New cooperation in agricultural research: Does it stand a chance?

Global food security, poverty reduction and conservation of natural resources pose increasingly complex challenges for agricultural research, calling for new alliances among state-supported research, development policy, the private sector, and donors and patrons. Monosectoral research must give way to multidisciplinary programmes.
 
Dr. H.-Jochen de Haas
Ministry for Economic Cooperation
and Development, BMZ
Bonn, Germany
DeHaas@bmz.bund400.de

Archive, Edition 2001/01

Agricultural research

Is research a global public good?

Research, and in particular biological research, today is very likely to be patented and thus may not benefit the poor in the developing countries. It is no longer a public good. This heavily contradicts with the initial objective of biological or agricultural research to contribute to food security and poverty alleviation. This situation calls for new initiatives to fund public research in general and national and international agricultural research systems in particular.
 
Prof. Per Pinstrup-Andersen
General Director
International Food Policy Research
Institute (IFPRI)
2033 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C., USA

Agricultural research has no lobby!

The recent drastic reductions in government funding have demonstrated once more that agricultural research - and particularly international agricultural research - has no lobby in Germany. But why not? Is the lacking lobby solely a problem of agricultural research per se, or is it also one which applies generally to rural development in developing countries?
 
Cornelis van Tuyll
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Rural Development Division
Eschborn, Germany
Cornelis.tuyll@gtz.de

The responsibility of government-financed agricultural research

»Agriculture« has come to have unfavourable connotations in Germany. In the minds of many people it evokes government subsidies, backwardness and economic inefficiency. The future prospects of agriculture are judged by the fact that some 15,000 farming operations are abandoned in Germany each year. This poor image has a negative impact on German agricultural research for development. The 50-percent reduction in the German contribution to international agricultural research - one aspect of budget cuts to the year 2002 - is the most recent manifestation of this trend.
 
Dr. Klaus Lampe
Frankfurt, Germany
KLANLAMPE@aol.com

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research from an NGO perspective
Many people and organisations concerned with agricultural research and development are still unaware of the creation of a Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), or have only a vague idea what it might be. In this article, a member of a German-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes ecologically-oriented agriculture examines the process of building the GFAR and describes the response of NGOs.
 
Ann Waters-Bayer
AGRECOL e.V.
Rohnsweg 56
37085 Göttingen

Future Harvest: creating awareness of the need for agricultural research

Too often, the public and policymakers think of agricultural research only in terms of efforts to produce a better potato or a faster maturing rice variety. Too many remain unaware of the links between agricultural research and peace, economic growth, the environment, health, and population. Initiated by the 16 research centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Future Harvest promotes the importance of international agricultural research by firmly establishing these links through international studies and other research and then communicating them through an innovative outreach program.
 
Barbara Alison Rose
Executive Director
2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Sustainable forestry in The Gambia

The role and achievements of international agricultural research have been described as »one of the world's best kept secrets.« The vision of the Crawford Fund is a world in which this secret has been revealed, and in which the global research system is adequately funded.
 
Don Mentz
Executive Director
The Crawford Fund
Victoria 3052, Australia
crawford@mira.net

Does research contribute to rural development?

Agricultural research has to demonstrate that it actually contributes to rural development. This is a formidable task that requires not only a careful design of evaluation methods but also significant managerial efforts.
 
Andreas Springer-Heinze
Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Rural Development Division
Eschborn, Germany
 
Dr. Susanne Gura
Burghofstr. 116
Bonn, Germany
 
Isaac J. Minde
Regional Coordinator ECAPAPA
Entebbe, Uganda

A new role for the CG system in Africa?

Africa has a large number of small countries, with many eco-systems, and - above all - with many very poor national agricultural research institutions. This requires a new organizational approach of international agricultural research: the centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) should be united into one African research institute, in order to support African agricultural researchers and their priority activities more directly, to be able to allocate funds more efficiently and avoid any further competition between the centers.
 
Dr. Christian Bonte-Friedheim
Secretary General
3rd International Crop Science Congress
Berlin, Germany

Ten years of transistion

The TRANSFORM Programme and agricultural promotion in Central and Eastern European Countries
Accounting for as much as 16 percent of the gross domestic product and 25 percent of employment, the agricultural sector is considerably more significant in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries than in the EU. Food security for the people of these countries is closely tied to rural development. This is why one aim of the German TRANSFORM programme is to support CEE-country efforts to solve the most pressing problems in the agricultural sector.
 
Dr. Rolf Hedtke
Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau
Frankfurt, Germany
Rolf.Hedtke@kfw.de

Hopes and realities: Why poverty is on the rise

In the erstwhile socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, hopes were high that democracy and a market economy would bring about rapid improvements in living conditions. The 1990s showed, however, that the shift from a planned to a market-based economic system would take much longer than originally anticipated. In some of the transforming countries, the desired economic upturn has not even begun yet. The number of people who are losing out is correspondingly high. Poverty is no longer exclusively the problem of the classic developing countries but has also come to affect transforming countries as well.
 
Dr Peter Wehrheim
Centre for Development Research
University of Bonn
Bonn, Germany
P.Wehrheim@uni-bonn.de

Examples from Russia, Hungary and Estonia. Cooperatives in a new light

The radical political and economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the transition processes accompanying them pose a particular challenge to the concept of cooperatives. Until the end of the 1980s, cooperatives - according to common understanding in Communist countries - were inseparably bound up with socialist ideology and remain for many decision-makers and for the population itself primarily relics of the old system. Friedrich-Wilhelm Raiffeisen and Hermann Schultze-Delitzsch' || 's cooperative concept must be freed from socialist ideology and understood in its original form.
 
Dr. Paul Armbruster
Deutscher Genossenschafts- und
Raiffeisenverband e. V. (DGRV)
Bonn, Germany

Transition Processes in Post-Apartheid South Africa

South African society must come to grips with a transition process which differs in several respects from that of the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe and is even more complex. In Eastern Europe, dictatorships are being replaced by parliamentary democracies, and centrally planned economies are being supplanted by the market-driven forces of free enterprise. In South Africa, however, the focus of reform must be not only to consolidate democratic structures and create a market-oriented economy, but to ensure racial integration as well.
 
Josef Grimm
CIRD GTZ
Stellenbosch, South Africa
 
Robert Kressirer
Office of the Premier
Eastern Cape
Bisho, South Africa
 
Dr. Theo Rauch
Department of Provincial and Local Government
Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa