International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), working in collaboration with hundreds of partners across the developing world, is dedicated to developing technologies, innovative methods, and new knowledge that better enable farmers, mainly smallholders, to improve their crop production, incomes, and management of natural resources.
While aware of the many constraints to farming in the tropics, CIAT’s founders saw this vast region as a world of promise, where agriculture, with the aid of modern science, might contribute substantially to reducing hunger and poverty. Since no single organization can address the whole of tropical agriculture, CIAT complements the efforts of other members of the CGIAR Consortium and numerous partners by focusing strategically on selected crops and research areas.
Within CGIAR, CIAT has global responsibility for the improvement of beans, cassava, and tropical forages – crops that have historically been neglected by research despite their vital importance for food and nutrition security. It also conducts research on rice and tropical fruits for Latin America and the Caribbean.
All of the Center’s work on agricultural biodiversity – encompassing diverse food groups – employs advanced biotechnology to discover useful knowledge and accelerate crop improvement. Progress in CIAT’s crop improvement research also depends on unique collections of genetic resources (65,000 crop samples in all) which it holds in trust for humanity.
CIAT conducts research on two major issues that cut across tropical crops and production niches:
(1) sustainable management of tropical soils, and (2) decisions and policies that are critical for coping with challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, gender inequities, and weak links between farmers and markets.
Center research in all of these areas (agrobiodiversity, soils, and policy) is carried out by about 200 scientists working in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in 28 countries Africa and 5 in Southeast Asia.