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Experts work to make food production more sustainable

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Transforming the world's agricultural research agenda in the face of climate change requires changes "as radical as those that occurred during industrial and agricultural revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries."

Transforming the world's agricultural research agenda in the face of climate change requires changes "as radical as those that occurred during industrial and agricultural revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries," according to a report to be presented today at the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

The conference, known as GCARD, was established by the G8 to develop constructive actions to reform a "fragmented global system of research and development." Held in Montpellier, France, the conference began yesterday and runs through Wednesday. Participants include World Food Prize Laureates, heads of international organizations, agriculture ministers, farmers, community development organizations, scientists and more.

At the center of the conference is the report, Transforming Agricultural Research for Development, which calls for major changes to the current agricultural research system in order to make food production more sustainable and food production systems more resilient to future climate and energy shifts. The report was prepared by a team of global food and agriculture experts led by Uma Lele, a former senior advisor at the World Bank.

The report documents an approach for transforming the current global agricultural research system into "a coherent whole so as to achieve more rapid, scaled-up and sustainable impacts on food security, poverty, and the environment." Author Eduardo Trigo, director of Grupo CEO and scientific advisor to the International Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Argentina, said: "The business-as-usual model of how things have been organized over the previous 50 to 70 years is no longer an option. We have to go back to the drawing board."

Among the objectives of the conference are to help ensure that:

  • Agricultural research outputs are accessible and relevant to the poor in developing countries
  • Research is aligned with and driven by the development needs of the resource-poor
  • Knowledge generation through scientific research is embedded in development thinking and practice
  • Funding systems are better aligned between research and development

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Christina Hernandez Sherwood

Contributing Writer

Contributing Writer Christina Hernandez Sherwood has written for the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and Columbia Journalism Review. She holds degrees from the University of Delaware and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure