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Agricultural research for development

The contemporary agricultural sector faces many new challenges, from new crop diseases to the impacts of climate change. Yet these challenges can often be combatted with new and improved technologies developed through scientific research.

In addition to addressing large-scale trends, this research can often solve problems encountered by small-scale agricultural producers – with tangible benefits. For instance, low production of crops, livestock and fish can be overcome by turning to newly developed varieties and breeds. Or better nutrition and food sufficiency can be attained by diversifying diets.

Yet in many developing countries, the connection between this research and agricultural development is weak. There is little investment in agriculture-focused research as the immediate impacts are easy to overlook.

IFAD hopes to change that. With additional funding from the European Union, IFAD provides grants to CGIAR research centres and national and regional institutions in the field of Agricultural Research for Development – AR4D.

The goal of AR4D is to improve the resilience, livelihoods and food security of small-scale farmers in rural communities, particularly youth and women, through scientific research. 

IFAD’s AR4D programme supports:

  • Creating pro-poor technologies
  • Facilitating knowledge exchange and documenting research
  • Establishing partnerships between research-centric and non-research-centric development institutions
  • Improving country-level links between research institutions and food security programmes
  • Generating evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of new approaches for meeting future food and nutrition security needs and fostering resilience, with the goal of guiding policy decisions.

Related stories

Related stories

Food from fallows: capitalizing on idle land for better food security in South Asia

May 2021 - STORY
Every year after the rice harvest in South Asia, a vast area of over 15 million hectares lies idle (fallow) until the next rice planting season several months later. Scientists in countries like Bangladesh, India and Nepal think the fallow land could, and should, be used for additional crops that increase farmer incomes and food security.

Related publications

Related publications

Strengthening sorghum and millet value chains for food, nutritional and income security in arid and semi‑arid lands of Kenya and United Republic of Tanzania (SOMNI)

November 2020
Sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet are the most important staple foods for most households in the semi-arid tropics of East Africa, as these crops grow in harsh environments where other crops do not grow well.

AR4D-PRUNSAR 2019 Consolidated Report

August 2020
The Putting Research into Use for Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture and Resilience (PRUNSAR) programme is currently one of the most significant ongoing AR4D programmes. It has a budget of almost US$40 million, mainly from the European Union, of which US$8 million is a contribution from IFAD.

Harnessing smallholder potential for wheat production in Africa – reducing wheat import bills

August 2019
To reduce the amount of foreign currency spent on importing wheat, it is essential to use improved varieties and practices to increase Africa’s domestic production quickly.

Fighting poverty with bamboo

July 2019
For millions of poor people in East and Southern Africa, bamboo has huge potential to alleviate poverty, protect the environment and help achieve the SDGs.