ease.”
In his closing remarks, Wende Mengesha, IITA Maize Breeder, expressed gratitude to the facilitators and participants for their dedication during the intensive 2-day training. He highlighted the invaluable hands-on exercises that allowed participants to practice and observe real-time results. Mengesha emphasized, “We can all proudly claim proficiency in utilizing EBS’s functionalities, including its new features. It is now essential that we continue incorporating the system into our daily breeding endeavors.”