International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), working in collaboration with hundreds of partners across the developing world, is dedicated to developing technologies, innovative methods, and new knowledge that better enable farmers, mainly smallholders, to improve their crop production, incomes, and management of natural resources.
While aware of the many constraints to farming in the tropics, CIAT’s founders saw this vast region as a world of promise, where agriculture, with the aid of modern science, might contribute substantially to reducing hunger and poverty. Since no single organization can address the whole of tropical agriculture, CIAT complements the efforts of other members of CGIAR and numerous partners by focusing strategically on selected crops and research areas.
Within CGIAR, CIAT has global responsibility for the improvement of beans, cassava, and tropical forages – crops that have historically been neglected by research despite their vital importance for food and nutrition security. It also conducts research on rice and tropical fruits for Latin America and the Caribbean.
All of the Center’s work on agricultural biodiversity – encompassing diverse food groups – employs advanced biotechnology to discover useful knowledge and accelerate crop improvement. Progress in CIAT’s crop improvement research also depends on unique collections of genetic resources (65,000 crop samples in all) which it holds in trust for humanity.
CIAT conducts research on two major issues that cut across tropical crops and production niches:
(1) sustainable management of tropical soils, and (2) decisions and policies that are critical for coping with challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, gender inequities, and weak links between farmers and markets.
Center research in all of these areas (agrobiodiversity, soils, and policy) is carried out by about 200 scientists working in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in 28 countries Africa and 5 in Southeast Asia.
Guided by a vision of eco-efficiency, CIAT’s work amply demonstrates how economically and ecologically efficient use of resources can raise agricultural productivity to improve livelihoods while minimizing negative environmental impacts.
Reflecting farmers’ centuries-old concern with prudent resource use, the Center’s eco-efficiency approach is especially necessary now in the face of multiple crises centering on the global climate, environment, and economy. These pressures make it increasingly difficult for tropical agriculture to keep pace with the rising demand for its products without continued over-use of agrochemicals and unsustainable mining of natural resources. Reversing this trend requires revised policies and renewed investments, which make it attractive and feasible for farmers to adopt more eco-efficient crops and production systems.
Feature image: Uyole 03, an improved bean variety helping farmers improve their lives and empowering women Credit: Georgina Smith / CIAT
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News from International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Inspired by the past, empowered for the future: CIAT looks forward to its next 50 years15.04.18
Officially unveiled today, our annual report, “Building a Sustainable Food Future: CIAT in Review …Read more
More cassava for less time05.04.18
- Food Security
Cassava has a relatively long growth cycle compared to other important crops. It takes an…Read more
CGIAR researcher, Dr. Arango, a lead author for next IPCC Assessment Report20.03.18
Dr. Arango is a researcher for the Tropical Forrages Program at the International Center for…Read more
Publications from International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Evaluation of CRP Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)29.03.18
- Food Security
Evaluation of CRP on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry (FTA)29.03.18
- Food Security