A new roadmap for agricultural research
“Today, 1.4 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. Many of them are women and children. Most of them are farmers.”
That’s World Bank President Robert Zoellick in a video address two weeks ago to the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), an unprecedented gathering in Montpellier, France that brought together researchers, policymakers, farmers, donors, and members of civil society from every region of the world.
The goal? Create a new framework for getting cutting-edge agricultural research to the farmers who need it to feed themselves, their families and their countries.
It was the first time in history that all the key players had come together to tackle the issue, and the “Montpellier Road Map” that emerged from the conference was hailed by participants as an crucial step in confronting global hunger and poverty. Its ten action points include a focus on the importance of regional and national organizations that understand the situation for farmers on the ground. It insists on collaboration between sectors: research, banking, seed suppliers and farmers must all work together to spread innovation. And it emphasizes the need for monitoring of outcomes and accountability.
Here are some highlights from the GCARD blog (which Burness collaborated on):
- A message to GCARD from USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah
- Video address to GCARD by Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank
- Insights from the coordinator of the Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD)
- Kofi Annan video address to GCARD
“Millions of people around the world are enduring lives of hardship and misery today. We are collectively and personally responsible for this tragedy,” said Dr. Monty Jones, 2004 World Food Prize Laureate and new head of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) during an emotional closing address. “I am personally ashamed.”
It’s clear that the global community has a long way to go when it comes to bringing the fruits of agricultural research to farmers worldwide. But GCARD and the Montpellier Road Map are vital first steps.
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