The CGIAR hits 40: 1971-2011

CGIAR 40-year logo

Established in 1971, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) hits 40 this year. A 40th-anniversary celebration is being held today, 6 July 2011, from 9:15 to 11am EST at the World Bank, in Washington, DC.

The collaborative work of the CGIAR has resulted in development impacts such as improved crop varieties and livestock breeds, better cropping and crop-livestock farming methods, pro-poor policy shifts and associated new knowledge. These products are made freely available to all stakeholders in development.

The CGIAR gleaned a set of 40 largely quantitative findings on CGIAR impacts since its inception in 1971 from a 2010 Food Policy journal article written by Mitch Renkow of North Carolina State University in the USA and Derek Byerlee, a former adviser in the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department and co-author of the World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development.

The study noted that for every US$1 dollar invested in CGIAR research, $9 worth of additional food is produced in developing countries.

The economic benefits of the CGIAR as a whole were estimated to range from about $14 billion to more than $120 billion. Even under quite conservative assumptions, the benefits of research have been roughly double the investment.

Importantly, in addition to its direct research impacts, the CGIAR has trained some 80,000 professionals in developing countries.

Among the set of 40 beneficial impacts of the CGIAR cited are two related specifically to livestock research conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which is supported by the CGIAR, and its partners:

The production and delivery of a vaccine for East Coast fever—a tick-transmitted disease that threatens some 25 million cattle in 11 countries of eastern, central and southern Africa—is being placed in the hands of private sector partners. It is expected to save more than a million cattle, with benefits worth up to $270 million a year in the countries where the disease is now endemic.

Research and advocacy aimed at decriminalizing the marketing of milk by small-scale vendors in Kenya created benefits for producers and consumers having an estimated value of $44–283 million.

Read the program of the event celebrating the CGIAR 40th anniversary on 6 July 2011, which includes an address by Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank.

Watch live webcasting of the event beginning on July 6 at 9:15am EST.

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