CSIRO and HarvestChoice

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and HarvestChoice are now working together to apply innovative, “bio-economic” approaches to improve the food security of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Together, our organizations will merge biological, environmental and economic tools to track global food pests and better target strategic investments to improve global food security. 

Our essential goals include:

  • ...much-improved modeling and mapping of critical food-source crops around the globe, yielding information at a level of detail never before available.
  • ...tracking the progress and predicting the future paths of devastating crop and livestock pests that threaten farmers and food supplies in places most vulnerable to hunger.

This video features CSIRO's Darren Kriticos and HC's Jason Beddow, who have already been collaborating on our pest- and crop-modeling work.

We'll be using this page to highlight the ongoing results of our work together.

“We’re looking to develop a partnership where we take advantage of HarvestChoice’s economics expertise to harmonize with our crop- and pest-modeling capabilities,” says CSIRO principal research scientist Darren Kriticos. “HarvestChoice brings a cutting-edge economic perspective to their assessment of technological innovations in Africa. At CSIRO we've got advanced modeling techniques – crop modeling at the paddock scale, and bioclimatic modeling at a broader scale. We’re looking up upscale insights from the paddock to economic strategy.”

“With limited resources to tackle the productivity problems confronting sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia, we need to be more efficient,” says HarvestChoice chief investigator Philip Pardey. “Our work together will evaluate the tradeoffs and payoffs involved in making strategic investments and directing on-the-ground interventions. Making more evidenced-based decisions will help make better use of the scarce time and money required to spur productivity development.”

In particular, we'll be working closely with CSIRO's Sustainable Agriculture Flagship. Preliminary work between the two organizations has focused on understanding the risks from Ug99, a virulent form of wheat stem rust fungus spreading outward from eastern Africa. We are also beginning work on reducing the human health risks from aflatoxins in maize (cancer-causing toxins produced by a fungus). Future targets of the collaboration include the many pests that affect the health of livestock in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Through this partnership CSIRO and HarvestChoice will work with several partners across sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia.


HarvestChoice, 2012. "CSIRO and HarvestChoice: Our Partnership to Take on Global Hunger." International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC., and University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Available online at http://harvestchoice.org/node/2254.

Feb 21, 2012