Mark Rosegrant of IFPRI briefed session participants on the policy and institutional constraints and opportunities, and the CGIAR’s proposed thematic research focus, to support farm incomes for the poor.
Overall, the research program aims to provide the evidence base and new ideas to support the creation of vibrant and sustainable markets for poor, smallholder farmers and identifying pathways to get farmers more embedded in local and international markets.
Agricultural growth has bigger impact on poverty reduction than other sectors, said Rosegrant.
Specific research areas focused on identifying policy biases that negatively affect the poor and women, including public spending, taxation, trade, and regulation were identified. The research theme would also focus on investments in local public goods, promoting growth in agricultural and rural development, and service sectors.
The CGIAR’s comparative advantage in the policy arena was also noted.
“By working with partners, social scientists working with plant or soil scientists at the international and national level allows us to cut across broad areas in ways that others couldn’t do,” he added.
The absence of a platform that links the various actors along the research-development-policy continuum, from bottom up to the top, was identified as a key challenge the research theme hoped to address.
Participants noted that it was important for the research to determine which beneficiaries it hoped to target on the micro-level, and address key contraints that negatively affect farmer incomes such as post-harvest losses and proper training to ensure farmers are able to maximize their productive capacity.
Nigel Poole, chair of ICRISAT, noted the private sector often plays a central role in policy development, and not including them in policy formulations could have a negative impact on farmers and their incomes.