Building and innovating for food system transformation

Inclusive responses to global challenges in CIP’s Annual Report 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic pushes millions into poverty and malnutrition, and climate change’s impacts on agriculture become increasingly severe, there is an urgent need for innovations that increase food system resilience, enable farmers to produce more nutritious food, and catalyze livelihood opportunities for women, men and young people.

The International Potato Center’s (CIP) Annual Report 2020 offers examples of how scientific research is being applied to such goals by building new technologies and developing innovations to drive the food system transformation needed to feed a growing population while staying within the planet’s boundaries. The examples range from tools to improve the gender-responsiveness of crop breeding to the sustainable intensification of agriculture in India and the development of resilient and nutritious potato varieties with the potential to boost farmer incomes and reduce the risk of anemia across the globe.

This year’s report pays special attention to the power of collaboration to help CIP take its innovations to scale and achieve greater impact for vulnerable communities. One such partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) is using drought-tolerant, pro-vitamin-A sweetpotato to improve food and nutrition security in Kenyan and Ugandan communities on the front lines of climate change. That effort builds on the success of partnerships with government agencies, NGOs and businesses that reached 300,000 people in six African countries and Bangladesh in 2020. The current collaboration with WFP, and its global presence as the world’s largest humanitarian organization, offers the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands more smallholder farmers.

In Malawi, CIP is working with government, and international organizations and NGOs to improve agricultural extension services and disseminate innovations, reaching 288,000 farmers to date. This work complemented another initiative that helped more than 126,000 households – nearly 60% of them female-headed – adopt climate-resilient potato, sweetpotato and cassava varieties between 2016 and 2020. Through an array of such interventions across Africa, Asia and Latin America, CIP and partners are harnessing the potential of potato and sweetpotato agri-food systems to improve food and nutrition security, boost farm resilience, and catalyze inclusive income opportunities.

In joining the other CGIAR Centers to create the world’s largest agricultural research for development organization, CIP will contribute to the development and deployment of more comprehensive and holistic solutions to the complex and interconnected challenges that the world faces. The CIP Annual Report 2020, Build, Innovate, Transform: Collaborative solutions for global challenges offers snapshots of recent efforts to improve the nutrition security and resilience of vulnerable communities, foster inclusive income opportunities, and contribute to food systems transformation. All these achievements are products of the research, innovation, knowledge and dedication that will drive our continued work for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read the report.