Support to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas
Because roots, tubers, and bananas are food crops primarily traded in local markets, their prices are not subject to the volatility that affects global markets for staple grains such as wheat and maize. Their production is often on a smaller scale, with much of the work done by women. While these crops make up a lower percentage of total calories produced worldwide than staple grains, they constitute a higher percentage of the calories consumed by extremely poor families. Despite their strategic importance for food security, research on these crops is underfunded. The Roots, Tubers, and Bananas for Food Security and Income program represents one of the first systematic attempts to address the production, marketing, and consumption of these staple foods. It will increase access to genetic resources, improve research capacity for these crops, heighten researchers' responsiveness to end users (particularly women), and foster partnerships between research organizations. The results will include improved food security, more resilient farming systems, a reduced environmental footprint, and increased gender equity.