agriculture development specialists have been tracking the adoption and diffusion of modern varieties of the major table crops, so they know the extent to which modern wheat and rice crops have been adopted by farmers in developing world and the connection of that diffusion to productivity growth. This work also has shown that the rates of return to crop R and D in the developing world have been consistently high—on the order of 50 percent or more. Furthermore, these high rates of return have also high pay-offs for U.S. agriculture. For example, according to a study by Philip Pardey and colleagues for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI,1996), from an overall investment of $71 million since 1960 in wheat improvement research at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the U.S. economy realized a return of at least $3.4 billion and up to $13.4 billion for the period 1970 to 1993. From a total investment of about $63 million since 1960 in rice research at the CGIAR’s International Rice Research Institute, the United States gained at least $37 million and up to $1 billion in economic benefits from 1970 to 1993, according to the same study. “The bottom line,” Pingali concluded, “is that international crop improvement research has had high pay-offs, not just for the countries where the work was targeted but also high pay-offs back to U.S. agriculture.”

For small landholders in the developing world the chief crops are rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, millet, and cassava. For each crop the foundation has set clearly defined output targets that it expected grantees to achieve. For example, an output could be the release of a particular variety of maize that is tolerant to drought, or it could be the number of farmers in a given area who adopted a variety over a period of time. For grants across the entire food chain from seed to the consumer’s plate, defining outputs becomes increasingly complex. Outputs for the use of fertilizer are straightforward, but what are outputs for fertilizer policies? Nevertheless, once specified by the foundation, grantees are expected to apply a set of indicators to track progress toward achieving those outputs.

The foundation has also sought to measure the extent to which its $1.7 billion agriculture investment over four years has reduced hunger and poverty. “Just adding up the outcomes from ways to monitor grant making does not necessarily get us to the answer,” said Pingali. To address this problem, it has set up a randomly sampled household survey across Sub-Saharan Africa that is nationally representative and stratified by the agro-ecologies present in each country. It is now in the process of collecting detailed household data on production practices, technologies

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