International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) organized a one day workshop on Recent Trends in Agricultural Research Capacity, Investment and Outputs in India on August 17, 2016 at the NASC Complex, PUSA, New Delhi.
The aim of the workshop was to share the results of the of a recent comprehensive survey, targeting more than 200 Indian agricultural research agencies. The data from IFPRI’s Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) program focused on agricultural research and development (R&D) spending, funding sources, and human resource capacity, and allows users to examine key indicators across countries.
In anarticlepublished in European Journal of Development Research, “Public Investment in Agricultural Research and Extension in India,” Pramod Kumar Joshi, Praduman Kumar, and Shinoj Parappurathu examine the spatial and temporal dimensions of agricultural research and extension (R&E) investments with emphasis on returns on investment in major states in India. The article concluded that investments in R&E should increase to meet the future growth challenges in the Indian agriculture sector.
The authors map the temporal and spatial changes in investment in R&E with emphasis on returns to investment in major states of India. They track past patterns of public spending on Research & Development (R&D) in terms of efficiency and explore variation in public spending on R&D across states. They also estimate the returns to R&D spending and test if the states that spend more achieve higher Total Factor Productivity growth (TFP). TFP growth is estimated using factors such as research and extension stock created over the years, infrastructure and the quality of natural resources, which is later used to calculate Value of Marginal Product (VMP) and the Internal Rate of Return (IRR).
Interesting trends surfaced from the data. R&E increased not only in absolute terms but also as a share of GDP and the Green Revolution has been due to effective R&E investment. The R&E system of India has played a significant role in changing country’s status from food-importing to food-secure in relatively short time. The investment in agricultural research, which was equivalent to 0.30 percent of total GDP in agriculture in 1980/1981, increased to 0.52 percent in 1990/1991 and 0.77 percent in 2010/2011.
The share of research in total R&E investment increased from 65 to 82 percent from the period of 1961-1970 to 2001-2010, but the share of extension declined from 35 percent to 18 percent. This illustrates that research and extension did not follow parallel trends in the spending over time. This can have important policy implications, as lower relative allocations to extension could retard the flow of new knowledge from labs to field and the returns accrued from higher research investment could be underutilized.
Another important inference from the study was that relative shares to priority sub-sectors of agricultural and allied sectors has shifted considerably over time. Investments in R&E in the crop sector and fisheries have increased while investments in R&E for the livestock sector have decreased. The investment in soil and water R&E has remained unpredictable. In addition, different states’ shares of aggregate R&E have been reduced while the central government’s share has increased over the past decade.
The study also reveals that investment in extension has considerably reduced over the years, and the gap between research and extension investment has been widening as well. The intensity of investment in R&E (i.e., total investment per unit cropped area/population) varies considerably across Indian states, with a difference of 1:20 between the lowest-intensity of investment and high intensity of investment. High disparity in TFP and wide variations in VMP and IRR have been observed across different states and the actual returns on these investments depend on TFP and growth. For example, while Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Assam have had high investment intensity, this has not translated to higher productivity. In conclusion, it is important to identify the agriculture areas which are important for future investments in R&E and this should be strategically directed and balanced among different agricultural sectors so that growth is not compromised in the future.
Konark Sikka is an intern with IFPRI- South Asia office
Climate change has become more pronounced over the past few decades, and agriculture has been one of the most affected sectors due to impact of monsoon regime changes, droughts, and floods. A recent IFPRI policy note, Climate Change and Extreme Events: Impacts on Pakistan’s Agriculture, presents the results of two studies examining effects of drought and climate change on the country’s agriculture sector.
The study shows that intensive drought periods occur approximately every 16 years, which last from four to five years and are followed by wet periods. These droughts occur in the central and southern regions of Pakistan, which are the country’s agricultural powerhouses. This cycle of droughts poses an obvious challenge to water management. On the other hand, the fact that a cycle of 16 years could be tracked suggests periodicity, which provides useful insights for planning coping strategies.
Focusing on climate change across all scenarios, the authors project a decline in the yields of the key staples of wheat, maize and rice due to higher temperatures and the contraction of the growing season during the warmer season. Looking at both internal and external factors, such as the rise of international prices due to the impact of climate change, a decline in domestic production would pose a negative impact on Pakistan’s food security.
The authors suggest some policy-centred ways forward:
Drought risk reduction and long-term climate change adaptation strategies should be integrated into agricultural development policies.
Increase agricultural research, with a focus on improved irrigation efficiency through adoption of advanced irrigation technologies and management.
Flexible trade policies in drought years, and changes in reservoir release rules ahead of droughts where reliable forecasting information is available, are needed in order to mitigate drought impact on agriculture.
In order to improve irrigation and agricultural efficiency, the following measures are suggested: cultivar improvement programs, strengthening crop management research, expanding agricultural extension and education, strengthening infrastructure in rural areas, accelerating irrigation management reforms, allocating irrigation water more flexibly across provinces, and accelerating drip expansion.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Get the latest updates and information from the IFPRI South Asia Office