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CIAT in Asia

With more than 60 percent of Asian population either directly or indirectly relying on agriculture for livelihood, agriculture remains key to uplifting lives of many people in the region, as well as to providing sufficient and nutritious food for all.

In Asia, CIAT undertakes scientific research enabling smallholder farmers, agri-food businesses, and national governments to use smart technologies and innovations and make evidence-based decisions, towards achieving profitability, environmental sustainability and resiliency in agriculture.

Over decades, CIAT’s research has directly contributed towards increasing competitiveness, efficiency and resilience of local farming systems through sustainable land-use, and livestock, soil and natural resource management; boosting yields through continued genetic improvement, better agronomy, and pest and disease management; and increasing incomes by engaging smallholders more effectively with markets.

By considering interactions of many different elements within and across the farm, landscape, value chain, and food systems levels, CIAT, in Asia, undertakes scientific research addressing questions and issues along the entire agricultural path, FROM SOIL TO PLATE.

Forages and Livestock Systems

Planting highly productive, nutritious forages on small areas of the farm can allow farmers to increase livestock productivity without relying on increasingly scarce natural resources. CIAT’s research aims to support farmers by making available forage options that meet
quantity and quality requirements for profitable animal raising, while improving productivity through gains in overall efficiency and access to livelihood-enhancing ecosystem services.

Research Agenda:

  • Improved forage options for more productive and sustainable livestock production
  • Eco-efficient agricultural livelihoods in livestock-crop-tree systems
  • Reduced livestock environmental footprint of smallholder agricultural systems

Research countries: Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Vietnam

Dr. Sabine Douxchamps

Climate Change and Ecosystem Services

CIAT’s research focuses on dynamic interaction between farms and landscapes, mobilizing climate science to facilitate informed decision-making on adapting to and mitigating climate change, including by protecting ecosystem services. Through the Climate Policy Hub, a portfolio of tools help guide land management planning and policy formulation by a whole range of stakeholders, from farmers to businesses to development organizations and governments. Some of these tools – climate scenarios, impact modeling and assessments, vulnerability assessments, prioritization processes, policy analyses – also help identify, test and scale climate-smart agriculture technologies, while others – climate advisory services, early warning systems, monitoring-reporting-verification (MRV) systems – aid implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Research Agenda:

  • Climate-smart agriculture for resilient communities and livelihoods
  • Enhanced climate policies, services and institutions for risk-prone agricultural systems
  • Improved ecosystem services for fragile agro-ecologies

Research countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam

Dr. Peter Laderach

Value Chains and Food Systems

CIAT strengthens capacity of a wide range of agricultural value chain actors to engage with one another in a more inclusive and sustainable manner. Across Asia, CIAT supports Heifer International towards effectively including smallholder farmers and cooperatives into animal product value chains following the LINK methodology. Also being investigated is the effectiveness of Farmer Business Schools in Vietnam to enhance the capacity of vegetable farmers to engage effectively with markets.

By coordinating activities in Vietnam related to the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, CIAT contributes to the goal of achieving healthier diets for poor and vulnerable populations through a better understanding of food system-diet
dynamics, and through identifying and enabling innovations in value chains and policies. CIAT’s work on food systems responds to concerns about diet trends, i.e. transitions, and demands, with a view to developing systemic solutions that address problems such as malnutrition and food insecurity.

Research Agenda:

  • More strategic public-private investment priorities in high-value agricultural commodities
  • Inclusive businesses through greater market participation of small-scale producers
  • Sustainable food systems for safe food and improved diet along the rural-urban transect

Research countries: Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam

Dr. Stef de Haan

Soils and Landscapes for Sustainability

CIAT investigates how the many and diverse components of smallholder agriculture – soil, livestock, crops, trees – could effectively interact with one another, and how an efficient use of resources could sustainably increase farm productivity. CIAT’s research provides science-based information and tools to assess existing conditions and help improve soil health and land-use management through agroecology.

Research Agenda:

  • Improved soil health and land use management through agroecology
  • Sustainable farming systems for upland agriculture and integrated land use systems
  • Facilitating agricultural innovation from farms to landscapes

Research countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam

Dr. Didier Lesueur

Cassava Value Chains

To help smallholder farmers tap into the abundant opportunities offered by cassava, CIAT continues to develop improved varieties and works to effect stable and sustainable yields through enhanced pest-disease, soil and seed system management. In order to enhance overall competitiveness of value chains, the team in Asia implements a mix of innovations, which includes investigating innovative options for adding value to cassava industrial waste, among others; using spatial analyses and geo-referencing techniques to track cassava demand and identify bottlenecks; investigating cassava seed systems, including policy and procedures for moving plant material; and analyzing regional policy, infrastructure and logistical regulations to evaluate supportive networks and value chain-wide services which foster smallholder development.

Research Agenda:

  • Integrated, inclusive cassava value chains for diverse uses and markets
  • Stable and sustainable yields through enhanced pest-disease, soil and seed management system
  • Novel varieties for value addition and efficiency gains

Research countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

Dr. Dindo Campilan

Research updates

Asia | CIAT Blog Science to Cultivate Change