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CGIAR Crop Technologies Achieve Cumulative Impact of USD 1,334 Billion: Report

A new report shows that CGIAR crop technologies have generated a cumulative economic impact of USD 1,334 billion from 1961 to 2020, significantly improving food access and reducing undernutrition worldwide.

Saurabh Shukla
CGIAR Crop Technologies Achieve Cumulative Impact of USD 1,334 Billion: Report (Photo Source: Pixabay)
CGIAR Crop Technologies Achieve Cumulative Impact of USD 1,334 Billion: Report (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The cumulative economic impact of crop technologies developed by the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) has reached a surprising USD 1,334 billion from 1961 to 2020, according to a new peer-reviewed report. This extensive study highlights the profound influence of these technologies on global agricultural productivity and food security.

Published in the journal World Development, the report highlights that virtually all households in target countries have experienced the benefits of enhanced agricultural productivity. These improvements have significantly increased food access, leading to notable reductions in undernutrition and child stunting. While the adoption of new technologies has sometimes resulted in lower market prices for agricultural products, farmers who successfully implemented these advancements have seen reduced unit production costs and net income gains. Conversely, those unable or unwilling to adopt the technologies might face net income losses.  

The study, titled "The economic impact of CGIAR-related crop technologies on agricultural productivity in developing countries, 1961–2020," reports an impressive annual equivalent of USD 47 billion in economic welfare gains. It underscores the widespread adoption and productivity boost from CGIAR crop research, with technologies adopted on at least 221 million hectares across Asia, Africa, and Latin America by 2020. The report notes that impacts increased by approximately USD 600 million annually in the 2010s, showcasing a sustained positive trend.

In addition to raising farm incomes, productivity gains in essential crops have led to lower food prices, benefiting broader populations. This is a critical factor in why agricultural productivity growth, particularly in food crops, has had more significant impacts on poverty reduction in low-income countries than similar growth in other sectors.

Improved crop varieties, a hallmark of CGIAR's initiatives, have been identified as the primary driver behind these positive outcomes. The report highlights that CGIAR's impact has expanded beyond traditional staples like rice and wheat to include a diverse range of crops such as roots, tubers, beans, cassava, and maize. Innovations in pest management and natural resource management have also played vital roles in enhancing crop productivity. Furthermore, CGIAR technologies have contributed to environmental sustainability by saving forests and natural grasslands from conversion to cropland and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report also highlights CGIAR's global reach, with at least 92 countries adopting its crop technologies. Among these, India, China, and Nigeria have emerged as the largest beneficiaries, highlighting CGIAR's critical role in tackling agricultural challenges in populous and diverse regions.

This comprehensive study represents a significant update from previous assessments of CGIAR impacts, drawing on a broader range of data sources, including farmer and expert surveys, seed sales, and plant DNA sampling in farmers' fields. 

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