Monday, January 17, 2011

Transforming Agricultural Research for Development

Sweet potato (kaukau) is a staple food in PNG, especially the Highlands region and research efforts are continuing to improve its production. Pictured are field staff at NARI Highlands regional centre at Aiyura, Eastern Highlands, showing kaukau tubers harvested from a trial
Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) is earmarked for a major transformation globally with the creation of a roadmap outlining the priorities of the ARD agenda.
The roadmap, known as the “GCARD Roadmap”, was created with the contributions and dynamic interactions of stakeholders that participated at the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD1) held in March 2010 at Montpellier, France.
The GCARD1, organised by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, was aimed at meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger and poverty in the world.
The role of women in farming and in agricultural research, that of civil society, partnerships and capacity building within national and regional programmes were among the main topics covered at the Montpellier conference.
The roadmap highlights the urgent changes required in ARD systems globally, to address worldwide goals of reducing hunger and poverty, while ensuring environmental sustainability and meeting the needs of resource-poor farmers and consumers.
It establishes a process of reform and capacity development that aims to mobilise the full power of agricultural knowledge and innovation towards meeting agriculture and food-related development needs.
The roadmap proposes a six-point plan for transforming ARD around the world, requiring actions related development from all those involved in the generation, access and use of agricultural knowledge:
  • The need for collective focus on key priorities, as determined and shaped by science and society;
  • The need for true and effective partnership between research and those it serves; 
  •  Increased investments to meet the huge challenges ahead and ensure the required development returns from ARD;
  • Greater capacities to generate, share and make use of agricultural knowledge for development change among all actors;
  • Effective linkages that embed research in the wider development context and actions enabling developmental change; and
  • Better demonstration and awareness of the development impact and returns from agricultural innovation.
The GCARD Roadmap is a plan for urgent, collective action in ARD, derived from the views and analyses expressed through the GCARD process.
It matches solutions with short and long term goals that can be reached through many paths.
This roadmap has three major objectives, to:

(i) Reach a consensus on important needs in transforming agricultural research for development and the solutions required to satisfy those needs;

(ii) Provide an inclusive mechanism by which to look forward; and

(iii) Provide a common framework to plan and coordinate actions for development impact. The GCARD Roadmap aims to transform ARD globally, from its current fragmented status to more coherent and cohesive systems for greater impact. Its goal is that agricultural knowledge, science and technology should play their fullest possible roles in removing poverty and hunger from the world.

The GCARD process proposes key challenges and opportunities facing agricultural research, technology generation, knowledge dissemination and delivery systems be prioritised and addressed.
It identified the changes required in research and innovation systems so that millions of resource-poor smallholder farmers and consumers could benefit from environmentally sustainable productivity growth and improvement in systems that can increase their food security and incomes to tackle the root causes of poverty.
The roadmap is in line with the shift in National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) globally aimed at meeting the real needs of the resource-poor farmers in the context of ARD.
The ARD phenomenon is a paradigm shift in making agricultural research more effective in creating positive development impact, especially smallholder farming and rural communities.
The ARD concept has gained wide acceptance internationally and looks to be a promising approach in improving rural livelihoods.
In PNG, National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) and other NARS organisations are much advanced in this process and are in a prime position to take advantage of funding opportunities from global donors.
As a lead organisation in ARD, NARI is developing ARD initiatives in collaboration with the PNG NARS and other stakeholders and partners in the Pacific and regionally.
However, with the development of GCARD Roadmap, it highlights the overall need for increased investments not only by donors but also by national governments and the private sector to meet the huge challenges ahead and ensure the required development returns from ARD.
Even though PNG through NARI and other NARS institutions are well advanced in ARD, it is also evident that the PNG NARS have to continue to increase their capacity to successfully undertake the given task.
It is therefore relevant to demand continued and increased support from the national government and other donor agencies to provide an opportunity to consolidate and strengthen the achievements being made by PNG NARS in the ARD context.
NARI is in a process of transformation into a results‐oriented organisation including the mainstreaming of the ARD paradigm as the business approach throughout the organisation.
In 2011, NARI will focus further to develop the institute and build its capacity to create a congenial (internal) environment for ARD, which should result in improved service delivery for its primary clients, the smallholder farmers of PNG.
Given the necessary support and investment in ARD, NARI and the NARS institutions are ready to take up the challenge and are looking forward to making their contribution to a ‘Smart, Wise, Fair, Healthy and Happy Society’ by 2050.
And the GCARD Roadmap indicates that this transformation is the responsibility of all those who care about the future of agriculture and its role in development.
“Business as usual” is no longer an option; it is time for all players to act.
And we must, for PNG to be on par with the global transformation.

No comments:

Post a Comment