Established in 1990 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, CIIFAD engages diverse disciplines, actors and institutions to advance knowledge and practice for sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD), with partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America, initiates and supports innovative programs that contribute to improved prospects for global food security, sustainable rural development and environmental conservation around the world.

Cornell University has been a leader in international agricultural and rural development for much of the past century. CIIFAD mobilizes Cornell's academic resources, enabling faculty and students to engage in innovative, multidisciplinary work contributing to sustainable agricultural and rural development. CIIFAD undertakes to generate and share knowledge, to develop human resources, and to strengthen institutions to support this objective. CIIFAD's work is carried out by faculty members and students who contribute their time and effort to collaborative programs.

Though CIIFAD's activities target poverty and the environment, its scope is necessarily broad, encompassing and integrating technical, social and institutional dimensions. To deal with complex and interconnected sets of issues, CIIFAD's mode of operation is collaborative, interdisciplinary and problem-oriented. In addition to working at the policy level, many CIIFAD initiatives operate at the interface between research and community development. CIIFAD endeavors not only to foster adaptive research that leads to innovative, practical solutions at the field level, but to ensure scaling up of proven strategies and for wider impact.