CarberryIn the lead up to the 2016 Science Forum, we have asked Steering Committee (SC) members and speakers to answer a few questions related to the Forum’s focus on agricultural research pathways to inclusive rural development. In order to raise awareness in this area. Thus, despite the fact that the Forum reveals narrow issues and vocabulary, of course, is scientific, but still the view should be intuitive, so interactivity and curiosity will be maintained throughout the speeches. Also, if you are interested in how to make your presentation interesting, contact the best place to buy a research paper.

Below are the responses from Peter Carberry, panelist on Day 3 of the Forum. Peter is the Deputy Director General – Research at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Q. Can you tell us briefly about yourself and your involvement in agricultural research?

I joined ICRISAT as Deputy Director General – Research in January 2015. Prior to this appointment, I was a Chief Research Scientist in CSIRO, Australia and led the CSIRO team within the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit (APSRU). My research focus has been aimed at lifting the performance and sustainability of Australian and international agriculture in the face of economic imperatives and environmental expectations being defined by industry, communities, markets and governments. My research expertise is in crop physiology and the development and application of farming systems simulation models. I am a key developer and driver of the Agricultural Production Systems SIMulator (APSIM) modelling framework.

The objective of the 2016 Science Forum is to rethink the pathways for agricultural research to stimulate inclusive development of rural economies in an era of climate change. The Forum will marshal evidence and build on lessons learned to date, to suggest an updated list of priority research areas and approaches which involve more strategic and inclusive engagement with partners.

Q. What are the most significant ways that developing countries can achieve greater rural prosperity? What does this prosperity look like?

Farmers produce, consume and sell commodities; the currency of markets are commodities; the pathways for agricultural development are largely built on commodity value chains and markets. Hence, rural prosperity looks like farmers producing, consuming and, critically, benefiting from selling their cereal, legume, livestock, cash crop and wood commodities into functional and developing value chains and markets.

Q. What are some agricultural research pathways that have really contributed to greater rural prosperity? How did they achieve this?

Over the past 30 years agricultural productivity growth in Australia has been high relative to other sectors of the Australian economy and high relative to the agricultural sectors in other OECD countries. The impressive performance of Australian dryland agriculture has been achieved through innovation, based on research leading to technology development and adoption. This achievement is highlighted in this context because Australia shares the same climate, soils and agro-ecology as much of the developing world where agricultural livelihoods need to improve. Australian farming is unsubsidized, conducted on fragile soils and in one of the most variable climates in the world,

In the developing country context, a transition from underperforming to functional value chains can be empowered by research that breeds reliable and marketable commodities, that provides risk-management tools for all sectors of the value chain and that brokers relationships where mutual benefits can lead to investment in value chain services. Innovative delivery systems, leveraging the ICT revolution and emerging public-private partnerships, need to re-kindle the prospects of functional value chains for climatic risky systems.

Q. What does agricultural research need to do differently so it will contribute to rural prosperity in an era of climate change? What does climate change mean for the research pathways we follow?

Climate change is real and happening. However, the single focus on climate change, on discernible changes, impacts and mitigation in future decades distracts from the inherent climate variability that makes agriculture risky in the past, today and into the future. Agriculture research has to continue to seek ways of better dealing with climate variability, to reduce the risks of decision making under climate uncertainty as it is today. Such adaptations for climate variability will largely accommodate and encompass adaptation to a slowly changing climate.

Agriculture’s contribution to mitigation of emissions requires significant continued research investment.

Q. What is your expectation for the Forum? What do you want to take home from Addis Ababa and the people you meet there?

Working for CSIRO, I attended the Science Forum in China in 2011 and enjoyed learning about the broader CGIAR and partner research imperatives. In my 14 months in the CGIAR I’ve attended many meeting, but few where science is discussed. I look forward to this forum as a venue for learning about the research frontiers for the CGIAR.

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