There is no doubt that in the last 50 years, agricultural science has helped to overcome the threat of famine for billions of people. But a billion remain undernourished and the spectre of poverty remains. With climate change, rising food prices and a burgeoning global population, the demands on agriculture to become more efficient and productive are greater than ever.
In the midst of these complex challenges, agricultural research stands at a crossroads. The call for the international research system to be reformed is louder than ever, not just from donors seeking results-oriented research but from those who want researchers to be more accountable to farmers, and for research to be driven by the real and not perceived needs of the poor.
At the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (CGARD) held in Montpellier in March 2010, almost 1,000 delegates, including those responsible for generating as well as using research, gathered to discuss the transformation of the global research system. “We must reshape and rethink the very architecture of the agricultural system,” said Monty Jones, newly inaugurated Chair for GFAR (Global Forum for Agricultural Research). We present a selection of opinions on the priority for doing this, and what needs to be done.
Read more (New Agriculturist)