Julio Berdegué


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Institution: International Farming Systems Research Methodology Network (RIMISP), Chile

E-mail: berdegue@reuna.cl


Julio A. Berdegué was born in 1957 in Mexico, and has been a resident of Chile since 1984. An agronomist by training, he has studied in the former National School of Agriculture in Mexico; the University of Arizona at Tucson, the University of California at Davis, both in the USA; and the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands. For over a decade he has been the Coordinator and, later, Chairman of the Board, of RIMISP (International Farming Systems Research Methodology Network), a region-wide network of 33 governmental and non-governmental institutions, dedicated to the innovation of methods in agricultural research, rural development and natural resource management. In the private sector, Mr. Berdegué is the owner and manager of a medium size firm in Chile dedicated to producing and marketing seeds and vegetables for the fresh market and the agroindustrial sectors. In the public sector Mr. Berdegué has been employed by Chile’s Agricultural Development Institute, with direct responsibility at the national level for its programs of extension, credit, small scale irrigation and small scale agribusinesses.

Title: "Institutions to improve the contribution of agricultural research to rural poverty alleviation." Co-authors: German Escobar, Diana Carney.

Theme: Key 4


To increase the contribution of agricultural research to rural poverty alleviation it is essential to develop a better understanding of the nature of rural poverty and the role of agriculture in the livelihoods of the poor. This will facilitate:

  • improved prioritisation of research and clearer targeting
  • better monitoring of impact
  • closer links between agricultural research and other development activities.

It is also necessary to achieve greater commitment to poverty reduction by agricultural research organizations and a clearer allocation of resources to this area.

Different institutional mechanisms are being developed in pursuit of these goals, including:

  • Locally negotiated development strategies.
  • Increased participation of stakeholders in research decision-making
  • Decentralisation of research
  • Greater involvement of farmers’ groups in technology development (as purchasers, contractors, partners etc.)
  • Poverty-focused competitive technology funds
  • Research partnerships to harness the benefits of emerging technologies for the poor.

These will need to be coupled with measures that increase the overall efficiency and cost effectiveness of poverty-focused research in order to attract more stable funding to this area of work.

The paper will describe the new developments, provide examples and discuss the potential and limitations of the new institutional arrangements.

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