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CGIAR launches Excellence in Agronomy 2030 (EiA 2030) to improve outcomes for smallholder farmers amidst climate change

07 September, Rwanda -- Over 300 million smallholder farmers in developing countries bear the brunt of climate change, which adversely affects agricultural production in regions like South Asia and Africa. Global challenges such as COVID-19 are expected to threaten the agriculture sector even more, calling for a drastic transformation of agrifood systems to make them sustainable, inclusive, and resilient.

On Monday, nine CGIAR centers convened virtually with the goal to help mitigate the risks of climate change and other global challenges by delivering agronomic solutions and driving sustainable productivity growth through the Excellence in Agronomy 2030 (EiA) initiative. Launched at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) happening virtually from 07 to 11 September 2020, EiA 2030 is supported by the Big Data Platform and will combine big data analytics, new sensing technologies, geospatial decision tools, and farming systems research to come up with scalable agronomic innovations for agricultural development.

The launch comes at an opportune time, as the effects of COVID-19 further highlight the importance of demand-driven research and development as well as stronger and more strategic collaborations among stakeholders in the agriculture sector. EiA 2030 will include a 2-year incubation phase to demonstrate the added value of these aspects, supported by a ‘One CGIAR’ agronomy initiative aimed at sustainable intensification of farming systems.

“Climate-responsive and sustainable agriculture takes into account the entire food value chain. With EiA 2030, the CGIAR system will be able to leverage years of robust data collection to identify suitable cropping systems and implement sustainable intensification that considers the people and the planet. IRRI strongly supports this endeavor, and will bring its resources, knowledge, and expertise into the initiative, at full force,” shared Dr Abdelbagi Ismail, Principal Scientist and Representative for Africa, IRRI.

Dr Martin Kropff, Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center spoke at the launch and shared how EiA 2030 will aim to be the leading platform for next-generation agronomy in the Global South. The initiative will not only respond to demand from the public and private sector but will also help increase efficiencies through stronger collaboration and cross-learning among CGIAR centers and within the broader agronomy R&D ecosystem.