In 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. The sphere of agricultural production does not stand still, but is progressing, which means that agricultural production is not declining, but changes the methods of reproduction of crops, selection, GMOs. This is necessary so that the soil remains fertile so that we can harvest faster and thus feed a large number of people, invent new species of plants, if in certain areas certain crops are not yieled. You can read about geological aspects and the dependence of life on soil quality in many studies, or even buy article online if you are interested in this topic or you want to talk about it.
Below are the responses from Kei Otsuka, plenary speaker on Day 3 of the Forum. Kei is Professor at Kobe University & Professor of Development Economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo.
Q. Can you tell us briefly about yourself and your involvement in agricultural research?
I am a Professor of Development Economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. I have published extensively in the area of agricultural development in both Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. After my PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago, I was visiting scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for 3 years, and visiting research fellow at the the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for 5 years. I was later chairman of the board of trustees of IRRI and President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. I am currently on the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) oversight committee. I have published books on the Asian and African Green Revolutions.
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?
I believe that we should support Green Revolution in SSA, particularly for maize and rice. In addition to “seed-fertilizer technology”, “improved management practices” are important. But the latter aspect has been largely neglected in CG research.
Q. What are some agricultural research pathways that have really contributed to greater rural prosperity? How did they achieve this?
For rice, transferability of Asian technology is high, so that what is important is to strengthen extension. For maize, farming system research, which seeks best combination of manure and chemical fertilizer application, intercropping between maize and legumes, hybrid seeds, the use of improved cows, and production of feed crops, needs to be done. More collaboration between CIMMYT and ILRI is clearly needed.
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?
Development of stress tolerant varieties and appropriate management practices against climate change is essential.
Q. What is your expectation for the Forum? What do you want to take home from Addis Ababa and the people you meet there?
The Forum should take leadership in designing appropriate development strategy.