Delivering Sustainable Food Systems in Asia and the Pacific

Penang, Malaysia, hosts the Alliance’s regional hub for Asia and the Pacific.

Our operations in Asia and the Pacific contribute to our global work and mandate on harnessing agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transforming food systems

Spanning most subregions in Asia and the Pacific, and covering multiple ecosystems, landscapes, needs, and economies, our Asia-based research team operates on a wide range of disciplines.

By drawing on decades of experience working at global and local scales, our scientists are focusing on supporting food systems and landscapes at the country level, with a particular focus on finding short-to-medium-term integrated solutions that can drive impact, and improve the life and wellbeing of all.

We use this capacity to support the Asia and Pacific regions, helping local governments, partners, and stakeholders address various urgent themes at the intersection of agriculture, nutrition, and the environment.

Our work to improve food systems in Asia and the Pacific

South Asia

We work on key development priorities such as improving diets, addressing climate risks, using digital tools and big data to foster key initiatives on agrobiodiversity and landscape monitoring, mainstreaming of local crop varieties.

Southeast Asia and China

By designing more sustainable production & distribution systems, addressing forest degradation, and better water management practices we improve the wellbeing of rural-urban communities, also fostering youth entrepreneurship and promoting climate action.


Our work is enhancing diet quality for island communities, and streamlining policies towards better food system performance.

Central Asia/West Asia

We are addressing land degradation and de-risking farming and food systems, as tools to support and enhance critical livelihoods. What’s more, we are fostering post-conflict and disaster recovery practices, tied to conflict and poverty-related migration.

Flagship initiatives in Asia and the Pacific

In Asia and the Pacific, we continuously work with partners to make critical contributions towards the SDGs and unlocking robust, science-based results.


We led extensive work supporting public and private investors in designing and implementing investments and policies in climate-smart agriculture and sustainable land use. We provided assistance to set up climate services systems, offering tailored agro-climatic advisory to farmers. Through our support, countries find ways to invest in climate-smart agriculture and better achieve their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).


We built substantial work characterizing local and national food systems in Southeast and South Asia. We developed actionable policy recommendations at the intersections of food production, markets, diets, and consumption in various communities.


We addressed the issue of diminishing agrobiodiversity in food systems and diets by generating substantial food composition data, identifying policy innovations and new emerging markets. We also revamped traditional foodways, promoting increased consumption of underutilized crops in South Asia.


We contributed to safeguarding and targeted the use of unique agrobiodiversity: temperate fruit/nut tree crops in Central Asia; traditional crops resilient to environmental change in Nepal. We improved smallholder seed systems, diversifying access to adapted crop varieties in India. In China, we used biodiversity to increase the productivity and resilience of agro-pastoral ecosystems.


We are making strides across nations and sub-regions to ensure conservation and restoration of valuable indigenous tree species like Rosewoods in the Mekong region and developing approaches to make quality seeds and seedlings available for land restoration. We work closely with the Asia-Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN), a network of 15 countries to support sustainable forest management and restoration. In parallel, we are forging partnerships on the global, regional, and national level in using agroecology for improved soil health and sustainable farming systems.


Working with partners through multi-country platforms, we supported smallholder farmers in designing and managing sustainable yet profitable farming systems, minimizing negative environmental impacts, and identifying new markets – also as a form of risk mitigation. Our focus is on cassava, banana, and forage-based systems.


We have been actively involved in the development of the ASEAN-CGIAR research programme that aims to engage with relevant stakeholders in the agri-food sector of ASEAN member states to discuss national and regional needs for future food systems transformations. In parallel, we are also working with partners to develop a Pacific-CGIAR research strategy.