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  • 1. Major Scientific Achievements in and beyond the CGIAR in Latin America and the Caribbean; Reflections and Lessons Science Forum CGIAR Annual General Meeting December 4, 2007, Beijing, China Jesus Moncada de la Fuente
  • 2. Reflections and Lessons
    • Agricultural research achievements
    • Today’s challenge: to satisfy news demand for a more diverse, holistic and complex research agenda
    • The evolution of research institutions and policy
    • Public awareness and support
  • 3. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
    • The region has a rich tradition of agricultural innovations, dating back to Pre-Columbian times.
    • Today, public and private institutions continue to do research and transfer technology.
  • 4. Latin America: The c radle of the CGIAR System
    • In 1943, Mexico & the Rockefeller Foundation created the Office of Special Studies (OEE).
    • In the 1950s the OEE’s success fostered the creation of National Institutes for Agricultural Research in Mexico and other LAC countries.
    • And inspired the foundation of IRRI & CIMMYT, and ultimately of the CGIAR system.
  • 5.  
  • 6. The Shuttle Breeding Strategy
    • Used Mexico’s diverse ecological regions to apply strong selection pressure to wheat lines.
    • Resulted in varieties with wide global adaptation, which India, Pakistan, and others used successfully.
    • By 1950, Mexico was self-sufficient in wheat.
    • The Green Revolution had begun.
    Source: Agricultural Research in “El Horno – CEVAMEX”. Where it all began. An Overview, México. INIFAP. Special Issue. No. 2. September 2004.
  • 7. Human capital was developed
    • Shuttle breeding required scientists to travel to various breeding sites to track progress in wheat line selections.
    • The personal sacrifice produced gratifying rewards.
    • A new World-System was being built, combining international collaboration,
    • applied science, and training.
    Source: Agricultural Research in “El Horno – CEVAMEX”. Where it all began. An Overview, México. INIFAP. Special Issue. No. 2. September 2004.
  • 8. The Initial Objective: Food Security
    • The National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) put science to work from the start:
    • They targeted staple crops, and focused on improving yields and quality through plant breeding, and better management practices;
    • Genetic resistance to pests and disease reduced the need for purchased inputs;
    • Scientists and producers collaborated on staple crop breeding strategies.
    • Access to free, improved germplasm and tools
    • developed by CIMMYT, CIAT, CIP & other CGIAR
    • centers contributed to NARIs achievements.
  • 9. Soil and water constraints were addressed
    • Soil acidity is a widespread characteristic of
    • high rainfall areas of Latin America’s tropics.
    • Improved maize varieties, tolerant of high aluminum concentrations, were developed.
    • So were water and fertilizer-efficient staple crop varieties.
  • 10. Soil Erosion
    • To manage its soil’s sustainably, Latin America must reduce soil erosion and the accelerated loss of soil organic matter.
    • Reduced or zero tillage practices have been developed or adapted to local conditions.
    • A wealth of soil biology / fertility knowledge has been acquired along with rational, cost effective, inorganic and organic fertilizer practices.
    • Green manures and more effective legume inoculants for atmospheric nitrogen fixation have been adopted.
  • 11. Integrated Pest Management
    • National and international centers have developed and promoted Integrated Pest Management systems (IPM):
    • A cost effective, environmentally sensitive approach, IPM is less hazardous to humans and environments.
    • Staple and industrial crops, fruits, vegetables and export oriented commodities, as well as livestock and forestry have benefited.
  • 12. Agricultural Innovation outside the CGIAR
    • Local public & private programs have generated or imported technologies for non-CGIAR priority crops, such as, sugarcane, coffee, cacao, cotton, fruits & vegetables.
    • Private industry has developed transgenic varieties (gmos) in such crops as, s oybeans, cotton, canola & vegetable seeds.
    Public & private sector collaboration is a welcome challenge in LAC.
  • 13. Technological Spillovers
    • In Latin America’s southern cone high growth commodities like: soybeans, chicken, beef, and biofuels have benefited from technological spillovers.
    • They also benefited from innovations generated locally by public and private organizations.
  • 14. Assessing the Achievements
    • LAC successfully generated and adapted science based technological innovations that contributed greatly to agricultural productivity.
    • However,
    • There were marked regional differences .
    • The achievements carried significant environmental and social costs .
    • The main beneficiaries were medium and large , market-oriented producers, particularly the better equipped and organized .
  • 15.
    • More conscious of health and environmental issues and social inequities, today’s society has new expectations and demands that call for a more complex and holistic agenda.
      • The NARIs are not yet fully satisfying these new demands.
    • To do so, the NARIs must find ways to reconcile apparently conflicting objectives :
      • Competitiveness and sustainability
      • Social and cultural inclusion
    Society’s New Demands
  • 16. S trategic objectives for Latin America’s NARIs
    • The region needs research strategies and innovations that:
    • Favor minimum input, environmentally sensitive, equitable, and agroecological approaches.
    • Respond to the need of specific commodities, production systems, and water basins.
    • Help to increase agricultural products’ value added.
    • Support market and subsistence - oriented production systems and new, high-value, export-oriented agricultural products.
  • 17. Latin America’s Regional Research Agendas
    • To satisfy the new public demand, Latin America must produce regionally relevant public goods, specifically addressing,
        • Food safety
        • Nutrition / health
        • Plant and animal health
        • Water efficiency
        • Biodiversity
        • Waste & Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS)
        • Air Pollution
  • 18. Global Environmental Concerns
    • Several issues — shared globally — add to the complexity of such a new agenda:
      • Deterioration of the natural resource base
      • Global warming
      • A looming energy crisis
    • Such a complex agenda will test
    • regional and global solidarity.
  • 19. Inter-Institutional Cooperation
    • No NARI has the capacity to tackle such a diverse agenda alone.
    • Society could benefit from better coordinated research initiatives and inter institutional synergies.
    • This can be done through existing organizations and networks at the national, sub-regional, regional and continental levels.
  • 20. The evolution of research institutions and policy Innovation and participatory development strategies
  • 21. From NARI s to NARS s
    • The current trend for NARIs to evolve into National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) is commendable. It deserves strong public and private support.
    • Participatory development networks, organized by commodity, food or agro-industries, or water basin, should be encouraged.
    • Innovative participatory technology transfer strategies, should be supported.
  • 22. Based on Producers’ Opinions …
    • Technology is not the only factor limiting agricultural productivity and sustainability.
    • Experience suggests that innovation is also needed in: marketing, credit, infrastructure, producer organizations, and education.
    • Generating such innovations and participatory development strategies requires concerted efforts by governments and communities.
  • 23. Public and Private Sector Interaction Public–Private Hybrid Organizations
  • 24. Mexico’s Fundación Produce Model
    • This institutional innovation in Mexico speaks for a vital stakeholder base with a strong political voice in support of agricultural research and technology transfer.
    • Produce has supported the transformation of public agricultural research organizations and influenced the design and realization of agricultural research and innovation policies.
    • Over the last ten years Fundación Produce has
    • influenced relations between producers and the federal and state governments.
    Source: Ekboir, J.M, et al, 2006. Las Fundaciones Produce a diez años de su creación: pensando en el futuro. Informe Final de Evaluación. International Food Policy Research Institute. (IFPRI). Coordinadora Nacional de las Fundaciones Produce. (COFUPRO A.C.) México D.F.
  • 25. Public Awareness
    • Improved dialogue between NARIs and its greater constituency is needed to create and improve awareness of the economic, social and ecological impacts of agricultural research.
    • Transparency and accountability should guide the interaction.
  • 26. Key Considerations in Designing Agricultural Research Strategy for the Future
  • 27. Latin America’s challenge : A pro - poor agricultural research agenda
    • Agricultural research has alleviated some rural and urban poverty by lowering food prices and increasing wages & employment in the nonagricultural sector, however,
    • It has not eradicated poverty, which may be worsening as markets liberalize and agriculture’s importance diminishes relative to other sectors.
  • 28. Latin America’s challenge : A pro - poor agricultural research agenda
    • “ Until recently reducing poverty was a secondary goal of agricultural research”.
    • “ The primary focus was on increasing food supplies and reducing food prices”.
    • “ This was often good news for the poor, as increased productivity lowered food prices and more jobs, cutting poverty significantly”
    • “ However, benefits did not materialize for all poor people, and some indigent people were negatively impacted”
    Source: Meinzen-Dick, R., M.Adato, L.Haddad and P.Hazell. Science and Poverty. An Interdisciplinary Assesment of the Impact of Agricultural Research. Washington, D.C. IFPRI.2004
  • 29.
    • Is it fair to expect scientists incorporate equity into an already complex research agenda?
    • Or to blame them when apparently scale-neutral technology benefits large farmers or rich consumers due to government policies they don’t control.
    • Nickel (1989) postulates that “research policy and strategy can be designed in a manner so the benefits contribute to poverty alleviation”.
    A Query… Source: Nickel, J. L. 1989. Research Management for Development. Open Letter to a New Agricultural Research Director. . Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura. IICA. San José de Costarica.
  • 30. Stable Production as a Pro-poor Strategy
    • “ Pro poor agricultural researchers must look beyond simply boosting productivity.”
    • “ Stable yields for example, may actually be more important to farmers than higher but more variable yields (Mexico’s case) as they make people less vulnerably economically.”
    • “ By breeding new crop varieties –such as those resistant to drought, flooding, and pests– agricultural researchers may reduce farmers’ vulnerability to climatic and biological shocks.”
    Source: Bellon, M.R. 2003. Métodos de investigación participativa para evaluar tecnologías: Manual para científicos que trabajan con agricultores. Mexico, D.F. CIMMYT.
  • 31. Agricultural Research is No Silver Bullet
    • Agricultural research by itself cannot solve all the socio-economical problems and inequities plaguing the rural sector.
    • However,
    • More sharply focused research strategies can be designed to contribute to the alleviation of poverty and/or its negative consequences.
    • Latin America’s challenge:
    • a pro-poor agricultural research agenda
  • 32. A New Green Revolution ?
    • New developments in molecular biology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics etc, offer new opportunities to solve problems in Latin America.
    • However, such Hi-Tech endeavours are associated with high costs and a high degree of privatization and patenting.
    • The large commercial Hi-Tech companies will probably focus on crops and animal products with large markets.
    A Trust Fund is needed to finance frontier knowledge utilization…Regional and global solidarity will be tested
  • 33. Funding for research in Latin America is declining
    • Since the mid-1980s, budget restricting macro-economic and sector-specific policies have limited public funds for R&D;
    • The LAC region currently invests less than 0.5% of its total agricultural income in R&D, well below what is advisable;
    • Richer countries have better research intensity ratios; smaller and poorer countries are slipping behind.
    Source: Hertford, R., P.G. Pardey and S.R. Wood. 2004. A Strategic Look at Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Prospects for Research and Development. IFPRI. BID. FONTAGRO.
  • 34. Returns on Agricultural R&D
    • Agricultural research is one of the best investments for developing countries to meet their goals.
      • Returns on agricultural R&D investment in LAC and elsewhere have been high, suggesting that more, not less, funding for research is indicated.
    • A concerted commitment by government and society is required to fund agricultural research more adequately.
    Source: Hertford, R., P.G. Pardey and S.R. Wood. 2004. A Strategic Look at Agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Prospects for Research and Development. IFPRI. BID. FONTAGRO .
  • 35. FONTAGRO
    • Launched in 1998, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank.
    • A unique strategy created by LAC countries to finance technology development for the rural sector.
    • A praiseworthy initiative.
  • 36. In Conclusion
    • 1- Revalue Agriculture and the Rural Space
    • Societies and governments face the challenge of recognizing that agriculture and the rural environment are not only engines, for economic development that generate employment, income, and social stability.
    • They also play other roles essential for the quality of both rural and urban life, such as helping to maintain ecological balances and providing opportunities for recreation.
  • 37. In Conclusion
    • 2 - Agriculture concerns society as a whole
    • Agricultural problems concern not only producers, but society as a whole.
    • The current rural-urban interface is unbalanced, unequal and ecologically unsustainable.
    • Agriculture and the rural–urban space deserve to be holistically developed, given their decisive influence on the wellbeing of present and future generations.
  • 38. Thank You ! [email_address]