Achieving food and nutrition security requires agricultural innovation and research. Bioversity International’s unique role in this endevour is to research the conservation and use of agricultural and forest biodiversity.


Bioversity International is committed to a world in which smallholder farming communities are thriving and sustainable. We are building evidence that agricultural and forest biodiversity is part of the key to achieving long-term success in this quest. In early 2012, we launched a 10-year research strategy to increase the exploration of the potential of biodiversity to provide the means to improve nutrition, sustainability, livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers and to ensure that ecosystems are productive and resilient.


This year we are proud to share many of our research advances which are featured throughout this report. Here are a few highlights:

  • Agustin Molina, Senior Scientist and Regional Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific, received a Guangdong International Friendship Award from one of the largest banana-producing regions of China for his partnership work to help combat banana disease, an important crop for this region.
  • We collaborated in a project to sequence the first genome of cultivated bananas – a huge step forward in science – which will give more options to the millions of people who depend on bananas for income or for food.
  • Coordinated by Bioversity, the new Global Timber Tracking Network was launched, bringing together scientists, policymakers and stakeholders to curb illegal and unsustainable logging.
  • One of our former senior scientists, Jessica Fanzo (now an Honorary Research Fellow with Bioversity), was named the first recipient of the Premio Daniel Carasso for her work in the area of nutrition and sustainable diets.
  • The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project started this year, to investigate how the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity can improve nutrition, providing critical evidence and raising awareness of the nutritional value of local diversity.
  • The new Global Strategy for the Conservation and Use of Cacao was published. This work provides a foundation for prioritizing cacao research to help meet the needs of the millions of smallholder farmers who depend on this cash crop.
  • The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) gave its 2012 Award for Best KARI Implemented Project to a collaborative research effort to mitigate Banana Xanthomonas wilt, one of several major diseases threatening banana crops. This effort was led by Bioversity International and funded by the McKnight Foundation.

Our research in agricultural and forest biodiversity is resonating with policymakers, scientists, international organizations and donors. We participated in many international events in 2012, including the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the IUCN World Conservation Congress and The Economist’s Feed the World Africa Conference. These events were turning points for connecting research on biodiversity to global challenges such as climate change, malnutrition, food insecurity and productivity; and we are continuing this dialogue in opinion pieces published in major media outlets.


Furthermore, we have built important partnerships that are already reaping benefits. As a member of the CGIAR Consortium, Bioversity International is proud to contribute to ten CGIAR Research Programs. You will read many examples in this report about the progress we are making with CGIAR partners to achieve a sustainable, food secure future. We thank you for your continued support and partnership.


Emile Frison, Director General


Paul Zuckerman, Board Chair