Large-scale international investments in developing country agriculture, especially acquisitions of agricultural land, continue to raise international concern. Certainly, complex and controversial issues – economic, political, institutional, legal and ethical – are raised in relation to food security, poverty reduction, rural development, technology and access to land and water resources. Yet at the same time, some developing countries are making strenuous efforts to attract foreign investment into their agricultural sectors. They see an important role for such investments in filling the gap left by dwindling official development assistance and the limitations of their own domestic budgetary resources, creating employment and incomes and promoting technology transfer. More investment is certainly needed – more than US$80 billion per year according to FAO analysis. But can foreign direct investment be compatible with the needs of local stakeholders as well as those of the international investor? And can these investments yield more general development benefits?
Overall, global agricultural R&D spending in the public and private sectors steadily increased between 2000 and 2008. As further proof of positive development, most of this growth was driven by developing countries, since growth in high-income countries stalled. But, spending growth in developing countries was largely driven by positive trends in a number of larger, more advanced middle-income countries—such as China and India—masking negative trends in numerous smaller, poorer, and more technologically challenged countries. Countries in this last group are often highly vulnerable to severe volatility in funding, and hence in spending, which impedes the continuity and ultimately the viability of their research programs. Many R&D agencies in this group lack the necessary human, operating, and infrastructural resources to successfully develop, adapt, and disseminate science and technology innovations.
This report analyzes input indicators of public agricultural R&D for five South Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It presents trends and challenges with regard to agricultural R&D investments and human resource capacity throughout the subregion, and provides recommendations for ways to address some of these challenges.
The analysis in this report draws largely from a set of country notes prepared by IFPRI’s Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative using comprehensive datasets derived from primary surveys covering 2002–09. These new datasets have been linked with historical ASTI datasets for the subregion, allowing a more long-term analysis of public agricultural R&D investment and capacity trends.
By: Jomo Kwame Sundaram with Oliver Schwank and Rudiger von Arnim
This paper critically reviews the impact of globalization on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) since the early 1980s. The large gains expected from opening up to international economic forces have, to date, been limited, and there have been significant adverse consequences. Foreign direct investment in SSA has been largely confined to resource—especially mineral—extraction, even as continuing capital flight has reduced financial resources available for productive investments. Premature trade liberalization has further undermined prospects for the economic development of SSA as productive capacities in many sectors are not sufficiently competitive to take advantage of any improvements in market access.