On 7 December 2016, Belgium signed a cooperation agreement with CGIAR. CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR Centres, including Bioversity International.
Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo said: “We are highly satisfied with the strong relations between Belgium and CGIAR. The CGIAR activities are fully in line with the new Strategy of the Belgian Development Cooperation on Agriculture and Food Security, which we are currently finalizing and which will be launched in early 2017. Belgium wants to invest, among other things, in research and innovation and wants to encourage collaborations between the CGIAR research centres and other partners of the Belgian Development Cooperation.”
Belgium is a crucial partner for Bioversity International, hosting the International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC) at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. With more than 1,500 samples of wild and edible species of bananas, the ITC is the world’s largest banana genebank, studying and safeguarding banana diversity for the benefit of current and future generations.
Bananas provide food, nutrition and income to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Research carried out at the ITC has been helping farmers and scientists all over the world to make banana farming more productive, resilient and sustainable.
On 23 January 2017, the Belgian Development Cooperation – together with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Bioversity International – will celebrate the ITC’s 30th anniversary with the event 30 years of banana research in Belgium.
For more information visit the Belgium Development Cooperation website
Photo: Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo and Elwyn Grainger-Jones, CGIAR Executive Director signing the agreement. Credit: Belgium Development Cooperation