Generation Challenge Programme (GCP)

GCP was a 10-year (2004–2013) initiative with the mission of using genetic diversity and advanced crop science to improve crops for greater food security in the developing world.

The programme was created in 2003 by CGIAR (the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research).

It closed in December 2014, leaving a legacy of research information on GCP’s Sunset Blog.



What we did

We wrote 35 feature stories to document the use of advanced plant science techniques in improving food security in the developing world.

The stories cover the trials and tribulations of plant researchers worldwide who worked for 10 years to advance the breeding potential of 21 essential food crops – beans, cassava, chickpeas, cowpeas, groundnuts, maize, rice, sorghum, wheat, bananas and plantains, barley, coconuts, finger millet, foxtail millet, lentils, pearl millet, pigeonpeas, potatoes, soya beans, sweet potatoes and yams.

The stories are published on GCP’s Sunset Blog.

Our stories synthesise the research, paint portraits of the people involved, chronicle the involvement of international institutes, and offer insights into the complexities of plant genetics.

Our role included:

  • reading source material
  • interviewing 80 researchers and partners
  • writing the text – about 80,000 words in total
  • sourcing images
  • seeking approval for all content
  • copyediting.



Although its parent species are native to Asia (Oryza sativa) and certain parts of Africa (Oryza glaberrima), centuries of trade and export have made rice commonplace in many cultures worldwide. Today, rice is cultivated on every continent except Antarctica.                                             Illustration: R Okono from Autumn in Africa