MAPUTO, Mozambique (1 December 2008)Concerned that the global financial crisis will lead to cuts in funding for projects in developing countries, leaders of the world's largest agricultural research group today told a conference that relatively modest, well-targeted investments could greatly boost the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people living on less than $1 a day.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Maputo, the experts on global agriculture warned that cuts in funding for research or programs for implementing new discoveries would be catastrophic for millions of smallholder farmers and their families throughout Africa and much of Latin America and Asia.
"Our researchers have proven in the past that just small amounts of funding can boost crop yields, defeat devastating pests, and ultimately lift farmers and their families out of poverty allowing them to earn enough money to send their children to school," said Katherine Sierra, CGIAR chair, who opened the four-day meeting.
Substantially increasing public investment in agricultural research in the developing world as well as investment in the CGIAR over the next five years would by 2020 cut by more than half the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa living on less than $1 a day, according to a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It is one of the 15 research centers supported by the CGIAR.
The report concluded that the expansion of long-term agricultural research and development will be critical to ensure food security for the poor, especially in light of the major ramifications of a global economic slowdown, on top of the adverse impacts of climate change on crop yields.
"With both the financial and food crises already starting to affect us now and with climate change impacts on the horizon it is especially important to make well-targeted inv
|Contact: Jeff Haskins|
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research