Alliance aims to speed crop improvement for developing countries
“Recent advances in genomics, breeding and information technologies offer huge opportunities to get more resilient, nutritious and productive crops and animal breeds to farmers faster, yet farmers in the developing world have been deprived from reaping associated benefits,” Marianne Banziger, CIMMYT’s deputy director general for research and partnerships and convener of the initiative, said.
Currently, low and lower-middle income countries, where 84 percent of the world’s poorest people live, receive only 5 percent of private sector investment in breeding despite growing half of the world’s crops, Banziger said.
“It is unimaginable that future food production will simply come from the developed world where most of the plant breeding investment is focused,” Banziger said. “Social tensions and lack of employment opportunities are a primary cause for large-scale migration. We need to generate vibrant rural economies in the developing world. Directing a greater proportion of plant breeding investments towards the developing world is part of that.”
The CGIAR initiative, the Excellence in Breeding Platform, will be led by CIMMYT with the goal of increasing the impact the public and private sectors have on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development.
CGIAR, which was formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CIMMYT and CGIAR are dedicated to reducing the number of people in developing countries who are affected by hunger and malnutrition.