Institution: University of Maryland, USA
Sara J. Scherr is a natural resource economist with extensive experience in policy and economic research on the relation between agricultural development and land and resource management in the tropics. She earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. She has held positions at Stanford Universitys Food Research Institute, the International Center for Research in Agroforestry in Kenya, the International Tree Crops Institute in California, and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC. She is currently Adjunct Professor in the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department of the University of Maryland, College Park. Her main areas of research have been the impacts of petroleum development on agriculture; agroforestry policy, adoption, project evaluation, and on-farm research design; policies for sustainable development of fragile lands, in particular tropical hillsides; the economic impacts of land degradation; and community natural resource management. Her fieldwork has focused on Mesoamerica and East Africa.
Title: "Sharpening the focus on poverty in public international agricultural research for development." Co-author: Ruth Haug
The research strategy of the Green Revolution was premised on key assumptions about the characteristics and causes of rural poverty and food insecurity. Recent research has shown that global changes in demography, food markets, production technology and public welfare policies have fundamentally changed the nature of poverty and food insecurity. Distinct patterns characterize different developing regions and call for distinct agricultural research priorities and strategies. In many situations, the evolving private sector and national agricultural research systems can be expected to meet these new challenges.
The international agricultural research system should increasingly focus on the needs of the food-insecure with common characteristics across national borders. New priorities should be to improve agriculture and natural resource management on densely-populated marginal lands in the tropics and sub-tropics, to catalyze and strategically support decentralized adaptive research for heterogeneous environments, to better target and coordinate biotechnology research, and to enhance the role of poor people in research priority-setting, implementation and impact assessment.