Dr. Monty Jones, Incoming Chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, and Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa set the scene for the day by emphasizing the responsibility of participants to represent the needs of the hundreds of millions of resource poor farmers, livestock keepers, fish producers and forest dwellers who are not at the meeting.
He outlined reasons why research has failed to achieve adequate impact to date in order to urge participants to enact change. These included: under investment in research and capacity; fragmentation of the players in AR4D; research not being adequately linked to other sectors that would leverage better impact, such as markets and infrastructure; a lack of accountability of researchers to the end users; and underexploited opportunities for collaboration (North-South and South-South).
His hoped for outcomes of GCARD were to establish GCARD an inclusive platform; validation of the CGIAR’s priority research areas; learning and networking; and development of a road map for reorienting agriculture research to better meet the needs of the poor.
“The first GCARD is being held at a time when developing- country agriculture is commanding the highest attention in over four decades. This attention is certain to wane in the coming years. We therefore must make hay while the sun shines,” he concluded.