Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF)

Agricultural Research AfricaRice

Picture © GIZ / T.Vostry

"It will require the commitment of scientists and scientific methods throughout the world ... to bring the benefits of science to all."
(Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations)

Research to fight hunger and poverty

By 2030, this planet will be home to an estimated 8.6 billion people. The majority of those will be living in developing countries. To provide the growing world population with healthy, sustainably grown food, agricultural production has to grow by 50 percent by 2050 (compared to 2012). International agricultural research is essential for agricultural growth and development.

The Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF) provides valuable help in achieving these goals. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), BEAF supports 17 research centers in developing innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture in developing countries and putting those to widespread use on the ground.

To this end, BEAF supports development-oriented research projects, enhancement of gene banks and personnel assignments in 17 international agricultural research centers. Germany follows the approach of linking research with development cooperation to ensure that research products continue to reach large numbers of smallholders in developing countries.

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Safeguarding global agrodiversity for the future

Smallholder farmers in developing countries need innovative technologies, agricultural practices and adapted seeds to tackle the ever-evolving challenges especially in the context of climate change.

Many of the BMZ supported international agricultural research centers work on enhancing and adapting crops that are vital for food security. Research is done not only on known staples such as wheat, maize and rice but also e.g. on almost forgotten indigenous vegetables.

This crucial research is made possible by the biological and cultural treasure agricultural research is safeguarding: To date, 11 centers manage gene banks with 35 crop and tree collections that contain approximately 850,000 seed samples of traditional varieties and their crop wild relatives – even from remote locations of the world. These gene banks do not merely conserve plant genetic resources but make this diversity of global agricultural crops easily and freely available to both breeders and researchers all over the world.

The results of international agricultural research are global public goods and not limited by patents. Therefore they are freely available to users and farmers worldwide. Over 80 percent of all public seeds exchanged for research or development purpose comes from the CGIAR gene banks. By distribution the seed samples to users around the globe higher-yielding and more resistant varieties can be developed to secure the livelihoods of future farmer generations.

Germany is a long-standing supporter of the international gene banks and research projects.

Infographic: Origins and primary regions of diversity of agricultural crops (© International Center for Tropical Agriculture - CIAT) (pdf, 7.48 MB, EN)
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