Building Team Chemistry: The Bigger Picture Behind Cows & Climate
Animal Biology Graduate Student, UC Davis
Year Awarded 2022
FFAR award amount $5,000,000
Total award amount $11,500,000
Location Texcoco, Mexico
Matching Funders Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The most dangerous impact of climate change is the disruption of global agriculture and food systems through disasters such as drought, heat and flooding. These disruptions, including decreased agricultural production and reduced harvests, are hardest on the approximately half a billion smallholder farmers living on less than two dollars a day.
Individual farms, including smallholder farms, make up a majority of the world’s farmers and producers. Losses on these farms due to climate change have a ripple effect on the global food supply, increasing food costs and worsening food insecurity and malnutrition.
Equipping farmers with crops that can withstand environmental extremes is essential. CGIAR, the world’s largest public-sector agriculture research partnership, holds around 10 percent of the worldwide germplasm (seeds and other genetic material) in banks across the globe. This rich supply of germplasm is key to developing new crop varieties adapted to the stresses of climate change, and scientists have already developed critical traits using them. However, climate-adaptive breeding has been inefficient, costly and underleveraged.
This initiative, led by CGIAR, advances transformative approaches to expand the use of genetic diversity from germplasm banks, ultimately developing new climate-smart crop varieties for millions of smallholder farmers worldwide.
The development and cultivation of new crop varieties that stabilize and improve productivity during increasingly volatile cropping seasons are critical to helping farmers adapt to climate change. The benefits of this initiative include:
This initiative expands CGIAR and other organizations’ crop improvement research by strengthening the identification of high-value genetic diversity from germplasm collections and more efficiently leveraging this diversity to develop new varieties of climate-resilient crops.
This research was included in the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate’s (AIM for Climate) announcement at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP26) to accelerate support for existing climate-smart agriculture research and innovation. AIM for Climate is a joint initiative between the United States and the United Arab Emirates. By increasing and accelerating investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation, AIM for Climate is addressing the climate crisis.
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