A recent survey indicated that ASTI data and information have influenced R&D budgets and policies in several African countries. International organizations have also made use of ASTI outputs. Read more @ IFPRI's Stories of Change series.
Two reports were recently released by the United Nations that discussed recent agricultural R&D trends and the need for increased support: The Report of the Secretary General on Agricultural Technology for Development and the World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation.
ASTI data and publications were featured in both reports.
FAO recently released a report on Looking Ahead in World Food and Agriculture: Perspectives to 2050. The report features a chapter, Setting meaningful investment targets in agricultural research and development: challenges, opportunities and fiscal realities, by ASTI Program Leader Nienke Beintema and Howard Elliott.
The chapter discusses:
- The problem of underinvestment in agricultural R&D
- The need for more highly trained researchers to address existing and future challenges to agriculture, including climate change, price volatility, and water scarcity
- The many common targets for investment in agriculture and agricultural R&D that exist today
On April 7, at a policy seminar at IFPRI headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nienke Beintema, ASTI program leader, presented the new IFPRI Food Policy Report on African Agricultural R&D in the New Millennium: Progress for Some, Challenges for Many. Following a brief overview of the report’s main conclusions, the seminar featured a discussion on opportunities for addressing the challenges facing African agricultural R&D systems. The seminar, chaired by Mark Rosegrant, IFPRI Division Director, also featured presentations by Eugene Terry, formerly of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) and Greg Traxler, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
A video of the seminar is available on the IFPRI website: http://www.ifpri.org/event/african-agricultural-research-and-development
The report has been picked up by a number of media outlets, including:
Voice of America: Africa's Hungriest Need Better Agricultural Research
On October 20, ASTI and ISRA hosted a seminar in Dakar to share the key findings of a recent study on trends in Senegal’s public and private sector agricultural R&D investments and capacity and to discuss the challenges of agricultural R&D in the country. Public agricultural R&D in Senegal has been negatively affected by reductions in funding and capacity since the mid-1980s. Disparities in salary levels between the public institutes and the private and higher education sectors make it increasingly difficult for ISRA and ITA to attract and retain well-qualified staff, and many of the current public sector scientists are aging (for more information see previous blog post).
The seminar was presided by Ababacar Ndoye, the Director General of ITA and it attracted the interest of a large number of stakeholders from the country’s public and private sector. The seminar’s conclusions were covered in a number of Senegalese newspapers over the next few days, including Le Soleil and Le Quotidien. Agence de Presse Sénégalaise stated that “substantial progress in agricultural development and food security had been achieved, but that these advances could be compromised if agricultural R&D investments continued to diminish.” Senegalese TV station RTS, and the Pan African station Africable also covered the event in their evening news programs and broadcast interviews with Gert-Jan Stads of ASTI and Louis Sène of ISRA. Moreover, West Africa Democracy Radio interviewed Gert-Jan Stads on trends in West African agricultural R&D investments for their English and French speaking audiences.
On August 17, ASTI and CSIR/STEPRI hosted a seminar in Accra to share the key findings of a recent study on trends in Ghana’s agricultural R&D investments and capacity and to discuss the achievements and challenges of agricultural R&D in the country. Despite the fact that Ghana’s agricultural R&D capacity and investments have seen tremendous growth over the past decade, an aging scientist pool and a boost in spending that is mainly driven by salary increases, rather than actual research costs, remain major challenges for the agencies under the CSIR umbrella. [Read more...]
Nature published a special article today on the role of agricultural science in addressing future food security. An accompanying graphic to "Food: The growing problem" presents the latest ASTI data on agricultural R&D expenditures. The article points out that total agricultural R&D investment of $25 billion accounts for only 5 percent of all science R&D spending and that increased investment will be critical to improving agricultural productivity.
The draft report of the conference Transforming Agricultural Research for Development recommends that countries invest more in agricultural research. [Read more...]
The recent Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) organized by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) in Montpellier, France, brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the direction of agricultural research and how it can contribute to increased agricultural productivity and reduced poverty and hunger in developing countries. [Read more...]