|Mobilizing science for global food security. Third External Review of IFPRI (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research ) (1998)|
Title: Input Market Reform and Development (MP1)
Although many developing countries have adopted market reform as a policy objective and have started implementation, the specific policies and institutions needed for markets that will work effectively under local economic and social conditions are frequently absent, particularly regarding rural areas. Countries making the transition from command to market economies have special difficulties. Little knowledge exists on how the principles of free markets can be applied with success to the problem of bringing to the poor in rural areas the agricultural inputs needed to facilitate the use of better technology with a consequent increase in production and incomes. The order in which reforms should be undertaken, for example, is not at all clear. The overall objective of this program is to understand the conditions for reform of markets for agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock services. The research output is expected to contribute to the development of an efficient marketing system able to accelerate and sustain agricultural growth without adverse effects on the income of small farmers.
Title: Output Market Reform and Development (MP2)
Crucial to the process of economic growth is the efficient operation of markets to coordinate production and consumption decisions within and across domestic sectors and thereby guide the optimal allocation of economic resources. After decades of extensive state intervention in the domestic distribution of agricultural products, many developing-country governments have recently initiated programs aimed at establishing private sector-based marketing systems. In many cases, the rate of success has been much less than expected, and the transition from state-run to private-sector marketing has been slow. The objectives of the present research program are: (1) to better understand the institutional, structural, and policy-related factors that impede the process of transition, and (2) to help guide policymakers in designing and implementing domestic market reform programs.
Title: Rural Financial Policies for Food Security of the Poor (MP5)
While most formal rural credit programs in the past failed to reach the poor, there are now an increasing number of bottom-up, informal programs that seem to be more effective. Basic to this research program is the premise that a better understanding of the functions and arrangements of existing informal institutions at the household and community level may provide the key to designing rural financial systems that will serve the poor. The research draws on recent and ongoing IFPRI work in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Nepal, and Pakistan. Additional studies have been implemented in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, and Malawi to expand the range of agroecological and social conditions covered by the research. The individual studies address four broad questions: (1) What is the scope for enhanced access and participation of the poor in formal and informal credit and savings arrangements? (2) How can the direct and indirect effects of access to credit and savings services on poor households income, consumption and nutrition be improved? (3) Can formal financial institutions be linked with existing informal savings and credit systems to create a sustainable rural financial system, and (4) how can formal financial services and their institutional arrangements be altered to enable enhanced and sustainable access by the poor to financial services?
Title: Marketing, Institutional, and Infrastructure Policies for Agricultural Commercialization, Diversification, and Export Promotion (MP7)
Most developing countries are dependent on agriculture for foreign exchange and - directly or indirectly - for employment of the majority of the population. They are faced with the need to revise agricultural strategies in the light of the effect on domestic relative prices of a major realignment of international prices, domestic macroeconomic reforms, and urbanization. They typically adopt agricultural diversification policies to promote adjustment to these structural changes. Such policies typically seek to promote an increase in value added in tradable sectors from changes in the composition of output mix. In many Asian countries, success in meeting domestic food needs through growth in rice output following the Green Revolution has led to a need to diversify into other crops with export markets if agricultural growth is to continue. Many other developing countries, especially in Africa, are in the early stages of agricultural commercialization and transformation. These countries are often characterized by the widespread prevalence of subsistence consumption of agricultural products, imperfect markets and high transfer costs, which render a large share of rural production nontradable. The objective of this program is to identify more effective marketing, infrastructure, and institutional policies to facilitate the adjustment of farmers to change in incentives arising from long-term structural changes in agricultural markets. It will have a particular concern to better incorporate those rural people left behind by structural change into the mainstream of new economic growth opportunities.
Title: Arresting Deforestation and Resource Degradation in the Forest Margins of the Humid Tropics - Policy, Technology, and Institutional Options (MP8)
Tropical forests are under great pressure from both present inhabitants and new migrants seeking land for agricultural and other purposes. Many of those involved are poor. There is a paucity of knowledge of the process itself, of the motivations of those involved, and of the technologies, institutional forms, and policies that might be used to slow the pace at which forests are disappearing. In ways consistent with other economic and social goals, the purpose of this research program is to identify new combinations of technologies, policies, and organizational/institutional arrangements capable of slowing the rates of deforestation and other natural resource degradation at the margins of tropical moist forests, while improving the welfare of inhabitants of these areas, To achieve these goals, a three-year program of research is being be conducted at sites in the Brazilian Amazon, and support provided to comparable policy and socioeconomic work being conducted at sites in Cameroon, Indonesia, and Peru by other CGIAR Centers and their collaborators as part of the Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn (ASB) initiative.
Title: Water Resource Allocation: Productivity and Environmental Impacts (MP10)
Demand for water for agriculture, household use, and industry continues to increase rapidly, while watersheds, the irrigated land base, and the quality of water delivered to the final user are deteriorating. Scarcity of water has led to demand for policy reform, but many questions concerning feasibility, costs, and likely effects of alternative water allocation policies in developing countries remain unanswered. This research program seeks to address these issues in ways that will be directly relevant to national governments and international donors for choosing appropriate water policies and establishing priorities for reform of institutions and incentives that affect water resource allocation. Specifically, the research will determine the effectiveness of alternative water allocation mechanisms and seek to understand their productivity, equity, and environmental impacts. Research is planned in several countries and regions with varying agroclimatic conditions, levels of economic development, and degrees of water scarcity. In each case, there will be analysis of the nature and evolution of existing systems of water allocation and of the impact of water allocation on agricultural and industrial productivity, consumer welfare and equity, and resource degradation. The methodology involves integrated analysis of water policies within a river basin, including institutional, economic, and environmental aspects.
Title: Property Rights and Collective Action in Natural Resource Management (MP11)
Property rights are an important determinant of agricultural productivity and natural resource management. They determine long-term incentives for the sustainable management and improvement of resources. Property rights systems also play a key role in determining patterns of equality or inequality in access to resources. These systems are in a state of transition in many regions as population growth and increased commercialization lead to greater competition and conflict over scarce resources. Many traditional communal ownership systems are evolving toward greater privatization of rights, while others are degenerating toward open access regimes that allow overuse and resulting degradation of the resource base. Relatively little is known about the effectiveness of different ownership and management systems, and how they are coping with growing pressures. The purpose of this multicountry research program is to explore the causes and consequences of the choice of property rights institutions and of the role of collective action in natural resource management.
Title: Macroeconomic Policies, Rural Development, and the Environment (MP12)
Poor performance of the agriculture sector has been associated with the poor economic performance that has characterized many developing countries in the last three decades. While external developments have had adverse effects, the influence of inappropriate domestic policies has been increasingly recognized, leading to the adoption of major programs of macroeconomic and sectoral policy reforms, aimed at stability and growth. Relatively little work has addressed the impact of such policy reforms on agriculture and rural performance, and the further repercussions on income distribution, overall growth, and the environment. The purpose of MP12 research is to investigate the interactions among agriculture, the environment (water and. forestry resources), and macroeconomic policy reforms. The goal is to determine better mixes of policies that achieve macro goals, eliminate biases against agriculture, support poverty alleviation, and protect the environment. This goal is being approached through a series of a dozen or more case studies in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The case studies will then be compared and contrasted to generalize the results to a variety of country settings.
Title: Urban Challenges to Food and Nutrition Security
Within the next 20 years, more poor and undernourished people in developing countries will live in the cities than in the countryside. Rapid rates of urbanization mean that urban food insecurity and malnutrition are concerns even for Africa and Asia, which currently have relatively low levels of urbanization. Although available studies indicate that malnutrition is usually more severe in rural than in urban areas, such general statements mask significant differences in levels of malnutrition within urban areas. Malnutrition in the poorest areas of cities often rivals that found in rural areas. Nevertheless, despite the severity and extent of the problem, few comprehensive studies of the determinants of urban food insecurity and malnutrition exists. This research program aims to (1) better document trends in urban poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition; (2) better understand the main determinants of urban poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition; (3)document and analyze successful community, NGO and local government responses to the pressures that urbanization places on the attainment of urban food security and malnutrition; and (4) document and analyze public policy affecting food and nutrition in urban areas.
Title: Gender and Intrahousehold Aspects of Food Policy (MP17)
The success of policy - from macro policies such as structural adjustment to micro initiatives such as home gardens - depends on an ability to anticipate the responses of individuals to changing incentives. Often, however, actual responses differ from anticipated responses. One important reason for this divergence is a poor understanding of how rights, responsibilities, and resources are allocated within the household. This program addresses the policy question, when and how can food and agricultural policies be improved through a better understanding of intrahousehold processes? The research team will test the assertion that a better understanding of intrahousehold resource allocation is essential to predict the outcomes and consequences of policies, regardless of whether the policy is targeted at the household or individual level. This will be done through intensive research at the household level in four countries, and by adding a gender and intrahousehold perspective to ongoing research by IFPRI collaborators in up to 10 other countries. The understanding gained will be used to generate information that will assist in the development of policies, programs, and projects that are high-performing precisely because they take intrahousehold allocation processes into account.
Title: Targeted Interventions to Reduce and Prevent Poverty (MP18)
The basic objective of this research program is to provide information to policymakers in developing countries to help them assess the appropriate balance between interventions that promote growth and those that prevent destitution, with particular reference to food security. The program will focus on three components (1) poverty identification and characterization; (2)comparative analysis of anti poverty interventions; (3) methodological innovations and improvements. Drawing on past IFPRI research on food subsidies, labor markets, nutrition monitoring, and famine prevention, this MP will study actual experience in six or more countries to determine how vulnerable groups can be identified, to analyze public and private programs that show success in addressing the causes of poverty and food insecurity, and to seek understanding of the role of fiscal, political, and logistical constraints.
Title: Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Policy (GRP1)
Judgments by national authorities and development agencies, even by CGIAR institutions, about policies and investments related to institutions generating and disseminating agricultural technology in developing countries, are severely hampered by a lack of information about those institutions and the consequences of alternative policy choices. The overall goal of this GRP is to remedy that situation by providing more information and analyzing its implications for issues facing decision makers. The current objectives of the GRP are organized around several research themes. They are: 1: to measure and monitor the global pattern of investments in agricultural R&D and provide policy interpretations of these developments for national and international decision makers; 2: to continue development of systematic, economic approaches to evaluating and setting priorities for agricultural research and initiate work on the evaluation of social science research; 3: to gain a more complete understanding of the productivity, distributional, and environmental consequences of agricultural research and other public sector investments targeted to the agriculture sector; 4: to explore alternative policies regarding the economics of financing, organizing, and managing agricultural R&D; and 5: to undertake a program of research on agricultural genetic resources policies.
Title: Global and Regional Trade (GRP2)
During the long period of Uruguay Round negotiations, regional trade arrangements gained increased favor among developed and developing countries, in part as alternatives in case the global negotiations should fail. Since the completion of the GATT agreement, regional trade arrangements have remained important and new ones are appearing, with a combination of economic and political goals. The importance of these arrangements and of the GATT agreement itself for the food sector in developing countries is uncertain, and policy choices are difficult because of the uncertainty. The objective of this research program is to evaluate the impact on agriculture, the rural economy, and poverty alleviation of(l) regional arrangements to promote economic integration and (2) global trade reform. This goal will be pursued through a series of case studies of actual and potential regional trade agreements in Sub-Saharan Africa (SADC), Latin America (NAFTA, Mercosur, Andean Pact, Central American Common Market), and Asia (APEC, ASEAN), plus synthesis work to generalize the results to a variety of country settings.
Title: Priorities for Public Investment in Agriculture and Rural Areas, and Appropriate Institutional Arrangements (GRP3)
During the last decade, developing countries have witnessed some fundamental structural changes, driven by market-led development, that have affected the allocation of public resources to agriculture and rural development. As a result, governments hitherto pervasive interventions have been reduced and the scope of the private sector in economic activities has expanded. However, the reduction in public expenditures has resulted in a shrinking allocation to agricultural research, irrigation and water control, rural infrastructure, and agricultural credit. This GRP will look at how national and local governments can maintain their commitment to market-led development, while increasing their allocation to strategic subsectors of agriculture and rural development where the private sector is not likely to invest. This project will get started in 1998.
Title: The 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment (GRP4)
The 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment was launched in 1993 to identify solutions for meeting the worlds food needs to the year 2020 and beyond, while reducing poverty and protecting the environment. The initiative builds on food policy research by IFPRI and others and relies on data from many sources. In addition to conducting analyses and syntheses on many topics related to food, agriculture, and the environment, the initiative has brought together policymakers, analysts, and officials of governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector in workshops and consultations to share their knowledge of selected topics and bring that knowledge to bear on recommendations for action.
During Phase II, the 2020 Vision initiative will 1) generate timely, state-of -the-knowledge information on key issues for which better knowledge is required to realize the 2020 Vision; 2) communicate the 2020 Vision to diverse audiences around the world to raise awareness of the worlds food and environmental problems and what can be done to solve them; 3) provide a forum for dialogue, debate, information sharing, and consensus building among policymakers, policy analysts, researchers, and members of nongovernmental organizations, private sector, and media through seminars, workshops, and conferences; and 4) help individual developing countries to design and implement their own 2020 strategies, mainly through regional networks. Initial emphasis will be on sub-regional networks in East, West, and Southern Africa.
Title: Sustainable Development of Less-Favored Lands (GRP5)
Past agricultural development strategies have predominantly emphasized irrigated agriculture and high potential rainfed lands in the attempt to increase food production and stimulate economic growth. This strategy has been spectacularly successful in many countries and was responsible for the Green Revolution. But at the same time, large areas of less-favored lands have been neglected, and with rapid population growth, these lands have become or are becoming major areas of rural poverty, food insecurity, and resource degradation. About 500 million people now live in less-favored lands and, if current conditions persist, this number could increase to more than 800 million people by 2020. It is becoming increasingly clear that, on poverty and environmental grounds alone, more attention will have to be given to less-favored lands in setting priorities for policy and public investments. This leads to two key policy issues. First, what level of investment in these areas can be justified, including expenditures on agricultural research? Second, how should the resources allocated to less-favored lands be spent to promote sustainable economic development? The objectives of the proposed research are to provide empirical evidence on (1) the productivity, poverty, environmental and food security consequences of targeting agricultural investments, including agricultural research, to less-favored agricultural areas compared to more favored areas, and (2) the appropriate development strategies for different types of less-favored lands.
Title: Agricultural Strategies for Micronutrients (GRP6)
The problems addressed in this project are the existence of widespread malnutrition caused by lack of important micronutrients in the diet and the intractability of this problem, which persists even when foods containing adequate supplies of calories and proteins are consumed. Under this GRP, IFPRI and collaborating institutions are investigating the feasibility and cost- effectiveness of breeding for micronutrient-rich staple food crops. Crops being addressed by appropriate research centers include rice, wheat, beans, maize, and cassava. IFPRI recognizes that this is just one approach of many that need to be undertaken together to address widespread malnutrition. IFPRI coordinates this projects research and collaborates with a broader group of nutrition professionals that are looking at methods such as nutrition education, fortification, and supplementation. In addition, GPR6 researchers coordinate with other IFPRI research that assesses the interface of economic factors such as household income, food prices, and adoption of new technologies on nutrition.
Title: Outreach (PP20)
Outreach activities, both within the Outreach Division and within the Institute as a whole, have been a growing emphasis for IFPRI during the 1992-1997 period. IFPRIs outreach activities are divided into the following six programs.
Training and Capacity Strengthening Program - In much of the developing world, weakness or absence of institutional capacity to conduct policy research and analysis is a severe constraint on the ability of governments at all levels and of private-sector institutions, to make well-grounded choices of policies and programs in the food and related sectors. The overall objective of IFPRIs work in training and conferences is to strengthen the capacity of the developing-country counterparts to conduct food, agriculture, and natural resources policy analysis and to enhance the capacity of developing country institutions to provide training in policy analysis on a continuing basis. This is accomplished through training programs based in strong national institutions in developing countries; through a small number of global and regional IFPRI training courses in areas where the Institute has special expertise; through participation of individuals from developing countries in IFPRI research activities in ways integrated with their professional advancement; and through seminars, workshops, and conferences for experts and participants from both developed and developing countries. We collaborate with national and regional institutions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, particularly in Malawi, Ghana, and Mozambique.
Information Program - For the outcomes of IFPRI research to have impact, the results must become part of the intellectual equipment of potential users in the developing countries and in the international and bilateral agencies that support development. The single most important vehicle IFPRI uses to ensure our message gets in the hands of our constituents is our Information Program. In addition to providing policy information to its users, IFPRIs Information Program also has the objectives of(l) providing access to methodologies for use by developing-country researchers both directly in research and in training, and (2) communicating information about the Institute and its work to broader audiences, including the media in developing- and developed-countries, important to its success.
Country Programs - The Office for Country Programs was moved from the Director Generals Office into the Outreach Division in August 1997 based on Board and SMT discussions. The program was developed to further enhance IFPRIs outreach activities, to develop more specific, in-country expertise, and to strengthen the Institutes policy impact in particular countries. Although the generation of research results with characteristics of international public goods continues to be IFPRIs central objective, the Institute has realized the value of focusing IFPRIs research on a specific countrys food policy issues to strengthen the quality of the research and policy impact in the study country.
Networks - We are planning to establish a network of IFPRI Associates that will help IFPRI keep its research and outreach activities relevant to and informed by the policy issues and policy environment where we work in the developing world. In addition, we are establishing networks in East and West Africa to stimulate and facilitate countries to develop their own 2020 Vision and take steps to implement it.
Seminars Program - As part of its strategy of disseminating policy research to a wide audience through the spoken word, the Policy Seminars Program facilitates exchange of information on institute-wide thematic concerns locally, regionally, and globally. Seminars, workshops, and conferences bring together collaborators, policymakers, and IFPRI research staff to discuss research design, methodologies, and findings.
Impact Assessment - IFPRI is working to develop a more strategic approach to assessing the Institutes impact. A senior-level staff member will be hired soon to undertake this work in conjunction with the Impact Assessment Committee. In addition, IFPRI has six impact assessment activities underway or recently completed. They include: 1) estimating the quantitative return to policy-oriented social science research (underway), 2) investigating the qualitative impacts IFPRIs research has had on governments policy choices and whether the research has a demonstrable impact on poverty, food security, and malnutrition (underway); 3) a bibliometric study or intensive literature survey to determine how widely our research and outreach results are used in other research efforts, and to assess where, how often, and by whom IFPRI is cited (underway); 4) a readership survey to solicit feedback from IFPRIs general and 2020 Vision readership and found that IFPRI is successfully meeting the needs of both audiences (completed); 5) a history of IFPRI, that although its central theme is not the measurement of IFPRIs impact, the work will provide an overall view of the Institutes cumulative accomplishments (underway); and 6) a two-year project on the impact of agricultural research on poverty alleviation for the CGIARs Impact Assessment Evaluation Group (proposal underway).