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.
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.
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
- Asia (including south and east Asia) is home to 3.2 billion
people and agriculture is the mainstay of Asian
- 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
1. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines,
2. WorldFish Center, Malaysia, 1977 (originally established in
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,
- 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
- 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.