A Synthesis of the Status of Agricultural Research and Investment to Support Sustainable Development in Countries of Asia and the Pacific

In order to provide background information about the current policies, strategies, priorities as well as current capacities and trends of investment in agricultural research and innovation to support sustainable development in countries of Asia and the Pacific, a structured questionnaire was sent to 25 countries seeking a brief status report. Twenty-two countries responded of which, based on GDP per capita at current prices in 2014, 5 countries were classified as high income, 7 as medium income and 10 as low income. Responses revealed that major policies that have implications for agricultural research in these countries include food security/food supply, productivity improvement, sustainable natural resources management, sustainable development or sustainability, competiveness and market development, rural development, rural income generation and livelihood. Specific meaning and implication of each of the above policies vary across income groups and countries. Among the strategies adopted to implement the policies include two broad categories: one is related to research and technology transfer and the other is related to building organization, market development, and regulations. There are differences between countries and income groups in terms of specific strategies adopted. Among the main focus and priority areas for research and development, top on the list is a broad area encompassing global warming/ climate change/ natural resources management/environment, which is common across income groups. Other areas include frontline research and innovation, strengthening market/value chain/competiveness, stability of food supply/commodity supply, establishment of advanced facilities/services/infrastructure, problems of producers/industry. There are differences between income groups in terms of importance of focus areas. Agricultural research and innovation is primarily a public sector activity in nearly all the countries; in high income countries private sector, NGOs and farmer associations also play some role. Precise information on levels of investment and their sources were not available. However, available cursory information suggests that agricultural research is under-funded and under-invested. Climate change, environmental problems and their consequences are perceived as the most important challenges facing the countries across all income groups. Other perceived challenges fall into two broad categories - technology for productivity improvement and market development, and research staff, facilities and laboratories. All the countries have ongoing plans built on past achievements to address future challenges. It is recommended that in discussion on future agenda and priorities, in addition to the above issues, consideration should be given to alignment with sustainable development goals agenda, the increasing importance of livestock sub-sector in the region, the need for strengthening research-policy-end user partnerships and interactions, and the need for stronger collaboration within regional bodies like the ASEAN and SAARC.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q1; Q16

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-22

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