Overview

Mission

To reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human nutrition in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the eco-efficiency of agriculture.

People

CIAT’s staff includes about 200 scientists. Supported by a wide array of donors, the Center collaborates with hundreds of partners to conduct high-quality research and translate the results into development impact. A Board of Trustees provides oversight of CIAT’s research and financial management (see organogram).

Values

  • Shared organizational ethic
    We respect each other, our partners, and the people who benefit from our work. We act with honesty, integrity, transparency, and environmental responsibility in all of our joint endeavors.
  • Learning through partnerships
    We work efficiently and pragmatically together and with partners. Considering our diversity to be a key asset, we adapt readily to change and strive to improve our performance through continuous learning.
  • Innovation for impact
    We develop innovative solutions to important challenges in tropical agriculture, resulting in major benefits for the people who support, participate in, and profit from our work.

Beginnings

Backed by the Colombian government and Rockefeller, Ford, and Kellogg Foundations, CIAT was formally established in 1967 and began its research in 1969.

Focus on Tropical Agriculture

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 others by focusing on selected crops and research areas.

Eco-Efficiency Vision

CIAT develops technologies, methods, and knowledge that better enable farmers, mainly smallholders, to enhance eco-efficiency in agriculture. This means we make production more competitive and profitable as well as sustainable and resilient through economically and ecologically sound use of natural resources and purchased inputs.

Research Areas

CIAT has global responsibility for the improvement of two staple foods, cassava and common bean, together with tropical forages for livestock. In Latin America and the Caribbean, we conduct research on rice as well. Representing diverse food groups and a key component of the world’s agricultural biodiversity, those crops are vital for global food and nutrition security.

In its work on agrobiodiversity, the Center employs advanced biotechnology to accelerate crop improvement. Progress in our crop research also depends on unique collections of genetic resources – 65,000 crop samples in all – which we hold in trust for humanity.

Alongside its research on agrobiodiversity, CIAT works in two other areas – soils and decision and policy analysis – which cut across all tropical crops and production environments.

Center soil scientists conduct research across scales – from fields and farms to production systems and landscapes – to create new tools and knowledge that help reduce hunger through sustainable intensification of agricultural production, while restoring degraded land and making agriculture climate smart.

CIAT’s work on decision and policy analysis harnesses the power of information to influence decisions about issues such as climate change, linking farmers to markets, research impact assessment, and gender equity.

Global Reach and Impact

CIAT has its headquarters near Cali, Colombia, with regional offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hanoi, Vietnam. Center scientists work in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and 5 in Southeast Asia. Their collaborative efforts in these regions have generated important research achievements with substantial development impact.

Role in the CGIAR Consortium

CIAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.

CGIAR is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by the 15 centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector.

CIAT’s work contributes importantly to CGIAR Research Programs, which address the major agricultural challenges of our time. CIAT is lead center for the program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which helps smallholder farmers adapt to and mitigate the effects of rising temperatures and increasingly unpredictable rains.