CIRAD has one main objective: to build sustainable farming systems capable of feeding ten billion human beings by 2050 while preserving the environment.

It considers that to develop long term and draft appropriate public policies, societies have to participate in generating the knowledge they need. That development through research relies on the ability of the countries concerned to build a suitable higher education and research system that is supported by the authorities but remains independent.

On a local and a global level, through its long-term partnerships, it contributes to the development of farming systems that benefit all, and particularly smallholders, who make up the majority of farmers.