​Reducing malnutrition in India’s agri-biodiversity hotspots

The challenge

Many of India’s poor live in rural areas that are heavily dependent on agriculture. Local crops have a rich heritage of genetic diversity, but this diversity is often threatened by government policies that promote rice and wheat cultivation.This results in a disconnect between the high potential of the agricultural land and the poverty and malnutrition of the people who live on it.

The research

This project, supported by IDRC and GAC through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), seeks to improve farm productivity and increase access to nutritious food in three test regions of India that experience high food insecurity.

Researchers in India and Canada will test the sustainable use of traditional crops, vegetables, and fruit trees, and greater livestock diversity to increase income and improve food and nutrition security in rural India. Researchers will also investigate ways to increase the socio-economic empowerment of poor women, and develop tools for information-sharing among local farmers, government, and non-governmental organizations.

Not only will the research help alleviate poverty and malnutrition in the study regions, but it will have relevance to other developing countries in South Asia.

Expected outcomes

  • Increased farm productivity and greater diversity through the promotion of traditional crops, vegetables, fruit trees, and animal breeds
  • Improved food and nutrition security and higher incomes for smallholders
  • Enhanced economic opportunities for women
  • Greater information-sharing to improve agricultural practices

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

End Date

Friday, August 1, 2014


42 months

IDRC Officer

Sara Ahmed

Total funding

CA$ 4,900,000


South Asia, India, Canada

Project Leader

Dr. Nataraj (Nat) KAV


University of Alberta

Institution Website


Project Leader

Dr. V. Arivudai Nambi


M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

Institution Website