A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

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CGIAR: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Nourishing the Future through Scientific Excellence
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Pesticide use cut: Misuse and overuse of insecticide sprays by Asian rice farmers is dangerous to human health and damaging to the environment. IRRI researchers, in partnership with the Vietnamese Department of Plant Protection and Leyte State University, have launched an innovative public information campaign in the Mekong River Delta that is reaching some 92 percent of the delta's 2.3 million farm households. Insecticide use has decreased by 72 percent. Paddy output in the delta increased to 14 million tons (up from 11 million tons). The campaign is being extended to one million rice farmers in the Red River Delta. The campaign won Scotland's St. Andrew's Environmental Prize. (www.irri.org)

Aquaculture boosts farm incomes: Integrated aquaculture/agriculture (IAA) techniques developed by WorldFish Center and partners are boosting farm incomes and productivity. Farms using IAA techniques produce 1.3 to 1.6 tons of fish per hectare, compared to less than 900 kg/ha commonly achieved. On average, the integrated pond/vegetable garden of IAA farms generate 72 percent of household income and are essential for food and nutrition security among poor farming communities in Asia. (www.worldfishcenter.org)

China's newest food crop: ICRISAT researchers have successfully introduced pigeonpea in Guangxi province, China. Pigeonpea is a hardy, drought-tolerant food legume high in protein and B vitamins and offers the added benefit of fixing nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences is working to promote pigeonpea cultivation in three more provinces characterized by harsh, dryland farming conditions. This research effort received China's Love Ball and Friendship Awards. (www.icrisat.org)


Halting malaria at its source: Research by IWMI and partners is addressing public health aspects of water use in agriculture. The CGIAR Systemwide Initiative on Malaria and Agriculture (SIMA) is developing improved water management practices for better mosquito control. Traditionally, malaria prevention efforts have relied on pesticides or pharmaceutical drugs. As mosquitoes develop resistance to pesticides and as drugs lose their effectiveness against the malarial parasite, SIMA is working to develop improved water management practices that curb malaria at its source: stagnant pools of water common in irrigated agriculture. (www.cgiar.org/iwmi/sima)


Forest policy for ecosystem health: CIFOR researchers are developing guidelines for improved timber production that minimizes harm to forest ecosystems by using site-sensitive harvesting techniques. These guidelines have reduced impacts of heavy machinery on forest soils (e.g. soil compaction) by 25 percent, and increased carbon sequestration in the remaining vegetation by 50 percent. (www.cifor.org)


Background Information

  • Asia (including south and east Asia) is home to 3.2 billion people and agriculture is the mainstay of Asian economies.
  • Majority of Asia's poor people depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods.
  • India alone accounts for one-third of the world's poor - agricultural growth is needed for reducing hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation in Asia.
  • CGIAR's development partnership with Asia spans four decades; all CGIAR Centers work in Asia.
  • Asia is home to five CGIAR-supported international agricultural research centers:

    1. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, established 1960;
    2. WorldFish Center, Malaysia, 1977 (originally established in Manila);
    3. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India, established 1972;
    4. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia, established 1992; and
    5. International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Sri Lanka, established 1992.

  • Asia was the crucible of the "Green Revolution" of the 1960s and 1970s; the new CGIAR-bred varieties of corn, rice, and wheat transformed agricultural production in Asia's tropics, doubling per capita food availability, boosting rural incomes, improving health and nutrition, and conserving the environment.
  • Two decades ago, China and India were net cereal importers - they now satisfy their own demand for cereals:

- China: Eleven of the 15 CGIAR Centers have formal links with China and five Centers operate offices in Beijing; China has bred more than 252 crop varieties that contain genetic material from CGIAR and more than 3,400 Chinese scientists and technical staff have been trained at CGIAR Centers.
- India: in addition to hosting ICRISAT, 7 of the 15 CGIAR-supported Centers have offices on the campus of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi.

  • CGIAR's research-for-development partnerships in Asia are expanding. in addition to hosting WorldFish Center, Malaysia formally joined the alliance in October 2002.