FAO's NR Department assists FAO Members to develop and maintain relevant, effective and efficient national agricultural research systems (NARS) to generate, adapt and transfer appropriate technologies for improved and sustainable production systems in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
It also assist NARS and their networks to develop appropriate agricultural research policies and strategies, to mobilize available resources in a coherent manner and to develop linkages and partnerships among relevant national, regional and international stakeholders of agricultural research and the technology continuum.
NR provides professional leadership in defining and addressing critical issues pertinent to sustainable development as well as the development of FAO policies, strategies and integrated programmes in the areas of its competence. It has organization-wide responsibility for institutional strengthening of research and technology capacities in Member countries and for the liaison between the Organization and the Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Several analyses and assessments of the performance of the NARS across the developing countries, conducted by FAO and others, have consistently identified serious limitations in the planning and financial management of agricultural research, in the organization and management of the research institutions and in technology transfer strategies. Based on these findings and coupled with the developments in biotechnology and in the information and communication technologies, the work programme of Research and technology is structured around three strategic thrusts:
- Institution strengthening using conceptual frameworks, methodologies and training material for policy formulation and strategic planning of agricultural research and technology development - including biotechnology and biosafety, organization and management of agricultural research institutions and systems, technology needs appraisal and adaptation, assessment and transfer of appropriate technologies.
- Knowledge sharing and information dissemination in the areas of technology generation, assessment and transfer – including biotechnology – using information and communication technologies (ICT) in the development of technology databases and information management systems, funding sources, directories of agricultural research institutions, biotechnology and biosafety protocols and communications support activities such as NARS contact instruments and e-mail conferences.
- Building partnerships and global research support including the broadening of the NARS stakeholders, facilitating inter-disciplinary, inter-sectoral and inter-institutional linkages, promoting strategic alliances among agricultural research and technology stakeholders in the public and private sector domains and providing support to NARS regional organizations (AARINENA, APAARI, FARA, FORAGRO) and their apex organization (GFAR).