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Improving Global Integration of Crop Research

07:19 EDT 1 Aug 2017 | Meridian Institute

In this article, published in the journal Science, the authors note there have been substantial gains in crop productivity in recent decades, including in many less developed countries, due to contributions from the scientific, development and farm communities. However, for current yield trends to match future demand, there will need to be refinement in research infrastructure and better leverage of global expertise and technologies. The authors call for the development of a Global Crop Improvement Network (GCIN), which would be modeled on the successful International Wheat Improvement Network (IWIN). The GCIN, the authors write, would encompass “most staple food crops, providing access to well-controlled ‘field laboratories,’ while harmonizing research practices and sharing data. Combined with socioeconomic and cropping systems research, a GCIN could revolutionize the ability to understand and model crop responses to environments globally and accelerate adoption of vital technologies.” The article discusses and proposes potential funding strategies for GCIN, noting that networks like IWIN have brought together a broad spectrum of partners, both public and private. The authors conclude: “A successful GCIN would likely require a consortium of funding bodies to set the agenda and put governance in place according to their own criteria. An evaluation process should be designed to estimate ex ante and ex post returns to the network, and precedents are extremely favorable. At this stage, the best way to promote a GCIN is to elaborate a scientific rationale based on precedents and opportunities.”

Original Article: Improving Global Integration of Crop Research

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