Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research

Table of Contents

© PABRA/Jean Claude Rubyogo


The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. It works with partners to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve human health and nutrition, and ensure more sustainable management of natural resources. It is the world's largest international agricultural research organization, with 15 international research centres spread around the world working in more than 100 countries.

Canada is one of the founding members of the CGIAR and has been a strong supporter since 1971. Canada recognizes that agricultural research is critical to addressing hunger and poverty in developing countries. Canada is one of the top donors to the CGIAR and a member of the CGIAR Fund Council.

Between 1995 and 2012, Canada supported the CGIAR-Canada Linkage Fund, which provided annual grants for research projects jointly carried out by Canadian and CGIAR researchers. The linkage fund enabled 16 universities from across Canada to partner with 15 CGIAR research centres on projects aimed at helping solve the global problems of food and nutrition insecurity.

In October 2009, with the unveiling of its food security strategy, Canada announced it would contribute $32.5 million over three years in new funds to support two CGIAR programs that focus on micronutrient deficiencies and climate change using knowledge, technology and resources to solve related problems. This funding, in part, fulfills Canada's 2009 G-8 commitment under the L'Aquila Initiative on Global Food Security.

Thematic Focus

The CGIAR's mandate aligns closely with two of Canada's priority themes for international development: increasing food security and stimulating sustainable economic growth. The CGIAR also contributes to the priority theme of securing the future of children and youth by improving their nutritional status through the fortification of staple crops.

Food security

The CGIAR is a key multilateral partner for Canada in improving food security. Canada's Food Security Strategy (PDF, 271 KB, 9 pages) indicates that Canada will work with the CGIAR to increase the nutritional value of crops and enhance the resiliency of agricultural systems to climate change as well as to strengthen national and regional agricultural research systems.

Economic growth

The CGIAR produces research that results in increased crop yield and improved nutritional value. This research also helps smallholder farmers manage natural resources and livestock sustainably. By growing more and better quality crops, smallholder farmers can increase their livelihoods and income opportunities, improve access to markets, and generate economic growth.

Strategy for Working with the CGIAR

Canada's international development work with the CGIAR focuses on four strategic objectives:

  1. Encouraging the CGIAR to fully integrate equality between women and men and environmental sustainability in its new approach for improving smallholder farmers' productivity and nutrition
  2. Encouraging new and stronger partnerships between the CGIAR and Canada at the international, regional and national levels and with the private sector
  3. Working collaboratively with the CGIAR to scale up the HarvestPlus nutrition program efficiently, develop the new Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program, and build links with other health and nutrition initiatives in these areas
  4. Continuing to press the CGIAR to rapidly adopt reforms on system-wide governance, strategic and integrated programs, and stronger financial management


Over a period of 40 years, the CGIAR system, with the support of Canada and other donors, has:

  • Improved wheat, maize and rice crops in developing countries, resulting in benefits of more than US$10 billion annually
  • Triggered the production of additional food in developing countries—$9 worth of additional food for every $1 invested in CGIAR research
  • Increased average per capita food consumption
  • Prevented malnutrition in at least 13 million children, predominantly in South Asia
  • Increased food production in developing countries
  • Lowered world grain prices
  • Supported crop genetic improvement
  • Produced average yield gains of 20 percent in drought-tolerant maize grown on 1 million hectare of land in Africa

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