2021 Annual report News and social media
Press coverage of Alliance publications and interviews with our experts in top-tier media, combined with social media engagement that shared our work with a growing audience, broadened the Alliance’s reach and impact during 2021.
The following is a thorough selection of some of the Alliance’s press coverage in 2021, including pieces from top-tier news sources, as well as regional and local news outlets around the world. Keep scrolling for a selection of social media highlights.
How to breed a climate resilient sunflower? Look to its ancient cousins.
Alliance researcher Colin Khoury’s work on crop wild relatives is featured in this story, which cites recent research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Wake-Up Call: Climate Change Threatens Rice Farming
The Alliance’s Louis Verchot is interviewed by Scientific American to discuss the threats facing food systems due to the climate crisis.
'Nature is not a commodity': Can the world learn from indigenous peoples' food systems, before they are lost?
CNN was one of the many global media outlets to cover the report on indigenous food systems co-authored by the Alliance and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Colombia custodia las semillas que aseguran la seguridad alimentaria del mundo
This feature story by Spanish news agency EFE discusses Future Seeds, the Alliance’s new genebank in Colombia. Forbes was one of many news outlets to publish this story in piece by the Spanish news agency.
OPINION: Educating eaters as a way to save the planet
This opinion piece by Luca Di Leo, of the European Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, argues for greater education about food since it is at the center of “every major sustainability issue we face.” The piece discusses the Alliance’s collaboration on how to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050 and its proposals to the UN Food Systems Summit.
Climate change threatens age-old indigenous food systems, says UN
Reuters also covered the Alliance’s report on indigenous food systems co-authored with the Food and Agriculture Organization.
OPINION: More biodiverse food systems will help address climate and nature crises
Alliance Director Juan Lucas Restrepo and João Campari of the World Wildlife Fund discuss how protecting biodiversity will also help in the struggle against climate change.
Carbone | L’inquiétante perte de biodiversité du cacaoyer
The Alliance’s Brigitte Laliberté speaks about the biodiversity of cacao and the rapid disappearance of different varieties of cacao trees.
Rastreo con radar, el nuevo aliado para frenar la minería ilegal en el Amazonas
Reporting from Peru, the Spanish news agency writes about the potential to combat illegal mining in the Amazon using tools generated by the Alliance’s SERVIR Amazonia, a collaboration with USAID, NASA and several partner countries with territory in the Amazon Rainforest.
Doubt grows over COP26 forest pledge
Reporting from COP26 in Glasgow, SciDevNet interviewed specialists including the Alliance’s Louis Verchot for analysis of a 120-nation pledge to end deforestation by 2030.
Teaming up to Track Illegal Amazon Gold Mines in Peru
NASA reports on how it is working with the Alliance and USAID to keep tabs on the expansion of illegal gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon through SERVIR-Amazonia, which is implemented by the Alliance.
A Field Guide to North America’s Wild Crops
This great read on foraging for wild crops in North America features research by the Alliance’s Colin Khoury and colleagues on crop wild relatives and the conservation status of useful plant species.
What Burkina Faso can teach us about forest restoration
In 2018, Burkina Faso pledged to restore 5 million hectares of degraded landscape by 2030. Alliance research on the West African nation’s progress shows lessons can be learned for restoration in other places – especially often-overlooked traditional knowledge on the working of local ecosystems.
This root vegetable could help alleviate hunger and end soil erosion. Here’s how
As developing countries continue to face food security challenges due to the climate crisis, one crop could help: cassava. Also known as the Rambo Root for its hardiness, the tough tuber can provide be a profitable form of agriculture and halt soil erosion. Alliance research was featured in this article.
Social media highlights
In addition to news coverage, the Alliance maintained a strong presence on social media, sharing updates, information, and multimedia related to our research and impact. Here is a selection of Tweets - by both us and others - that capture some of our year online.
🔓 The #Covid19 pandemic has shown us the importance of access to genetic data.— Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (@BiovIntCIAT_eng) December 13, 2021
ℹ️ But when it comes to #biodiversity information, international negotiations around data access and benefit-sharing have not kept pace with expanding knowledge.
Read on 👉 https://t.co/dwoV85LjSh pic.twitter.com/3fwCFxhSfd
🇨🇴 Después de recorrer 900 km de la mano de @BiovIntCIAT_esp productores Caqueteños del Proyecto #Slus @iki_bmu iniciaron capacitación en prácticas de producción sostenible en Granja Modelo @fedecacao, en San Vicente del Chucurí. pic.twitter.com/u6XrujM5lj— Alianza de Bioversity International y el CIAT (@BiovIntCIAT_esp) October 25, 2021
🎥 Can you count how many: vegetables; proteins; grains; fruits... were in your last meal? 🍽 #Agrobiodiversity goes beyond our plates: watch the video to learn why we need to #EatGrowSave the diversity of plants, animals and microbes that make up our agricultural system. pic.twitter.com/Cq5raWiXgL— International Agrobiodiversity Congress (@AgroBioCongress) May 19, 2021
1st Report of Tropical Race 4, causing Fusarium wilt in Cavendish bananas in Peru. https://t.co/F76Mub0o6o. A huge challenge ahead: @Senasa_Peru @INIAPeru @BiovIntCIAT_eng @RTB_CGIAR @CGIAR @WJCuellar @m_rouard @cledy_us @jcrojasll pic.twitter.com/WLXJQLMPkT— Miguel Dita (@DitaMiguel) December 19, 2021
Other news highlights
The following stories represent some of the our regional press coverage around the world.
Kenya: Poor Need Different Lockdown Restrictions to Survive, Scientists Urge
The Alliance’s Christine Chege discusses research that demonstrates how wide-scale lockdowns due to the pandemic hurt the poorest the most in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya's world-famous java faces potential climate disaster
On-the-ground reporting on climate threats to Kenyan coffee production included a reference to Alliance research cited in this report about coffee production in the East African country. Rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and new pest and disease incidents are among the challenges faced by producers.
Madre de Dios: el radar se convierte en un nuevo aliado en lucha contra la minería ilegal
Peru’s news agency covers work by the Alliance-NASA-USAID collaboration SERVIR Amazonia to keep tabs on illegal gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon.
Disponen medidas para controlar plaga que afecta cultivos de plátanos y bananos
Miguel Dita, an Alliance specialist in the banana disease Fusarium Tropical Race 4 (TR4), helped Peruvian officials quickly respond to a suspected outbreak of TR4, which has phytosanitary officials on high alert around Latin America.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cassava
This excellent explainer article tells the story of the “nearly indestructible” cassava plant, from its origins to its global use as a food and industrial ingredient. Featuring interviews with U.S. restauranteurs from countries where cassava is a staple – including Nigeria and Ecuador – the piece features cooking recommendations and recipes that can be made with the gluten-free tuber. The piece includes recent research from the Alliance on cassava’s potential for reaching development goals.
Belgian scientists claim breakthrough in cloning coconut trees; may help trees fight Lethal Yellowing Disease
This story covers the Alliance breakthrough, in collaboration with KU Leuven university, in cloning coconuts. The discovery could help the global coconut industry select better, higher-producing trees, battle pests and diseases, and make production for smallholders more profitable.
Fighting Loss of the Greater Mekong’s Prized Rosewood Forests
The Alliance’s Riina Jalonen talks to IPS about the plight of rosewood tree species in Southeast Asia. Because their wood is some of the most valuable in the world, the trees are highly threatened. The Alliance and collaborators are working to safeguard the genetic diversity of these tree species to support conservation and reforestation efforts.
Country Climate Risk Profiles Critical and Timely for Kenya’s Struggling Smallholders
Reporting from outside Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, IPS chronicles how smallholder farmers are struggling to continue producing in the face erratic weather linked to climate change. Alliance-developed climate risk profiles for all of Kenya’s rural counties are helping farmers and others in the agricultural value chain adapt to climate change.
Southeast Asian Farmers Adapt, Insure against Growing Climate Risks
Like farmers almost everywhere, producers in the Mekong Delta in Southeast Asia are increasingly facing challenges posed by climate change. DeRisk, a collaboration that involves the Alliance, is helping farmers manage climate risk through better weather forecasting.
Zero Hunger Campaign in Vietnam Targets Remote Areas and Cities
To help achieve the country’s Zero Hunger targets, the Alliance together with the government and academic institutions in Vietnam are providing research-based solutions through agricultural biodiversity and agricultural transformation, and food systems for healthier diets.
With a Little Help, Local Communities Rack up Record Success with Heritage Rice Grains
In reviving agricultural biodiversity in India, the Alliance and partners are reviving native varieties of rice by strengthening the value chain and linking farmers to markets. Through the Native Basket brand, smallholders are able to grow and market heritage rice locally and globally through exports.
Vietnamese ‘zero honger’-campagne focust op afgelegen regio’s en steden
This newsmagazine piece discusses the Alliance’s contributions to Vietnam’s Zero Hunger targets.
Planting trees starts with the right seed
In this letter to the editor, Riina Jalonen underscores one key factor to make forest restoration more successful: access to natural seed sources of native tree species. But many are threatened by deforestation, increasing the challenge of securing these seed sources.
New reports from African Development Bank, FAO and CGIAR showcase digital agriculture opportunities
Digital Agriculture Profiles for African countries, developed in collaboration with the Alliance, show where opportunities exist to speed up the digitalization of agriculture to “ultimately defeat hunger globally,” says Andy Jarvis, the Alliance’s associate director general.
Shaping the future of mobile field data collection with TerraBio and Ecam
This piece, co-authored by the Alliance’s Wendy Francesconi, discusses collaboration in Brazil with Google’s Ground, an open-source project that provides useful landscape information to farmers in different parts of the nation.
Braquiária que tolera até 500 mm de chuva por ano chegará em breve ao Brasil
Camelo, a drought-tolerant brachiara grass for livestock that was developed by the Alliance, is expected to have high demand in dry parts of Brazil.
Social media highlights
More examples of our research and events on social media.
NEW Training about land cover mapping🌳using RS🛰️and OPEN SOURCE tools, such as #GEE, #SEPAL, #QGIS ->Semi-Automatic Classification #plugin by @terrai_ciat @BiovIntCIAT_eng to technicians in El Salvador from @CRSEspanol @MedioAmbienteSV @somosraicessv @UESoficial @CENTAELSALVADOR pic.twitter.com/Qj2zxl0IZT— Paula Paz (@paulapaz13) June 11, 2021
🔴 We’re live at #UNFSS201: Join our session on “#Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Future” or follow this thread for updates and takeaways!— Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (@BiovIntCIAT_eng) July 26, 2021
Event registration is still available here 👉 https://t.co/UZCxFiWJI4#Biodiversity @FoodSystems
Now speaking 💬 @ibrahimthiaw pic.twitter.com/mLePxmr5D1
Con la llegada hoy de 14🐮al campus de Palmira se utilizarán equipos de ganadería de precisión para evaluar el efecto de diferentes dietas forrajeras en las emisiones de CH4, eficiencia nutricional, rendimiento y calidad; con @AberUni, @UofGlasgow Angus Azul y CIPAV #CoForLife🌱 pic.twitter.com/lEuF5baiSv— Alianza de Bioversity International y el CIAT (@BiovIntCIAT_esp) April 20, 2021
🔴 Welcome to Day 1️⃣ of the @AgroBioCongress!— Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (@BiovIntCIAT_eng) November 15, 2021
Join us for scientific research, nature-positive solutions, policies, and practices to transform #FoodSystems through the use & conservation of #Agrobiodiversity.
Register for free 👉 https://t.co/PPkK9fVmYw#EatGrowSave pic.twitter.com/DATeHzhArC
U.N. declares decade of ecosystem restoration to ‘make peace with nature’
Alliance gender scientist Marlène Elias says the success of land restoration strategies will depend on considering the people who live and rely on land targeted for restoration.
An Indigenous community in India’s Meghalaya state offers lessons in climate resilience
Mongabay reported on the Indigenous People’s Food Systems report published by the Alliance and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Fabulous foods fighting for survival
This slideshow covers many of the foods that are at risk due to the climate crisis, including chocolate. See slide 23 that mentions climate change’s impact on cacao production in Ghana and Ivory Coast, according to research by the Alliance.
Farmers using community seed banks to fight climate change
This story discusses recent seed fairs in Kenya’s Nyando and Kisumu county, which provided 150 farmers knowledge and access to suitable seeds of sorghum, millet and beans. The seed trials were performed by local farmers. The article features interviews with the Alliance’s Gloria Otieno and Suzanne Ngo-Eyok, the managing director of the Alliance in Africa.
Uma revolução sustentável para combater a destruição da Amazónia brasileira
This story covers Alliance work in Brazil done in collaboration with USAID and other partners in Brazil. It focuses on the Partnership Platform for the Amazon, which is private-sector supported initiative for sustainable development and conservation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Saving Hawaii's Banana Industry 'One Good Banana' At A Time
Banana scientist Gabriel Sachter-Smith, also known as “Banana Gabe,” is helping rebuild Hawaii’s banana industry with varieties that are not the standard (and threatened) Cavendish known around the world. Where does he source his plants? From the Alliance’s Musa genebank in Belgium.
From eyebrow beans to 'lost' rice: Community seedbanks are protecting China's crops
This article covers Alliance research on community seed banks in China and how they are being used to protect and promote crop diversity, which is reported to be on the decline. Phys.org, which is a global reference for science news, regularly reproduces Alliance press releases on scientific papers such as this one.
Agricultura familiar andina requiere más apoyo de políticas públicas
The Alliance’s Mark Lundy talks to SciDevNet about how smallholder farmers face barriers to market entry that limit their ability to generate income for their families. The leader of the Alliances Food Environment and Consumer Behavior research area also points out how market restrictions faced by smallholders contribute to food insecurity.
Why tea farmers should adopt sustainable agricultural practices
This opinion piece argues for climate-smart farming practices for tea production in Kenya. It mentions Alliance research pointing to how climate change is poised to negatively impact the industry. Kenya is the world’s third-largest producer of black tea.
Why new bean variety is selling like hot cake
New bean varieties developed by the Alliance get rave reviews from producers for their productivity, pest and disease resistance, above-average sale prices, and popularity among consumers.
Gaming for social good slowly gaining as a tool for shaping youth
“Let it Rain,” a campaign to gamify weather forecasting for agriculture that was developed in partnership with the Alliance, is highlighted among several video games for social good that are increasingly popular in Kenya.
Vietnam urged to transform food system amid challenges
Recent work by CGIAR centers including the Alliance highlights the road ahead for transforming food systems in Vietnam, in the story by The Star, Malaysia’s largest English-language newspaper.
Will a meat-free diet solve the climate crisis?
This story highlights research by the Alliance and the International Livestock Research Institute that discusses how a “singular focus on livestock-associated environmental impacts ignores livestock's crucial livelihood functions in smallholder systems such as nutrition, income, asset provision, insurance, and nutrient cycling.”
Researchers lobby for seed banks to ensure diversity, food security
An Alliance report presented to stakeholders from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia discusses the Open Source Seed System for beans, sorghum and finger millet for climate-change adaptation. Climate change has led to increases in pests and disease, reduced productivity and loss of genetic diversity. Community seed banks can help farmers face these challenges.
Lanzan la primera variedad de arroz biofortificado con zinc en Colombia
The Alliance was one of several organizations involved in the launch of the first zinc-biofortified rice variety released for Colombia. Developed through traditional breeding techniques, the rice variety is expected help address micronutrient deficiency in diets.
Barbara Vinceti, la restauratrice di foreste: "Baobab in Africa, boschi nelle nostre città: gli alberi curano il Pianeta"
A profile of the Alliance senior scientist Barbara Vinceti was featured on one of the most important Italian newspaper. Vinceti is defined as a “restorer of forests”, thanks to her work on repopulating woods that were cut down or disappeared because of desertification.