Arrivederci – Ann Tutwiler's Farewell Blog

As Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International prepares to step down, she reflects on the last six years and the shifts in international discourse around agrobiodiversity in her last blog for ‘DG Dialogues’. 

I started ‘DG Dialogues‘ during my first weeks as Director General back in 2013, inspired by a field trip to our research sites in India. Bihar was suffering from severe drought. The longed-for monsoon rains were late and the crops in the fields were desiccated. Together with our scientists and local partners, I met the farmers – the ‘citizen scientists’ we work with to find wheat and rice seeds to help them adapt to the changing climate. Because together we were able to find drought- and heat-tolerant varieties, the fields that are part of our research programme were in much better shape than the surrounding ones.

I returned from that trip truly inspired and ready for action. I had seen firsthand the innovative approaches used by our scientists – in this case citizen science where farmers are active participants in the research – and how agrobiodiversity is delivering results on the ground to the people who need it most. Since then I have spent much of my time on the international stage, educating policymakers, corporate leaders and funders about the importance of agrobiodiversity to nourish people and sustain the planet, as well as returning to the field as often as I could.