CABI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to work together and improve the livelihoods of 500 million smallholder farmers while easing the global food crisis.

The partnership will see CABI and the FAO working more closely together to help strengthen plant production and protection for sustainable crop production systems. It will also help to improve science and evidence-informed policy processes and science communication.

Other elements of the agreement will see both parties collaborating more on research and development and agricultural advisory services. This includes complementary extension approaches, such as Farmer Field Schools and plant clinics, which provide information on bioprotection solutions to tackle crop pests and diseases as part of Integrated Pest Management.

In addition, the collaboration will lead to joint activities on early warning for pest outbreaks and on pesticide risk reduction.

The MoU, signed at the FAO’s Headquarters in Rome, Italy, builds upon CABI’s work in collaboration with its 49-Member Countries, donors and other partners, to help alleviate hunger, poverty, gender inequality, climate change, and diversity loss as outlined in its member-led Medium-Term Strategy 2023-2025.

The signing of the agreement preceded an interactive discussion involving Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director, Global Operations, around the importance of partnerships in achieving global food security.


Dr Ulrich Kulhmann and Dr Janny Vos from CABI (third and fourth right of picture) at the signing of the MoU with FAO with Dr Ismahane Elouafi, FAO Chief Scientist (second right) looking on (Credit: FAO/Gianfranco Chirichilli).

The discussion also involved Paulo Alberto Nussenzveig, Provost of Research and Innovation, the University of Sao Paulo (USP), and Teodoro Miano, Secretary General, the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM).

Dr Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist, FAO, said, “Today, we gathered here to celebrate the power of transformative partnerships and their role in revolutionizing agrifood systems by helping us to harness science, technology, and all types of innovation.

“These partnerships hold immense potential in accelerating the transformation of agrifood systems, ultimately leading us towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the noble aim of leaving no one behind.”

Feeding the planet through sustainable agriculture

CABI has a long history of working in partnership with the FAO to help smallholder farmers sustainably grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases. The MoU ensures a commitment to future research and project collaborations.

CABI and the FAO have been working together prior to the new commitment to enhance research and development and agricultural extension and advisory services.

Dr Kuhlmann said, “We are delighted to sign this high-level agreement with the FAO to cement our shared commitment to help improve food security through sustainable agriculture.

“Key to this collaboration is working in partnership to help create more climate-resilient crop production systems.

“This can be achieved through initiatives such as CABI’s PlantwisePlus programme and digital resources which help smallholder farmers identify, monitor, and mitigate crop pests and diseases more sustainably.”

The PlantwisePlus programme works to help countries predict, prepare for, and prevent threats from pests and diseases to help reduce crop losses. It provides support to countries and smallholder farmers, so they produce more to meet the increasing global demand for quality food in a changing climate.

Through the programme, CABI also helps countries improve their plant health systems, so that they can prevent and manage pest outbreaks more effectively, and places emphasis on putting more information into the hands of women and youth.

CABI has successfully increased plant health knowledge and helped farmers across the world grow healthier crops using natural solutions such as biopesticides and biological control of crop pests, helping them to use fewer chemical pesticides and implement more agricultural best practice.

The CABI BioProtection Portal helps growers and agricultural advisors identify, source, and correctly apply registered biocontrol and biopesticide products against crop pests with less harmful impacts upon human health and the environment.


Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann and Dr Janny Vos join Dr Ismahane Elouafi and representatives from the FAO, the University of Sao Paulo and CIHEAM (Credit: ©FAO/Gianfranco Chirichilli).

Additional information

Main image:  Dr Ismahani Elouafi, Chief Scientist, FAO,  with CABI’s Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann and after the signing of the MoU (Credit: ©FAO/Gianfranco Chirichilli).

CABI’s statement on the global food crisis

You can read the statement ‘CABI’s support to food and nutrition security: ensuring sufficient, safe and nutritious food in the current crisis and over the long term’ here.

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