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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Fruits of new investments in CGIAR could include big boost in rice production for Asia, sustainable irrigation for millions of parched farms in Africa, and dramatic drop in forest destruction tied to agriculture
Washington, D.C. and Montpellier, France — CGIAR, the world’s largest agriculture research partnership, today announced its funding has doubled from $500 million in 2008 to $1 billion in 2013. Officials say harvesting the fruits of this historic commitment could, among other benefits, lift 150 million people in Asia out of poverty by boosting rice production, provide 12 million African households with sustainable irrigation, save 1.7 million hectares of forest from destruction, and give 50 million poor people access to highly nutritious food crops.
“The challenge of producing more nutritious food to feed 9 billion people in 2050 while climate change threatens to roll back years of development progress making some agricultural lands unproductive cannot be underestimated,” said Rachel Kyte, Chair of the CGIAR Fund Council and World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Climate change disproportionately hurts the poor and most vulnerable.”
“Investment in CGIAR pays big dividends, making it one of the ‘best bets’ for sustainably eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition,” said Carlos Pérez del Castillo, Chair of the CGIAR Consortium Board. “With a proven track record for large-scale development impacts, few investments, if any, make more economic and humanitarian sense than do investments in CGIAR.”
CGIAR works with hundreds of partners to develop innovative solutions, tools, and technologies for the benefit of the world’s poorest people. It seeks to bring cutting edge science to bear on a wide range of issues facing millions of farmers and other poor smallholders in developing countries who collectively generate nearly 70 percent of the world’s food production.
“The $1 billion in funding will help finance CGIAR’s 16 global research programs and accelerate the development of scientific, policy and technological advances needed to overcome complex challenges – such as climate change, water scarcity, land degradation, and chronic malnutrition, greatly improving the well-being of millions of poor families across the developing world,” said Frank Rijsberman, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium.
Some of the potential impacts from the CGIAR Research Programs include:
- By 2035, research on rice will increase farmers’ yields and lower prices for poor consumers, lifting 150 million people out of poverty and reducing the number of undernourished people in Asia by 62 million.
- By 2020, 12 million households in Africa will have access to sustainable irrigation, thanks to research on water, land and ecosystems.
- By 2022, research will help increase harvests of grain legumes—a key source of protein for the poor – in low-income countries in five regions, improving their nutrition from 2.1 million tons of extra protein.
- By 2018, 50 million people will have access to staple food crops specifically bred to be rich in key vitamins and minerals – namely, iron, zinc or vitamin A – in an effort to combat malnutrition.
- By 2020, research on forest, trees and agroforestry will prevent deforestation on 0.5 to 1.7 million hectares, reducing carbon emissions by 0.16 to 0.68 billion tons per year.
- By 2022, fish production and fish farm employment will increase by 30% in Egypt, doubling the productivity of more than 6,000 fish farms.
“With this new funding, CGIAR is better positioned than ever before to produce world-class science to meet the needs of small-scale farmers, fishers and foresters,” said Jonathan Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Fund Council, a decision-making body of donors and other stakeholders. “CGIAR is committed to ensuring that every dollar received will efficiently deliver more and better benefits for the poor.”
For more than 40 years, CGIAR and its partners have transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people with the tangible outcomes of agriculture research, including improved crop varieties, sustainable farming methods, new fish strains, novel livestock vaccines, climate-smart solutions, and incisive policy analysis.
- Drought tolerant maize has increased farmers’ yields by 20-30%, benefiting 20 million people in 13 African countries.
- ”Scuba rice,” which can survive under water for two weeks, is protecting the harvests, incomes, and food security of poor farmers and consumers across monsoon Asia.
- Newly developed potato varieties that withstand late blight disease and yielded eight times more than native varieties in the region have made the difference between having enough to eat or not in the Paucartambo province of Peru, where late blight threatened to devastate staple food supplies.
- By integrating food crops with trees that draw nitrogen from the air and transfer it to the soil, an innovative agroforestry practice captures carbon and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving soil fertility, rainwater use efficiency, and yields by up to 400% for maize in the Sahel region.
- Across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nepal, and Pakistan, high-yielding wheat varieties resistant to Ug99, a highly virulent disease, have protected the livelihoods and food security of 500,000 farming families.
- In eastern Africa, a vaccine against East Coast fever, a deadly disease of cattle, has saved 620,000 calves, benefiting up to 50,000 poor households that rely on cattle for food and income. The vaccine could benefit 20 million more people in the region, with annual benefits of $270 million.
“CGIAR has a strong track record in delivering solutions, building resilience, and helping people all over the world to grow more nutritious food and thrive in the face of the challenges,” said Kyte. “The new funding will take CGIAR’s work to the next level and be crucial in global efforts to enhance food and nutrition security in a world of climate change.”