Sahel, drone view © J. Bourgoin, CIRAD

Geostrategic priorities

CIRAD is both a research organization and a French public development aid instrument. Our primary operating zones are Africa and the Europe-Mediterranean-Africa axis, followed by the entire intertropical zone, including the French overseas regions.

Our research is guided by a scientific, geographical and partnership framework. Within that framework, Africa and the Europe-Mediterranean-Africa axis are our main geostrategic priorities. In those areas, CIRAD is the principal instrument of French public development aid through research and innovation, in the fields of agricultural production, rural development, and environmental and health protection.

We pay particular attention to the countries in the Sahel zone (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad), in support of initiatives by the Sahel Alliance and in keeping with the Ouagadougou Declaration adopted by CIRAD and its partners in September 2018.

CIRAD’s operations in Africa are structured around six regional offices: five in Africa and one covering the Mediterranean.

The priority given to this geographical zone is also reflected in the number of staff members on secondment, missions and projects there (60% of our overseas postings and 43% of our projects are in Africa).

Our priority: Africa

  • 60% of our overseas postings are to Africa
  • 43% of CIRAD’s projects are based in Africa

Partnerships in the intertropical zone

CIRAD has a remit to contribute to more global sustainable development, hence its involvement in other intertropical regions: Central and Latin America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.
Our presence on the ground in more than 50 countries enables us to tackle transitions and challenges of this intertropical zone and their links with global issues: climate change, urbanization, food system transformation, health crises, and increasingly globalized agriculture and trade.
To address not just local, but regional and global issues, CIRAD’s work in certain emerging tropical countries encompasses various operations, such as combatting deforestation in the Amazon, and conducting studies in countries with biodiversity hotspots. In some countries, it pools its resources and the knowledge generated with other French partners, such as INRAE.
Our operations are structured around two regional offices in Southeast Asia (Continental Southeast Asia and the Southeast Asian Islands) and two in Latin America (Brazil and Southern Cone Countries and Latin America).

A longstanding presence in the French overseas regions

The French overseas regions are hugely important for CIRAD, in terms of the number of employees (some 350) and the proportion of projects based there (16%), as well as the geographical area covered by its partnerships and the existence of innovative infrastructures.
Our main mission in the French overseas regions is science. The aim is to work on issues specific to the territories concerned to produce results that can subsequently be rolled out to other zones. The circular bioeconomy in an island context (Réunion), including organic matter recycling, is a good example.
Our next mission is to support local agricultural value chains, their diversification and their sustainability, by means of the agroecological transition. This is demonstrated by our support of the banana and sugarcane value chains.
Lastly, we conduct research and training in partnership with neighbouring countries (in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean), notably via the animal health surveillance networks we have built with our partners (CaribVet, One Health OI).
CIRAD has close links with research organizations, particularly universities, public policymakers (States and territorial authorities), professional groups (such as the banana producers’ collective UGPBAN in Guadeloupe and Martinique and the eRcane sugarcane research centre), and players from the agricultural sector (Chambers of Agriculture, producers’ organizations, technical institutes and firms).
CIRAD’s operations in the French overseas regions are structured around two regional offices: French West Indies, French Guiana and Caribbean and Réunion-Mayotte and Indian Ocean.