Agriculture R&D needs strong support

7 September, 2009 by (comments)

CIAT has welcomed a recent article in the journal Science, which calls for more funding for agricultural research to protect against food shortages and price hikes. The article notes that agricultural productivity and grain yields have been falling in recent years, and that without the right investment, this could have “profound implications for food price trends in the future.”

The article follows the announcement from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that there are now more than one billion malnourished people in the world.

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Writing in Science volume 325 (4th September 2009), the authors argue that increased investment in agricultural research-and-development is “critical” for ensuring sufficient food supplies over the long term. They write: “It will contribute to the global public good by restoring and sustaining productivity growth over the long run, which in turn will mitigate hunger and poverty and, at the same time, reduce pressure on the natural resource base.”

CIAT Director-General Ruben Echeverría welcomed the findings. “This is a clear call for more support for eco-efficient agriculture,” he said. “There is little doubt farming must become more sustainable, but we must ensure that productivity also continues to rise.”

“CIAT and its partners are working hard on this: for example, our programs to develop high-yielding staple crops, with improved nutritional content and resistance to drought and disease are already helping millions of people in the tropics. But with continued support from both the public and private sectors, we can ensure we have a long lasting and far-reaching impact.”

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