When IITA started soybean crop improvement research in 1974, the average yield in Africa was 660 kg/ha. Thirty years later, using IITA-developed varieties, the average yield in West African countries has increased by more than 50%, with a 67% in the whole of Africa, equivalent to 1.1 t/ha over 20 years of breeding effort.

IITA is also tackling diseases such as soybean rust that can cause up to 60% yield loss, and other crop issues, including pod shattering that reduces seed longevity. IITA researchers have developed combined rust-resistant and high-yielding varieties as well as varieties with low pod shattering and soil deficiency tolerance.