Investment in agriculture must increase

The agriculture sector globally has suffered a chronic shortage of investment, said Mark Holderness, executive secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.

Speaking at the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research (GCARD3), Holderness said investment into research related to food should be one of the world’s greatest priorities.

“In 2008 we had a food price crisis and then suddenly the world woke up to agriculture after decades of neglect and underinvestment,” he said.

Agricultural research should focus on the future needs of the world and food producers should be more involved in setting research agendas. “Farmers are not laboratory animals at the end of the chain and should be at the centre of such research,” said Holderness.

According to Prolinnova, an international programme that promotes innovation, farmer-led joint research can make an important contribution to helping develop better methods to produce food.

Research into this approach shows that local and scientific knowledge can be combined to develop new ways to farm, manage resources and add value to and market products.

Farmer-led research takes place in partnership with scientists and is already used by organisations working with smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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