Genome editing: A revolutionary tool to speed up plant breeding

Innovation has always been part of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture’s (CIAT) DNA. Since its birth in 1967, CIAT has utilized novel tools to breed and improve some of the most important crops in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Genome editing is one such tool. It uses CRISPR-Cas, a revolutionary technology that can “cut” … More Genome editing: A revolutionary tool to speed up plant breeding

The Challenges of Assessing Collaborative Impact

It would be extremely difficult – if not impossible – for an organization like the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to document all of its impacts since its inception 50 years ago. Nevertheless, impact assessment is a necessary exercise, both in the interest of accountability to donors and other stakeholders, as well as to … More The Challenges of Assessing Collaborative Impact

5 Ways to Get the Best out of your Organization’s Anniversary

It was a highly emotional moment for Colombian nationals and others alike when Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos stepped onto the stage to take part in CIAT’s 50th anniversary final celebrations at the organization’s headquarters near Cali, Colombia. Adding to the feeling of excitement was the moment when President Santos pledged the equivalent of approximately … More 5 Ways to Get the Best out of your Organization’s Anniversary

Towards Food and Nutrition Security: Where is IITA going in the next half century?

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The anniversary was celebrated to reflect two milestones: the first 50 years, covering the period from its inception up till now; and the next 50 years, covering the present to the next 50 years. The first core event, held on … More Towards Food and Nutrition Security: Where is IITA going in the next half century?

IITA: Transforming African Agriculture

Agriculture is central to the development of the African continent, currently contributing 40% to 80% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in several countries. In recent years, it has been put back on to the development agenda of most African governments. In Nigeria, for instance, the agricultural policy document of the current government builds on … More IITA: Transforming African Agriculture

Conversations in transformation (why it’s good to talk to people on your way to work)

A popular story goes that the idea of establishing agricultural research centers, precursors of the modern-day CGIAR network, was born out of the daily train conversations between two gentlemen on their way to work In New York City in the early-1960s. The story, told by the late Lowell Hardin, former professor at the Purdue University … More Conversations in transformation (why it’s good to talk to people on your way to work)

Growing peace

A South Sudanese woman paints a heart wrenching picture of her country. It is struggling to feed itself. Resources are stretched to breaking point. The on-going conflict makes water hard to come by and climate change is only making things worse. “When the drought came, we lost everything”, she says. “We depend on imported food … More Growing peace

When local knowledge brings innovation: A cattle farmer with a different approach

A few days back I visited Manali, a famous tourist destination in northern India. Unlike most of the visitors, my trip was not for fun but research survey work. During one of the conversations with my colleagues, I heard about a farmer named Peter, who is based in Manali. As the name sounded unfamiliar – … More When local knowledge brings innovation: A cattle farmer with a different approach

Being farmer, becoming agripreneur: Imitation is the highest flattery

On October 11, 2017, I attended a side event organized by the World Farmers’ Organization and the governments of New Zealand and Canada at the 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This side event focused on the role of farmers as stewards of environment, in adapting to climate change and attaining … More Being farmer, becoming agripreneur: Imitation is the highest flattery

Coffee in crisis offers a lesson in resilience

In the last five years, Coffee leaf rust, or “la roya” in Spanish, has crippled Guatemala and Central America. During the last outbreak, the Committee On Sustainability Assessment (COSA), a Partner in GFAR, was in the Verapaz and Oriente regions of Guatemala for an evaluation of a project aiming to improve the sustainability of Guatemalan … More Coffee in crisis offers a lesson in resilience

Forever young

Indigenous communities have traditionally passed information from one generation to another. Valuable information products of hundreds years of experience and observation of the environment that surrounds them. Information related to specific processes in agriculture, to the management of natural resources, and how to better adapt to climate change. This knowledge exchange has been a way … More Forever young

Agrobiodiversity: goin’ bananas for people and planet

You should eat a kilo of Cavendish bananas a day, if you’d like to fulfil your recommended intake of vitamin A. Or, you could eat one To’o banana. Too bad the Cavendish variety accounts for 47% of the worldwide production and 99% of the commercial export sale to developed countries; we seem destined to stuff … More Agrobiodiversity: goin’ bananas for people and planet

Lumberjills and Lumberjacks: Building Sweden with women at the table

“What happens to forests will be largely shaped by what happens outside of forests…”  Linda Andersson (Policy Officer, Vi-Agroforestry) So we know that Sweden is the country that brought us Ikea and Abba. But did you know that Sweden is also one of the world’s largest producers of timber? Around 68% of this beautiful land … More Lumberjills and Lumberjacks: Building Sweden with women at the table

The vicious circle

When conflicts start, food insecurity rises. And when a population becomes food insecure, preventing conflicts becomes more difficult. This becomes a vicious circle that never seems to end. According to Mr. Dominique Burgeon, studies show that 40% of the countries coming out from conflicts, are more likely to experience food insecurity. This again makes them … More The vicious circle