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Diversity in Agricultural Research Resources in the Asia-Pacific Region

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Authors:
Beintema, Nienke; Stads, Gert-Jan

Year:
2008

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI)

Publication category

Overview publications

The Asia-Pacific region is highly diverse in terms of geography; population distribution; economic development; and cultural, political, and historic backgrounds. With over 30 distinct countries, the region comprises about 60 percent of the world’s population, including more than half of the world’s poor (IFPRI/ADB 2007).  Asevidenced above, this high level of diversity is also reflected in the region’s agricultural R&D efforts. In 2002, the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, including  highincome countries, spent $9.6 billion on agricultural R&D (in 2005 international prices). Unsurprisingly, distribution of spending among countries was very uneven,
with China, Japan, and India accounting for a combined total of about 70 percent of the region’s spending. Regional investments as a whole grew by 3.0 percent per year during 1981-2002. Most of this growth took place in the last decade, when China and India in particular accelerated their agricultural research spending. Some of the smaller countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam also realized impressive growth in agricultural R&D spending in recent years, whereas growth in countries like
Pakistan, Indonesia, and Laos was more sluggish (and in some cases negative), for a variety of reasons including the Asian financial crisis, the completion of large
donor-financed projects, and mass inflation.

A similar diversity exists across countries in the region’s human resource capacity in agricultural R&D. With over 50,000 agricultural fte researchers, China has by far the highest capacity. In contrast, agricultural research systems of countries like Laos and Papua New Guinea employed just over 100 fte’s. Average degree levels of agricultural research staff also differ widely, with India having the region’s (if not the developing world’s) most highly qualified research staff. More than half of the country’s agricultural researchers were trained to the PhD level in 2003. Average degree levels in countries with a history of political isolation, such as Vietnam and Laos, are much lower. Nonetheless, all countries in the survey sample improved the capacity of their agricultural scientists in terms of higher education over the past decade, despite widespread challenges facing certain countries in terms of attracting and keeping well-qualified staff. Large gender discrepancies are prevalent in staff composition as well. While the Philippines reported an uncommonly high ratio of female research staff (4 of every 10 agricultural scientists) Pakistan recorded an extremely low share (only 6 in 100 agricultural researchers are female).

Although the bulk of Asian agricultural R&D is still financed by national governments, many countries raised agricultural research revenues through other means. Competitive funding mechanisms, internally generated resources, and production or export levies, among others, have all gained prominence across the region. Donor dependency for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole is much lower than in Sub-Saharan Africa, although it remains extremely high in countries like Laos and  Nepal. The private sector has also become more involved in financing public agricultural research in certain countries. In addition to financing public research, the private sector in some Asia-Pacific countries has also become more active in conducting agricultural research. In countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, close to 20 percent of all agricultural R&D investments were made by the private sector in 2002/03. In many other countries, however, the investment climate for private  investors is poor, making private investments in agricultural R&D negligible and often non-existent.

Overall, some of the region’s countries have well-managed and well-funded systems producing world-class research, while others (some of which are highly agriculture-dependent) have experienced significant declines in their R&D spending and research intensity levels. Sustainable financial and political support for agricultural R&D is crucial, as is the creation of attractive investment climates for private investors, if the challenges of sustainable economic and social development facing the region are to be met.

Public Agricultural Research in Latin America and The Caribbean: Investment and Capacity Trends

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Authors:
Stads, Gert-Jan; Beintema, Nienke

Year:
2009

Publisher
Agricultural Science & Technology Indicators (ASTI); International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Publication category

Overview publications

In 2006, LAC as a whole employed more than 19,000 FTE researchers in agriculture and invested $3.0 billion in agricultural R&D (in 2005 constant prices), which  corresponds to 1.14 percent of the region’s total agricultural output. Nevertheless, 70 percent of this total was spent by just three countries: Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Were these “big three” countries excluded, the region’s agricultural R&D investments as a percentage of AgGDP would be substantially lower (0.72 percent). Regionwide investments grew by 1.1 percent per year during 1981–2006, but this average masks significant differences over time and among countries. During 1996–2006, agricultural research spending in countries like Argentina, Costa Rica, and Uruguay rose markedly, whereas expenditures in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Paraguay contracted. Brazil, the region’s largest country, also experienced a modest decline in its agricultural R&D investments since the mid-1990s largely due to reduced spending by the country’s state government agencies in recent years.

LAC’s human resource capacity in agricultural R&D shows similar diversity across countries. Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico each have large and comparatively complex systems employing thousands of scientists, whereas capacity in the countries of the Caribbean and Central American is understandably much smaller. Overall, entities conducting agricultural R&D in the LAC region have become increasingly diversified in recent decades, with the INIAs occupying a progressively lower share of total  research staff numbers. Large national differences in the average qualifications of agricultural scientists are also present; nonetheless, qualification improved overall in most countries in the past decade. A worrying trend, however, is that the pool of scientists is aging and some countries have failed to address this with initiatives to hire and train younger scientists.

Most agricultural R&D in LAC is funded by national governments, but sources differ widely across countries. Commodity taxes on the sale of production or exports have become popular in many countries, especially Colombia and Costa Rica, and competitive funding mechanisms are also gaining popularity in a large number of countries. Donor dependency for the LAC region as a whole is much lower than in Sub-Saharan Africa, although it remains very high in countries like Nicaragua and Honduras. Internally generated resources and private funding play an important role in financing agricultural research in the region as well. In addition to financing research directly, national and multinational private enterprises also carry out their own research in some countries; the exact share of private-sector involvement in agricultural R&D in LAC, however, is difficult (if not impossible) to measure.

Beintema and Pardey (2001) stated that the most worrying trend in agricultural R&D in LAC was the apparent bifurcation of agricultural research. More recent data to 2006 confirm that the gap between the region’s low- and middle-income countries has in fact widened. Some of the poorer, agriculturedependent countries—such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Paraguay—experienced sharp cuts in their agricultural research expenditures and intensity ratios over the past decade, while some of the more economically advanced countries (such as Argentina and Mexico) experienced growth. It is becoming increasingly clear that the region’s low-income countries are slipping behind in their ability to generate new technologies and varieties. Moreover, most of the region’s poorest and technologically most challenged countries are in tropical zones, putting them at a disadvantage compared with their more advanced neighbors in temperate zones, which gain large benefits from the spillover of technologies and varieties generated in high-income countries with similar agroclimatic conditions.

Sustainable financial support for agricultural R&D is crucial in all countries of the region, not only in support of revenue-generating export crops, but also in support of much-needed food crops and, more generally, development initiatives to alleviate rural poverty. If the region is to achieve food security, reduce poverty, and compete in an increasingly competitive global market, strong political support for agricultural R&D is called for in addition to financial support, as is greater integration of agricultural R&D systems both within and among countries.

Benchmarking Agricultural Research Investment and Capacity Indicators Across Southern African Countries

Total investments in public agricultural R&D in the Southern African countries included in this study increased slightly from the 1990s to 2008. Overall, the 2001–08 investment growth in these countries was lower than average growth in other subregions of the continent. With the exception of Tanzania, public research spending growth stagnated or was negative. However, agricultural research in the middle-income countries of South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, and Botswana was comparatively well-funded by their national governments. These countries outperformed other subregions, as well as neighboring lower income countries, in many key areas. They are less dependent on donor contributions and development bank loans than are the subregion’s low-income countries which have been subject to funding volatility associated with fluctuating allocations and disbursement schedules.

Overall agricultural research staffing in the SADC countries has also grown slightly since the 1990s, but not as much as countries in other subregions of Africa. Corresponding to the high agricultural investment intensity ratios, the middle- income countries have high ratios of agricultural researchers to agricultural laborers. South Africa in particular leads the subregion with its well-established agricultural research agencies and universities. In 2008, South Africa employed the highest share of PhD-qualified research staff among the SADC countries (46 percent).

Strengthening research capacity continues to be a challenge in most of the Southern African countries, and the lack of local PhD programs particularly limits training in Botswana and Namibia. Agricultural researchers in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe are among the least highly qualified in SSA given that about half are qualified to the BSc level only. Other countries, such as Madagascar and Tanzania, employ an aging pool of researchers as a consequence of long-term government recruitment freezes, so recently recruited staff are young, less qualified, and often have limited training opportunities.

Botswana Factsheet - Women's participation in agricultural research and higher education

Key gender trends for Botswana

  • In 2008, the three largest agricultural research and higher education agencies in Botswana employed 235 professional staff, of which 75 were female (32 percent).
  • The share of female professional staff at the Department of Agricultural Research, the largest government research agency, declined from 36 percent in 2001 to 27 percent in 2008.
  • Close to a quarter of all PhD?qualified staff were female, while 31 and 39 percent held MSc and BSc degrees, respectively.
  • Women are well presented in all age groups. The share of female professional staff declines according to years of service, with the exception of staff employed at their respective agencies for more than 20 years.
  • The share of women in management, including positions as deans of faculties and head of departments, was 16 percent.
  • In 2007, female students accounted for 27 percent of the total student population in agricultural sciences, and 34 percent of the graduating students that year were female.

Argentina: ASTI–INTA Country Brief

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Authors:
Gert-Jan Stads, Ana María Ruiz, and Gustavo De Greef

Year:
2010

Publisher
IFPRI-ASTI

Publication category

Latin America and the Caribbean

Total public agricultural R&D capacity in Argentina has rapidly increased since the country emerged from the 1999-2002 economic crisis. This increase is mainly due to strong growth in INTA’s researcher totals, which rose from 1,180 FTEs in 2004 to 2,410 in 2007 following a large injection of national government and IDB funds in support of agricultural R&D. It should be noted, however, that most of INTA’s recently hired researchers hold BSc degrees. In 2006, the country as a whole employed close to 4,000 FTE agricultural research staff, making it the third largest agricultural R&D system in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.

Total agricultural R&D spending in Argentina has also risen rapidly since the turn of the century, due mainly to increased investments by INTA. In 2006, Argentina spent $448 million (in 2005 PPP prices), compared to $296 million two years earlier. Over the course of the past 15 years, INTA has gone from being a poorly funded institute on the verge of being closed down to a well-functioning and well-funded institute producing worldclass research. Agricultural R&D in Argentina has become increasingly demand driven, it is increasingly funded through competitive schemes, and it has played a key role in stepping up the country’s agricultural production and exports over the past decade. The country occupies top ranks among its Latin American counterparts when it comes to agricultural R&D spending as a percentage of agricultural GDP, research capacity per capita, and the share of female agricultural research staff. Sustainable funding for agricultural R&D is key to ensuring that the extraordinary advances that the country has made over the past decade are not eroded in the future.

Iran: ASTI–AREO Country Brief

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Authors:
Stads, Gert-Jan; Roozitalab, Mohammad H.; Beintema, Nienke; Aghajani, Minoo

Year:
2008

Publisher

Publication category

West Asia and North Africa

This report presents an overview of Iran’s national agricultural R&D system in terms of institutional developments and recent trends in human and financial resources based on data collected under the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative.

In 2004, close to 4,700 full-time equivalent (fte) scientists were involved in public agricultural research (that is, excluding the private sector) in Iran, which represented an 18 percent increase over levels recorded in 2000. Public agricultural research in Iran is largely conducted by the Agricultural Research and Education Organization (AREO), currently known as the Agricultural Extension, Education and Research Organization (AEERO). 44 percent of the country’s agricultural scientists were employed at one of 32 AREO–affiliated provincial research centers, while another one-third were employed at one of AREO’s 24 national research centers. These provincial government agencies are typically charged with all agricultural R&D within a particular province, while their national counterparts focus on one particular commodity or discipline. Non-AREO government agencies and higher education agencies play only a modest role in public agricultural R&D in Iran, accounting for just 8 and 11 percent of total fte agricultural research staff in 2004, respectively.

In 2004, Iran invested $432 million in public agricultural R&D (in 2000 constant prices), or 0.91 percent of the country’s agricultural GDP. Iran rates well above some of its neighbors in the region in terms of the intensity of public-sector investment in agricultural R&D and average expenditures per researcher. The lion’s share of the country’s public agricultural R&D is financed, either directly or indirectly, by the Iranian government. The private sector’s involvement in financing public-sector agricultural R&D is small; however, its role in conducting agricultural R&D is expanding. In 2004, 6 percent of Iranian agricultural R&D investments were made by the private sector, bringing Iran’s total (public and private) agriculture R&D expenditures to $457 million.

Mobilizing Financial Resources for Agricultural Research in Developing Countries: Trends and Mechanisms

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Authors:
Echeverria, Ruben; Beintema, Nienke

Year:
2009

Publisher
GFAR Briefing Paper. Rome: The Global Forum on Agricultural Research.

Publication category

Overview publications

This paper, written by Ruben G. Echeverria and Nienke M. Beintema, gives a detailed explanation of past and current trends in funding of agricultural research and analyzes various agricultural research funding mechanisms that have been used in the past and should be explored today in order to increase agricultural research outputs in developing countries.

Despite recent increased international awareness of the importance of agriculture as a generator of income, employment, foreign exchange and tax revenues as well as its association with poverty reduction and the preservation of natural resources, there is still a need for increased awareness of the important role that agricultural research for development (AR4D) plays in the above issues.

Women's Participation in Agricultural Research and Higher Education: Key Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Other languages:
Version française

Authors:
Beintema, Nienke; Di Marcantonio, Federica

Year:
2009

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)

Publication category

Overview publications

Female farmers play a vital role in African agriculture, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of the agricultural workforce. However, agricultural research and higher education are disproportionately led by men. There is an urgent need for a greater representation of women in the field of agricultural science and technology (S&T) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Female scientists, professors, and senior managers offer different insights and perspectives to help research institutes to more fully address the unique and pressing challenges of both female and male farmers in the region.

Gender-disaggregated data on S&T capacity are scarce, often lack sufficient detail, and focus more generally on S&T rather than on agriculture specifically. Data are not always comparable due to different methodologies and coverage. The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative and the CGIAR Gender & Diversity (G&D) Program partnered together to address this information gap. This brief summarizes the key results from their benchmarking survey of 125 agricultural research and higher education agencies in 15 Sub- Saharan African countries.

Female Participation in African Agricultural Research and Higher Education: New Insights

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Authors:
Beintema, Nienke; Di Marcantonio, Federica

Year:
2010

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)

Publication category

Overview publications

Synthesis of the ASTI–Award Benchmarking Survey on Gender-Disaggregated Capacity Indicators. IFPRI Discussion Paper 00957.

Female farmers play a vital role in African agriculture, accounting for the majority of the agricultural workforce. However, agricultural research and higher education are disproportionately led by men. There is an urgent need for greater representation of women in the field of agricultural science and technology (S&T) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Female scientists, professors, and senior managers offer different insights and perspectives to help research institutes to more fully address the unique and pressing challenges of both female and male farmers in the region.

Gender-disaggregated data on S&T capacity are scarce, often lack sufficient detail, and focus more generally on S&T rather than on agriculture specifically. Data are not always comparable due to different methodologies and coverage. The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative and the CGIAR Gender & Diversity (G&D) Program partnered together to address this information gap. This report presents the results of an in-depth benchmarking survey on gender- disaggregated capacity indicators, covering 125 agricultural research and higher education agencies in 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the first study of its kind to present detailed human resources data on female participation in agricultural science, the main findings of which include the following:

  • Total capacity in terms of the professional staff employed at the agricultural research and higher education agencies included in this study increased by 20 percent between 2000/01 and 2007/08, and women constituted almost half of this capacity increase. The female population of professional staff grew by eight percent per year on average, which is four times higher than the comparable rate of increase for the male population, indicating that the gender gap in African agricultural sciences is closing.
  • The proportion of female professional staff employed at the sample agricultural research and higher education agencies increased from 18 percent in 2000/01 to 24 percent in 2007/08, but fewer women have advanced degrees compared to their male colleagues. In 2007/08, for example, 27 percent of the sample’s professional women held PhD degrees compared with 37 percent of the sample’s professional men.
  • Of concern, about two-thirds of the overall (female and male) capacity increase comprised staff holding only BSc degrees, indicating that the overall quality of capacity in agricultural research and higher education is declining in some Sub-Saharan African countries. Notably, the total number of male professional staff trained to the MSc level declined between 2000/01 and 2007/08; however, more in-depth analysis is needed to explain the underlying causes of these shifts and to what degree they represent structural changes.
  • Levels of female participation in agricultural research and higher education among the sample agencies were particularly low in Ethiopia (6 percent), Togo (9 percent), Niger (10 percent), and Burkina Faso (12 percent). Shares of female professional staff were much higher in South Africa, Mozambique, and Botswana (32, 35, and 41 percent, respectively).
  • The female share of students enrolled in higher agricultural education was higher than the female shares of professional staff employed at the agricultural research and higher education agencies in most cases, but a significant proportion of the female students concerned were undertaking only BSc-level studies (83 percent).
  • Only 14 percent of the management positions were held by women, which is considerably lower than the share of female professional staff employed at the sample’s agricultural research and higher education agencies (24 percent).
  • The pool of female staff is much younger on average than the pool of male staff.
  • The prevalence of female professional staff is comparatively higher in fields related to life and social sciences, and comparatively lower in fields involving areas traditionally thought of as “hard science”, such as engineering.

Keywords: agricultural R&D, Sub-Saharan Africa, female participation, S&T capacity, agricultural higher education

Public Agricultural R&D Investments and Capacities in Developing Countries: Recent Evidence for 2000 and beyond

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Beintema, Nienke; Stads, Gert-Jan

Year:
2010

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI)

Publication category

Overview publications

Revised data analyses for the Asia–Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean regions, along with initial analyses for Sub-Saharan Africa that have yet to be finalized, indicate that—more than ever—the knowledge divide among rich and poor countries (the so-called scientific “haves” and “have-nots”) is growing. A large number of low- income countries continue to experience reduced donor support and lack of prioritization of agricultural R&D by national governments. Sustainable financial and political support for agricultural R&D is crucial, as is the creation of attractive investment climates for private investors, if the challenges of sustainable economic and social development are to be met. In particular, without sustainable funding for agricultural R&D, low-income, agriculture- dependent countries will continue to struggle in poverty.

Quantitative information is fundamental to understanding the contribution of agricultural S&T to agricultural growth. Indicators derived from such information allow the performance, inputs, and outcomes of agricultural S&T systems to be measured, monitored, and benchmarked. Up-to- date information is a critical tool to interpreting the current status and direction of national agricultural research systems in developing countries. Regular countrie collection of agricultural S&T capacity and pacity a investment data is therefore essential in order to sential keep this information up-to-date.

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