CGIAR marks a major funding milestone
CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural research partnership, announced last week that its funding has doubled to 1 billion US dollars in the last 5 years. CIAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium, which is dedicated to strengthening food and nutrition security, reducing rural poverty, and improving the management of natural resources.
Following the food price crisis of 2007-2008, which created tremendous hardship for poor households in the developing world, food security has been restored to the prominent place it deserves on the global development agenda, as reflected in growing support for international agricultural research.
CIAT and the other 14 CGIAR centers have a strong record of delivering tangible benefits for the poor.
“Agricultural research is pretty much the best development investment you can make,” said Frank Rijsberman, CGIAR chief executive officer.
CIAT research on cassava, for example, has led to significant increases in production, largely through widespread adoption of improved varieties adoption of improved varieties but also due to improvements in crop husbandry and market linkages. Recent estimates suggest that CIAT’s improved varieties account for almost 90% of the cassava grown across the Greater Mekong sub-region, and average cassava yields have doubled since CIAT started working in the region. This research has created new opportunities for the rural poor to raise their incomes by responding to increased demand for cassava products.
Similarly, CIAT research on beans, known widely as the “meat of the poor,” has led to massive uptake of high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties through the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA). Improved beans, while strengthening food and nutrition security, are also helping smallholder farmers boost their incomes. In Ethiopia, for example, bean production more than tripled between 2004 and 2012, and the income of farmers adopting new varieties rose from US$120 per ton of beans to $650.
Increased funding is enabling CIAT to pursue other impact pathways as well. For example, an approach based on tropical forages and known as “LivestockPlus,” is being scaled up to achieve climate change mitigation, while also delivering important livelihood benefits and helping restore degraded lands.
This and other CIAT research is closely aligned with the CGIAR Research Programs, through which the centers are unifying their efforts to achieve greater development impact.
Continued investment in CGIAR’s work will be crucial for boosting food production sufficiently to feed a rapidly expanding global population, which is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050.
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