CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform

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The CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) is accelerating the modernization of crop breeding programs that serve farmers in low- and middle-income countries. To combat hunger, poverty and climate change, farmers need diverse and continually improving crop varieties. EiB was an official CGIAR Platform from 2017-2022. It continues through support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through 2023, with staff and work  transitioning to new CGIAR Initiatives, particularly Breeding Resources and aspects of Accelerated Breeding and Market Intelligence.

EiB provides system-level coordination, shared services, expert guidance, resources, and access to cutting-edge innovations to support CGIAR breeding programs to deliver on six funder requests.

Over the last few decades, the genetic improvement of crops and livestock has improved productivity and nutrition, reduced the pressure on forests, and made farms more resistant to shocks such as disease, pests and drought. It is estimated that 30-60% of yield increases in farmers’ fields can be traced back to the work of geneticists.

Despite these advances, breeding programs targeting the developing world need to accelerate the rate of crop and livestock improvement in order to meet the 50-60 percent growth in demand for food expected over the 21st century with increasingly limited resources. Climate change alone will decrease crop productivity by 5 percent for every degree increase in global temperature.

There are many proven and emerging technologies from both the public and private sector that can help breeders meet this challenge. However, the pace of breeding program modernization in the developing world has been slow, with breeders lacking the resources and knowledge required to adopt new technologies. Meanwhile, too little information is shared between breeders working on different programs and commodities.

The CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform provides a space for information sharing, collaborative learning and access to tools and services for partners including CGIAR Research Centers, national research systems, advanced research centers and the private sector. By joining their efforts, breeding programs in the developing world can achieve the economies of scale that helped revolutionize the private sector, and greatly increase the rate at which crops are improved.

Where we work

The Excellence in Breeding Platform will modernize breeding programs targeting low and middle-income countries.

Impacts by 2022

The Excellence in Breeding Platform aims drive the modernization agenda, and provide advice, tested resources and best practices for any breeding targeting the developing world.

Through the communities of practice set up by the platform, a common set of standards and best practices to measure breeding program performance and impacts for farmers. A web platform shares knowledge, tools and  training between members and a broader community of breeders in the developing world. By working together, members can access services such as genotyping at reduced cost, while programs with smaller budgets will capitalize on research taking place in public and private sector programs with greater resources. Program targets include:

  • 20–30 percent increases to the breeding program output of members due to increased investment and return on investment
  • Phenotyping costs reduced by 25%
  • An online breeding toolbox accessed by 5,000-10,000 users
  • Software tools accessed by 1,000-2,000 users
Progress through 2020-21

Read the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Annual Report 2020-21

  • Michael Quinn, Platform Director (Australia/Mexico)
  • Adam Hunt, Communications lead, CIMMYT (Canada/Mexico)
CRP in numbers

CRP in numbers

  • 15 top-class Research Centers

    CGIAR’s global network of 15 Research Centers contributes to an unrivalled mix of knowledge, skills and research facilities able to respond to emerging development issues.

  • 3000+ partners

    Unequalled partnerships network of more than 3,000 partners from national governments, academic institutions, global policy bodies, private companies and NGOs.

Visit the Program website

Our Partners