The History of the Alliance

planting seedling in Colombia

©2021 Alianza de Bioversity International y CIAT/Juan Pablo Marin García

Our effort to study food systems and advance solutions at the intersection of agriculture, environment and nutrition comes from shared experience spanning over five decades. Even if the Alliance was born in 2019 under the umbrella of a wider organization such as CGIAR, its two sides have a long tradition of global research.


International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)


The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, or CIAT) was founded in 1967 in Palmira, Colombia. Since then, in collaboration with hundreds of partners, it helped developing countries make farming more competitive, profitable, and resilient through smarter, more sustainable natural resource management.

In 1967, many poor and hungry people in the tropics were smallholder farmers. Increasing the productivity of their crops was the critical entry point for CIAT’s research. Since that time, our researchers have been concerned with nearly every aspect of tropical agriculture: the crop varieties that farmers grow, the production systems they manage, the agricultural landscapes they inhabit, the markets in which they participate and the policies that influence their options and decisions.

Bioversity International

Bioversity logo

Bioversity International was established in Italy in 1974 as the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) to coordinate an international plant genetic resources program, including emergency collecting missions, and building and expanding national, regional and international genebanks.

In 1991 it became the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and finally Bioversity International in 2006, reflecting an expanded vision of its role in agricultural and forest biodiversity and research-for-development activities.

The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

In 2019, Bioversity International and CIAT joined forces to create the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), a global organization building on their complementary mandates and long collaboration, to respond to today’s global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, and malnutrition. 

The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT delivers research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. To do so, the Alliance works with local, national and multinational partners across Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, and with the public and private sectors. With partners, the Alliance generates evidence and mainstreams innovations in large-scale programs to create food systems and landscapes that sustain the planet, drive prosperity and nourish people in a climate crisis. 

The Alliance is part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future, dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services.

Our brand

Alliance logo 2022Our logo retains elements from both individual Center logos (Bioversity International and CIAT), thus honoring our history and combined track record of more than 100 years, but presenting the Alliance as an organization operating as one, not two working in tandem. Do you need more information about our brand or want to use it? Please send a message to Victoria Rengifo.

More information

Learn more about the Alliance: