• About this blog

    This is the blog of the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative. ASTI compiles, analyzes, and publicizes data on institutional developments, investments, and capacity trends in agricultural R&D in low- and middle-income countries worldwide. ASTI comprises a network of national, regional, and international agricultural R&D agencies and is hosted and facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). To find out more about the ASTI initiative click here. To comment on this blog, write to asti@cgiar.org.
  • ASTI web resources

    The ASTI website (asti.cgiar.org) provides additional resources on agricultural R&D in developing countries, including:

    -Data tool that allows its users to display different ASTI indicators by country and plot two indicators against each other

    -Datasets, country briefs, regional reports, and analytical publications.

    -Country pages with additional data results, contact details and other information of all agricultural R&D agencies.

ASTI News has a new address

Please visit ASTI News at its new address: http://astinews.ifpri.info/

If you have already signed up for ASTI News email alerts, your subscription will be transferred automatically.

African Agricultural R&D Policy Seminar and Report Launch

On April 7, at a policy seminar at IFPRI headquarters in Washington, D.C., Nienke Beintema, ASTI program leader, presented the new IFPRI Food Policy Report on African Agricultural R&D in the New Millennium: Progress for Some, Challenges for Many. Following a brief overview of the report’s main conclusions, the seminar featured a discussion on opportunities for addressing the challenges facing African agricultural R&D systems. The seminar, chaired by Mark Rosegrant, IFPRI Division Director, also featured presentations by Eugene Terry, formerly of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) and Greg Traxler, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A video of the seminar is available on the IFPRI website: http://www.ifpri.org/event/african-agricultural-research-and-development

The report has been picked up by a number of media outlets, including:

SciDev: Africa’s agricultural R&D spending ‘a mixed bag’

Nature News: Rise in African agricultural research spending hampered by instability

Voice of America: Africa’s Hungriest Need Better Agricultural Research


New Report-African Agricultural R&D in the New Millennium: Progress for Some, Challenges for Many

ASTI is pleased to announce the launch of its new IFPRI Food Policy Report on Africa Agricultural R&D in the New Millennium: Progress for Some, Challenges for Many which assesses recent trends in investment and human resource capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa’s public agricultural R&D. The report analyzes information from comprehensive datasets derived from primary surveys conducted by ASTI during 2009 and 2010 in 32 African countries.

Following a period of stagnation in the 1990s, total public agricultural R&D spending and capacity levels in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased in recent years. However, the lion’s share of investment growth has occurred in just a handful of countries; in many other countries, investment levels have stagnated or decreased, and often remain highly volatile. Some countries currently have such low investment and capacity levels that the impact of agricultural R&D on rural development and poverty reduction is questionable at best. This is particularly true for many francophone West African countries, which have extremely fragile agricultural R&D systems, remain highly dependent on external funding, and have agricultural researchers who are rapidly approaching retirement age.

The report points to four key areas governments, donors, and stakeholders must address:

  1. Counteracting decades of underinvestment in agricultural R&D
  2. Halting excessive volatility in yearly investment levels
  3. Addressing existing and imminent challenges in human resource capacity
  4. Maximizing regional and subregional cooperation in agricultural R&D

African Agricultural Research and Development-IFPRI Policy Seminar on April 7

Nienke Beintema, ASTI program leader, will be presenting the new ASTI report on African agricultural R&D at a policy seminar at IFPRI headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 7.  A live webcast will also be available. Please see IFPRI’s website for further details: http://www.ifpri.org/event/african-agricultural-research-and-development

Addressing capacity challenges a key issue for Botswana agricultural R&D

The latest country note published by ASTI and the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) points out that Botswana’s agricultural R&D capacity and investments rose rapidly during 1995-2007. However, inflationary pressures and a considerable exodus of R&D staff from DAR, the country’s principal public agricultural R&D agency, caused overall R&D investments and capacity levels to fall in 2008. DAR is almost entirely funded by the government; donor funding plays a negligible role. Continue reading

Agricultural R&D investment in Mali highly donor dependent

According to the recent country note published by ASTI and the Rural Economy Institute (IER), agricultural research and development (R&D) in Mali remains largely dependent on the support provided by donors and development banks, in particular through a series of projects led by the World Bank, the Netherlands government, and the Syngenta Foundation. During 2001–08, this dependence on short-term foreign aid projects combined with modest levels of public funding led to considerable annual fluctuations in both research expenditures and research capacity. It also brought financial uncertainty to the country’s R&D agencies. In 2008, Mali’s investments totaled approximately 5.9 billion CFA francs, or 24.6 million PPP dollars (both in 2005 constant prices) and the country’s overall staff total stood at 313 FTE researchers (including the many contract researchers whose status differs from that of the state-employed “fonctionnaires”). Continue reading

ASTI lance son site web en français / ASTI launches French website

L’équipe ASTI a mis en ligne son nouveau site internet en français. Simple et rapide, ce site vous permet d’accéder à une gamme d’ informations sur les systèmes de recherche agricole de nombreux pays francophones. Les pages du pays vous offrent accès à une série de publications et aux fiches d’informations présentant des données nationales. L’outil de données interactif vous permet d’accéder aux données révélant les tendances relatives des effectifs de scientifiques agricoles et des investissements totaux affectés à la recherche agricole. En plus, la liste des publications disponibles inclut des analyses régionales et mondiales des investissements réalisés dans la R&D agricole. Dans un proche avenir, de plus en plus d’analyses approfondies examinant les tendances qui sous-tendent les principaux indicateurs ASTI seront disponibles sur le site web ASTI.

Pour en savoir plus, visitez www.asti.cgiar.org/fr.

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