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MarketWatch™ Reporter Ian Berry on Just Released GHI Research Issue Brief
MarketWatch™ agribusiness reporter Ian Berry wrote a brief article (excerpts below) summarizing the just released GHI issue brief on the need for improved research funding, structure and collaboration in order to increase the rate of agricultural productivity to double agricultural output in the next 40 years.
Berry outlined a few key elements from the issue brief in his summary.
Here are a few important details that could be added to build on to the story:
- While GHI does have trepidation about advocating for an increase in public funding for agricultural research in this time of belt-tightening, hunger and food security issues are global problems that require global solutions. To this end, the issue brief reflects on the need to efficiently direct available funding for the greatest return on investment in the long-term, and agricultural research has proven to have notable impact and returns, in some cases 20 to 1. By enhancing research structure and collaboration, the results of research can be widely disseminated and put into practice in order to benefit countries and regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is great potential to increase the rate of agricultural productivity.
- The GHI founding members naturally direct their research based on market forces, and currently spend roughly $10 million each day in combined research and development. Increasing funding for public sector research would allow for critical research to be conducted in areas where the potential returns are years, and in some cases decades, away. Additionally, public sector research can be directed into important crops or technologies that are not commercial in nature, but nonetheless important for farmers around the world to address hunger and food security.
- With the gap between supply and demand smaller than ever, localized or regional extreme weather events and/or market changes have rapid impact across the global food supply. Research can support necessary changes in agriculture to address the ability to maintain or even potentially increase agricultural output in areas of flooding, drought, or extreme temperatures.
They said it best:
In the GHI news release announcing the issue brief, World Wildlife Fund (a GHI Consultative Partner) Senior Vice President of Market Transformation, Dr. Jason Clay, notes, “Half of the world’s farmers are producing below average results and cannot even feed their own families. Learning how to leverage research and data is critical to stimulate innovation, identify new ideas and improve productivity.”
And GHI Executive Director, Dr. William G. Lesher, stated, “With a surging global population and new demands on food crops, the inadequate and declining support for basic food and agricultural research must be addressed quickly, as the research process takes a minimum of ten years from laboratory to field.”
April 20, 2011, 2:11 p.m. EDT
Agricultural companies call for more USDA funding
By Ian Berry
“Support for agricultural and food research is “totally inadequate and on the decline,” the Global Harvest Initiative said in a policy paper released Wednesday. The group is a partnership formed by Monsanto Co., DuPont Co., Deere & Co. and Archer Daniels Midland Co.”
“The group notes “considerable trepidation” in calling for increased research funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture given the country’s fiscal problems, but said USDA research supports the entire global agriculture industry.”
“The group said that spending on USDA research is far outstripped by spending on the National Institute of Health and National Science Foundation.”