CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform

The CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) is accelerating the modernization of crop breeding programs targeting the developing world. To combat hunger, poverty and climate change impacts, Global South farmers need a genetically diverse portfolio of continually improving crop varieties. Drawing from innovations in the public and private sectors, EiB helps breeding programs meet this challenge through systems level coordination, and holistic partnerships that include expert guidance, resources, shared service platforms, and access to cutting edge technologies and practices.

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 the developing world.

Impacts by 2022

The Excellence in Breeding Platform aims to become the one-stop place to go for advice, tested resources and best practices for any breeding targeting the developing world.

Depending on budget, the Platform will have from 10 to over 30 members by 2020, and a much wider base of users from the public and private sector.

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 will be created to evaluate new tools, share knowledge and access training between members and a broader community of breeders in the developing world. By working together, members will be able to 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.

  • 20–30 percent increases to the breeding program output of members due to increased investment and return on investment
  • An online breeding toolbox will be created for 5,000-10,000 users
  • Software tools accessed by 1,000-2,000 users
  • Phenotyping costs reduced by 25%
  • Michael Quinn, Platform Director (Australia/Mexico)
  • Adam Hunt, Communications lead, CIMMYT (Canada/Mexico)
  • Leaflet

    CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform leaflet

Annual reports

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