Healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods through greater diversity in what we grow and eat
The World Vegetable Center conducts research, builds networks, and carries out training and promotion activities to raise awareness of the role of vegetables for improved health and global poverty alleviation.
Vegetables can alleviate poverty by creating new jobs and new sources of income for farmers and landless laborers, improve health by providing essential micronutrients lacking in diets, enhance learning and working capacities of adults and children through improved diets and health, and improve the sustainability of food production practices by diversifying cropping systems. The Center’s research and development work focuses on breeding improved vegetable lines, developing and promoting safe production practices, reducing postharvest losses, and improving the nutritional value of vegetables.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE WORLD VEGETABLE CENTER
Research and development to realize the potential of vegetables for healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods.
Approximately 400 staff with around 60 internationally recruited scientists and professionals. Read more…
- Shanhua, Taiwan.
- East and Southeast Asia – Bangkok, Thailand (1992)
- Eastern and Southern Africa – Arusha, Tanzania (1992)
- South Asia – Hyderabad, India (2006)
- West and Central Africa – Dry Regions – Bamako, Mali (2007)
- West and Central Africa – Coastal and Humid Regions – Cotonou, Benin (2017)
- Central Asia – Tashkent, Uzbekistan
- Rural Development Administration (RDA), National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, Korea
- Yaounde, Cameroon
- East and Southeast Asia Research and Training Station – Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand
10 STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES
With more than 61,235 accessions of 440 species from 151 countries, the World Vegetable Center genebank includes globally important vegetables such as tomato, onion, peppers and cabbage as well as more than 10,000 accessions of traditional vegetables. Often highly nutritious, these species are typically hardy and require less fertilizer or other costly inputs to thrive. Each year the Center distributes about 10,000 seed samples to researchers across the globe. Over the past four decades this has led to the release of hundreds of new vegetable varieties with particular impact in developing countries.
For four decades the Center has conducted breeding and agronomic research to adapt globally important temperate vegetable crops to the high temperatures and weather extremes of the tropics – conditions likely to be more prevalent with climate change. It also develops and promotes traditional vegetables that are already well-adapted to the extremes of tropical climates. The Center led the development of tropically adapted tomatoes and brassicas, which made production of these crops in the tropical lowlands possible for the first time. Its research on vegetable production systems to cope with climate change includes work on flooding and drought tolerance, promoting grafting of tomatoes, peppers and other high-value crops onto flood-tolerant rootstocks of eggplant and other vegetables, and developing raised bed and covered cultivation techniques to grow tomatoes in the hot-wet season. Genes from wild relatives of tomato that thrive in arid climates are being bred into commercial tomato varieties to improve their drought tolerance.
A strong, dynamic private sector can be a powerful partner for development-oriented agricultural research. The Center works closely with the private seed sector and with companies in postharvest processing and integrated pest management. The private seed industry in Asia has grown rapidly and about three-quarters of these companies now use the Center’s lines. The Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA)-WorldVeg Vegetable Breeding Consortium, established in 2017, engages seed companies of all sizes in exploring advances in breeding and germplasm utilization. A similar consortium will be launched for Africa in 2018. In Southeast Asia and Africa, the Center has worked to develop small processing companies to add value to tomato and chili production. In India, after the Center proved the viability of pheromone-baited lures for eggplant pest control, local small and medium enterprises developed businesses to manufacture the traps. As more manufacturers became involved, the price of the lures dropped to an affordable level, and farmers, consumers, and the environment benefited.
The Center’s research has demonstrated to policymakers in Africa and Asia that vegetables are one of the most economical means of overcoming widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vegetable crops can diversify cropping systems to improve overall productivity. In Vietnam the Center studied the supply of vegetables in urban areas to advise on policies for food security and safety, and more recently has been working with ASEAN on Good Agricultural Practices for vegetable production. The Center facilitates global networks such as the ASEAN-AVRDC Regional Network for Vegetable Research and Development (AARNET) and the International Mungbean Improvement Network to shape policies and guide action on the development of the vegetable sector to strengthen economies and alleviate malnutrition. The World Vegetable Center is a member of the Association of International Agricultural Research and Development Centers (AIRCA), a nine-member consortium to promote sustainable agricultural production at a landscape level.