From a total of 391,000 known plant species, 5,538 are known to have been used for human food since the origin of agriculture. Out of these, just three—rice, wheat, and maize—provide more than 50% of the world’s plant-derived calories. The reduction of agricultural biodiversity in global food systems is of increasing concern—leading to a lack of available foods to constitute diversified diets, particularly in the developing world.
Bioversity International leverages the potential of diverse crop species and varieties in order to strengthen food security, increase access to nutritionally-adequate diets, build resilience to crop production, and help communities to diversify local food production.
We work with farmers to increase their food security, both directly and indirectly, and improve their access to markets. By increasing the markets for diverse species, farmers perceive the incentives to cultivate them and expand their livelihoods. Along with this indirect strengthening of food security, communities also benefit directly from consumption of diverse and nutritious species and varieties.