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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Working on Target Population of Environments (TPE) identification for Rice and Beans in Colombia and Brazil

The development of the agricultural sector in recent years has been marked by great challenges due to new conditions and permanent changes in the global climate regime, challenges which present an imminent risk to food security for the most vulnerable. It is crucial to cooperate and work together across multiple countries and institutions to seek strategies and appropriate response mechanisms against such eventualities.

One of the tools that in recent years has been strengthened to generate response mechanisms to the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector in the short, medium and long term is the use of crop simulation models. The ability of crop simulation models to simulate growth and yield of crop cultivars in different environments makes them an attractive tool for crop improvement. Potential breeding applications of these models include assisting multi-environment evaluation of crop breeding lines, understanding the nature of Genotype by Environment (G x E) interactions and identifying desirable traits that lead to plant-type design of a crop ideotype for a specific environment.


Collaborative project between CCAFS and EMBRAPA was launched in October 2012 (Target Population of Environments (TPE) identification for Rice and Beans)

In this context, under CCAFS Theme 1, “Building adaptive capacity and food systems that are more resilient to progressive climate change through the provision of technologies, practices and policies” and specific objective 2, “Develop breeding strategies for addressing abiotic and biotic stresses under future climate change, including changes in the mean and variability of climate”, and in partnership with EMBRAPA, a collaborative project was launched in October 2012. The two-year project (2012 – 2014) aims to calibrate and validate models for improved yield prediction and to develop an online tool for the identification of Target Population of Environments (TPEs), or a set of environments to which the improved crop varieties developed by breeding programs need to be adapted. The research attempts to support the implementation of TPEs globally for important crops, to understand their behavior under different environmental conditions and to contribute to decision making in breeding programs. It also aims to promote agricultural approaches with options to increase agricultural efficiency and flexibility in current conditions, and to inform farmers about short, medium and long term changes.

Project objectives:                                                              

Project Objetives

As part of the initial activities a small planning workshop, “Methodological development of an online tool for the identification of Target Population of Environments: Improving the predictions of agricultural production using models” was carried out in Santo Antonio de Goiás,Brazil (Dec 10-13). The core team included four researchers from CIAT (DAPA and Rice programs) and three researchers from EMBRAPA, who are working on rice and beans modeling.

The main outputs from this workshop and its activities were:

The evaluation of the results achieved so far

  • Organized operational databases of trial data for rice and beans, including some descriptive statistics for both yields and climate data.
  • DSSAT files of crop trials (rice and bean).
  • Protocol and script in R to estimate the effect of climatic variables on rice and bean crops and calculate parameters for the different crop varieties.

Establishment of the 2013 workplan

  • Carry out global review of the methodologies to identify TPEs and evaluate of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Conduct preliminary study on the identification of TPEs in Colombian and Brazilian production areas for rice and beans, and analyze the spatial dynamics under different climate conditions.
  • Define and characterize high, medium and low productivity environments for beans and rice in Brazil and Colombia.
  • Hold global meeting/workshop on TPEs Application.

The overall goal of the global workshop will be to provide knowledge on methodologies for the characterization of TPEs for breeding for the future, to build a global platform for crop TPEs and to identify how breeders and decision makers can take advantage of this platform.

The workshop will be an opportunity to structure a global research network focusing on crop TPE identification, with the aim of staying ahead of future change and providing plans and strategies to establish detailed adaptation pathways for crop systems at the national, regional and global level.

For more information on the Workshop (CIAT-EMBRAPA 2012) agenda, please check the following link: CIAT-EMBRAPA-Workshop-Expected-Deliverables










Alexandre Heinemann, EMBRAPA Arroz e Feijao-Brazil
Lucas Fernandes de Souza, PhD Student-University of São Paulo
Danillo Santana D’Afonseca, Systems engineer student – EMBRAPA Arroz e Feijao-Brasil                       Maria Camila Rebolledo, Rice program-CIAT
Camilo Barrios, Diana Giraldo and David Arango, Climate and crop modeling group, DAPA-CIAT

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