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Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
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Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
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Page 38
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
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Page 39
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 40
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 41
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 42
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 43
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 46
Suggested Citation:"Technology Innovation Improvement for the World Food System." National Research Council. 1975. World Food and Nutrition Study: Enhancement of Food Production for the United States : a Report of the Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources, Commission on Natural Resources, National Research Council, Prepared for the NRC Study on World Food and. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18644.
×
Page 47

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CHAPTER 4 TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION IMPROVEMENT FOR THE WORLD FOOD SYSTEM INTRODUCTION The U.S. and other developed countries cannot produce and export more than a small fraction of the food required now and in the future by the burgeoning populations of agriculturally developing nations. Furthermore, the economic and social welfare of these countries seem best served where the country is self sufficient in food resources. The primary focus of this report is on recommendations for agricultural, food, and nutrition research that, if implemented, would enhance the production and stability of food supply in the U.S. Nevertheless, it was felt advisable to make some observations regarding the solution of food problems abroad. It is hoped that a more comprehensive study of the worldwide situation will be undertaken. Production of adequate food in most developing countries requires the wise use of available land and water resources and the development and adoption of improved technologies. This section of the report does not explore all the many factors involved in maximizing food production, such as economic incentives and public policies; rather we are concerned here with developing and implementing the scientific and technological capacity to enhance food production in each country. Most developing countries have established agricultural research programs, often inadequately supported and staffed and without adequate modern facilities. Such nations could be helped in developing their capacity for technology innovation and management by collaboration with experienced agricultural scientists from other countries. The U.S., along with other developed countries and international institutions, can provide much of this needed assistance, but its provision must be planned and implemented in cooperation with national leaders and their agricultural scientists. The U.S. should function as a part of the international technical assistance community consisting of scientific technical assistance groups from various developed countries, foundations, and international research centers. For example, international agricultural research centers, sponsored by 29 nations and foundations, and coordinated by the CGIAR, have assumed a central -37-

international role in agricultural research devoted to increasing world food supplies. These centers are developing new varieties of major crops suited to diverse world conditions and are solving problems of disease, parasites, nutrition, and production practices to improve livestock productivity. Additional programs concentrate on labor intensive innovative farming systems and related technologies adapted to small farms and applicable to various conditions of soil, water supply, and climate. Most of the centers are developing satellite research programs and outreach activities that are making new seeds and other technologies available on every continent and in many developing countries. The goals are labor intensive technologies with resultant increased crop productivity. The capacity to invent, adapt, and diffuse technology has expanded at both the national and international level in the last decade. As the flow of new technology has accelerated, sociocultural factors have loomed as serious constraints on the growth of agricultural productivity. This places a high priority on the development of research capacity in the several social sciences in developing coun- tries and lends urgency to social science research on problems of cultural and political structure. Most of the research leading to more effective institu- tional performance, including policies that contribute to productivity growth, must be done in the country in which it is to be used. There is, however, need for regional collaboration among related social science researchers and for a capacity to focus institutional attention on problems of pressing international significance. Ways should be sought for strengthening the U.S. agricultural research system capacity that will make a more effective contribution to institutional performance. Technical assistance programs require continuing assessment and adjustments if they are to benefit from experience and from changing situations and institutional characteristics. The needs of the agriculturally developing countries include the following: 1. improved capacity to formulate national research needs, arrange them according to priority, and organize programs for their attainment; 2. strong institutions to conduct effective research and development programs: of particular importance is site-specific adaptive research; 3. trained manpower to carry out diverse technology innovation management programs; and 4. effective communications networks. U.S. institutions managing effective technical assistance programs should possess the following qualifications: 1. a clearly identified role in international technical assistance programs (institutions often develop -38-

special capabilities, such as production of tropical crops or management of water on the farm); 2. a strong and consistent performance record in international technical assistance programs as evidenced by the use of well-qualified staff members and capable backup support; and 3. adequate resources for management and support of international programs: only federal support on a continuing basis can enable most educational institutions to develop and maintain strong international programs. The diverse international community of donor and recipient countries is an ever-changing mixture of needs, problems, and social and political attitudes. The major consideration for an effective U.S. role in technology innovation management systems for improving world food production and supply is a program flexibility that can adapt to these changing needs of the recipient countries, each of which must build its own capacity for technology innovation management. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT FOR TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION MANAGEMENT A national strategy should be encouraged for U.S. involvement in technical collaboration in agriculturally developing nations. The U.S. does not currently have a consistent strategy for increasing world food production or providing technical assistance in technology innovation. The nation does support a wide range of activities devoted to this end from which can be derived some appropriate elements, but these activities are not coordinated under a single strategy or long-term plan of action. A national strategy would provide a set of expectations useful to the numerous institutions of the U.S. and those of agriculturally developing nations involved in devising long-term programs. National interests of the U.S. can be grouped under such headings as economic, scientific, humanitarian, and, possibly, others like the national security. Under economic interests two issues are significant. Some data show that as growth occurs in agriculturally developing nations, imports increase from the U.S., even imports of agricultural commodities. Whether that situation prevails over a broad range of conditions can be determined. The second issue concerns another aspect of world commerce. With the 1971 devaluation of the dollar, U.S. food became relatively cheaper for other countries, and the U.S. consumer was placed in closer competition with the world's hungry than he had been before. Two science issues of national interest can be identified. One involves the contribution the rest of the world can make to our own agricultural, scientific, and -39-

technological expertise and the progress we can make through experience in the rest of the world. The other involves the nature and quality of training of our students and their impact on international collaboration. The humanitarian issue involves American values, philosophy, and traditions. Historically, this nation has been uncomfortable with realities of starvation, poverty, and disease existing anywhere in the world. At the same time it places high value on education and self-reliance. The development of U.S. strategy will require consideration and judgment with respect to these apparently conflicting national attitudes. National security and perhaps other elements in the national interest must be analyzed, but their consideration requires specialists outside the coverage of this report. Strategy development also involves identification of the limiting factors and analysis of the time and resources needed to reduce or eliminate them. These must be identified and analyzed at useful or manageable levels of generalization. For example, if the supply of trained manpower in the U.S. will set limitations, this impediment must be overcome before other limiting factors can be addressed. Finally, the resources available must be evaluated. Money is only a small part. Of greater, obvious significance is the finite pool of scientific manpower and the science-technology organization. Of less obvious significance is the complex of organizational and managerial skills in the U.S., but this resource may be of considerable usefulness if deployed appropriately. The area of resource identification, evaluation, and allocation probably involves the most significant issues. The U.S. has accumulated more than 100 years of experience in agricultural development and technology innovation, both domestically and internationally. Strategically, it would be helpful to evaluate the usefulness of that experience to agriculturally developing nations along with the magnitude of the task involved in harvesting and processing it. Another resource is manpower. The U.S. has a large pool of trained manpower and extensive manpower training facilities, but both the pool and the facilities have glaring deficiencies which must be corrected. A profile of manpower expectations must be drawn as a basis for rational investment in human resource development. The availability of manpower and its capabilities for aiding agriculturally developing nations needs particularly critical evaluation. A related issue is the means of mobilizing, organizing, and deploying human resources, which reside in several federal agencies, more than 50 state universities, and many private firms. It is a resource that represents experience in development and management-programming as well as in scientific and technological matters. -40-

The financial resources the U.S. can afford or is willing to invest in this endeavor is also a limiting factor. Strategically, analysis of the following factors should be useful: 1. inadequate supply of U.S. manpower trained to the worldwide task; 2. inadequate supply of trained manpower in agriculturally developing nations; 3. inadequate organization of the technology innova- tion machinery in agriculturally developing nations; H. inadequate organization and management of the world stock of knowledge of agricultural science and technology; 5. inadequate mobilization, organization, and financ- ing of U.S. human resources; and 6. inadequate mobilization, organization, and financ- ing of U.S. educational resources. The development of a national strategy will involve many entities whose broad participation will be necessary in arriving at a national consensus. Private as well as public groups should be involved. Government leadership in initiation and organization should probably come from the executive branch, although Congressional committee leadership is an alternative. Certainly, the Congress should participate. Within the executive branch, responsibility has already been placed with USAID to chair a coordinating committee of federal agencies involved in development assistance, and perhaps this agency could organize the larger effort. Another alternative could be a special presidential commission, such as the President's Science Advisory Committee of 1967. The USAID should take the initiative to improve the capacity of agriculturally developing nations in technology innovation. Guidelines are needed to make technological innovation more efficient and effective. These guidelines must address the essential functions that have to be performed and help management accommodate to the specific situation of a country. Given the current state of the art, such guidelines cannot be specified in recipe form. However, the following are some aspects of management that must be taken into account. 1. Agricultural technologies adapted to the specific natural conditions under which farmers operate: the most important are soil characteristics, climate, and the nature of the terrain. These technologies require strong national research institutions with sufficient regional scope to encompass all the significant producing areas in the country. 2. Incentives and disincentives for farm producers and other entrepreneurs: government price and exchange rate policies sometimes distort price relationships in a way -41-

that discourages farmers from adopting new technologies, or induces them to adopt technologies inappropriate to the endowment of the country (e.g., capital intensive as opposed to labor intensive technologies). Credit policies are often such that small farmers are unable to purchase technological innovations, or innovations may be unavailable because of import restrictions, insufficient domestic production capacity, or inadequate transport and storage facilities. 3. The spread of technological knowledge: farmers must be informed of new technologies and instructed in their use. This will involve such nontechnological activities as nonformal education, extension programs, demonstration farms, and regional agricultural fairs. Suppliers of agricultural credit and input and product marketing services to farmers must also learn new ways. (4) Participation of agriculturally knowledgeable people in the public decision-making process: food production is the leading industry in most agriculturally developing nations. Most public policies have important implications for agriculture. Yet, national interest in development of a strong, scientifically and technologically based agriculture is frequently underrepresented in policy decisions. There will be no change without a strong national commitment to modernized agriculture. Understanding the process of technological innovation in agriculture is the first step in improving its management. Once the basic elements are identified--from development of location-specific technologies to their diffusion throughout the farm sector—each element can be addressed individually from a research standpoint, and the management problem of identifying and removing limiting factors can be clarified. Through the efforts of national and international research institutions in both agriculturally developed and less developed countries, an effective beginning has been made on the problem of technology innovation. In addition, there have been significant experiences in the management of technological innovation from which the knowledge produced has not yet been harvested, such as the Puebla experience in Mexico (a program to improve corn production on small rain- fed farms), the Masagana 99 experience in the Philippines (a national rice production program), and various national experiences with high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat. Much additional research in the agriculturally developing nations is needed, however, to expand knowledge of technological innovation and improve the capacity to manage it. Immediate steps should be taken to establish an organization for funding and coordinating activities of state, federal, and private institutions in the planning and management of technology innovation programs. Long-term support for U.S. institutions involved in international -42-

technology innovation management programs should be provided. Programs of technical assistance or cooperation are characterized by a variety of performers, resources, and agencies and institutions governing their policies and directives. Well over a dozen federal agencies, more than 53 universities and colleges, and a number of private institutions are involved in the conduct of agricultural technology transfer activities. The skilled resources used by these performers are widely scattered and often organizationally bound. The contractors of these activities, who set policies and establish programs, include five separate bureaus in USAID, various other federal agencies through various bilateral agreements, the World Bank, private foundations, CGIAR, and others. In the past, coordination among these many agents has occurred through a variety of communicative devices. It has probably worked reasonably well when the status of agricultural development efforts and the environments to which they were applied are considered. Nevertheless, each of these technology innovation management institutions generally operated independently of the others. This has led to a number of shortcomings in the use of resources, such as a tendency to partial rather than total system evaluation, a lack of relevant capabilities in certain areas of a program, selection of programs based on resource availability rather than relative importance, and assistance that was not balanced with the needs of the recipient country. What might have been an acceptable form of organization under past conditions is of questionable adequacy now. In total, the current organization is not geared to handle the technology innovation management requirements with which it must cope now and in the future. Whatever mechanism is devised for improving coordination among the various components of the technology innovation management system, it must at least meet the criteria of being a permissive mechanism rather than a restrictive, administrative one. The diversity of environments in which technology innovation management occurs requires this, and the available resources must fit in with rather than be fit to these environments. This would suggest a mechanism that provides policy guidance rather than specific programs. Such guidance should reflect the inputs of the principal participating institutions. The mechanisms for facilitating coordination among the various institutions should provide the opportunity for an enduring partnership between state, federal, and private institutions in the planning and management of technology innovation programs. Consider the example provided by the U.S. in the relationship between federal agencies and land grant universities in matters of technical assistance. The federal agencies have access to the budgeting process. They -43-

provide logistical support of diplomatic and technical missions, they give the mandate to administer the U.S. foreign assistance programs, and they play a role in the financing and program direction of the international centers. They need research, training, and advisory services from colleges and universities to develop the manpower required for both domestic and overseas activities, involving citizens in both the U.S. and in agriculturally developing countries. The universities provide experience in basic and applied research, the training of native and foreign students, and the transfer of technology through the cooperative extension service. Many of the land grant universities have a commitment to, and experience in international activities while maintaining a strong domestic backstopping capability. U.S. universities, however, lack the adequate and reliable long-term funding to maintain continuity in their international program efforts. Short-term support of international programs conducted by universities either takes capable faculty away from its regular assignments or forces the university to seek other available manpower. In the first instance, university programs suffer; in the second, the international program may be reduced. With assured long-term funding a university can add quality scientists to its permanent faculty, provide additional trained human resources, and make the international program a part of its overall program. A similar situation exists with USDA involvement in international activities. The considerable capabilities of the numerous institutions in the private sector that have expertise in the development process should also be included in addressing this problem. Support to governmental agencies could be provided through appropriate federal legislation. Incentives for institutions in the private sector could be provided through contractual arrangements. Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act (H.R. 9005, July 29, 1975) provides a program for strengthening the capabilities of universities and other U.S. institutions and international agricultural centers to solve food and nutrition problems of developing countries. Favorable action on this or similar legislation would provide an organization and funding mechanism for a strengthened U.S. international technical assistance program that could be developed to encompass the capabilities of various federal agencies and the private sector as well as the educational institutions. Continuing support should be provided for international agricultural research centers as now coordinated by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research. The cooperation of a number of nations and international foundations in the planning, development, and support of international research centers is a recent innovation. Centers dedicated to the development and adaption of technologies to improve food production in

agriculturally developing nations represent one of the most significant international programs evolved in recent years. Ten have been established with an aggregate budget of approximately $50 million for fiscal 1976. Others are in the planning and development stages. These centers have come to fill an important role in agricultural development through the perfection of new technologies and their release to agriculturally developing nations to insure high levels of production and the conservation and effective use of natural resources. Several unique features have been helpful in making the programs of these centers effective, among them an international diversity of scientists, continuing support assured for relatively long periods, relative freedom from political and social pressures in the individual participating countries, and strong commitments to the solution of specific problems. The U.S. currently furnishes about one-fourth of the financial support for each of these international centers. Continued support at approximately this level is strongly recommended. It is recommended that the U.S., in cooperation with other countries, promote and assist the development of international research and development networks for assisting improvement in agriculturally developing nations. National adaptive research and associated extension programs need guidance and strengthening to enable individual countries to make effective use of information coming from international agricultural research/technology transfer networks. The components of this network include developed countries' research institutions, international centers and related regional institutions or programs, and the national research systems of the developing countries. U.S. programs of direct agricultural assistance will need careful planning and adjustment if they are to relate most effectively to international programs. A unified set of programs that mutually reinforce each other should be the primary goal. The United States should establish one or more centers to conduct research and train scientists in problem areas important to agriculturally developing nations but not of major importance in this country. An immediate need is a center to study agricultural production in the humid tropics and another for the semi- arid tropics. The centers could give attention to soil, climate, water management, and crop production practices and cropping systems. The tropics furnish one of the greatest potentials for enhancing world food supplies. The U.S. is providing technical help for many countries in the tropics, but in general U.S. scientists are not experienced or well-informed about the problems of this vast region. In consequence, our assistance has not been as wise or effective as necessary. Individuals, through long experience, have become well -45-

informed. However, there is no adequate mechanism for transferring the benefits of their experience to others; and, of equal importance, there are neither facilities nor adequate support for intensive research in the U.S. on technical problems of tropical agriculture. The International Agricultural Development Service (IADS) has recently been formed, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and incorporated in the State of New York. Its purpose is to assist interested developing countries, individually and collectively, to accelerate agricultural production and rural prosperity while strengthening their institutions to permit sustained progress with minimal external assistance. The service is expected to complement and support the work of developing country institutions, the international agricultural research institute, universities, international and bilateral technical assistance and lending agencies, and private organizations. IADS is an autonomous, nonprofit, self-supporting, apolitical, technical assistance institution. It is governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees comprising emminent authorities on agriculture and rural development. A technical advisory board composed of specialists from the developing countries will be formed, and an international, interdisciplinary career staff of highest caliber will be recruited. IMPROVING THE STATISTICAL GATHERING SYSTEMS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES Programs should be initiated to transfer and adapt to agriculturally developing countries the new technologies being generated in the U.S. and in other countries for obtaining and analyzing agricultural and food data. The traditional principal suppliers of statistics of agricultural production, food distribution, and nutritional status in the international arena are mainly FAO, USDA, and the International Wheat Council. Screening the flow of information from these and other sources is an overwhelming problem. In the same way, questionable reliability, timeliness, usefulness, and accuracy of information provided by governments seriously impede the decision-making process, in both analysis and planning. The USDA should make available assistance for manpower training, methodologies, and for field assistance to help countries develop improved systems for gathering reliable data on agricultural production, food distribution, and nutritional status of the people. This assistance should be in cooperation with the agricultural statistical gathering programs of FAO. -46-

SELECTED REFERENCES Adams, D.W. and E.W. Coward, Jr. (1972) Small-Farm Development Strategies. Agr. Development Council, p. 33. Bellagio VII (1975) Conference on National Agricultural Systems. Montecello, Montreal, Canada. June 1-4. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (1974) International Research in Agriculture, p. 70. Myrdal, G. (1974) The transfer of technology to underdeveloped countries. Scientific American, 231 (3): 173-182. Mayer, A. and J. Mayer (1974) Agriculture: The Empire. Daedalis. Jour. Am. Acad. Arts and science. Summer: pp. 84-95. National Academy of Sciences (in press) Pest Control: An Assessment of Present and Alternative Technologies. 5 volumes. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences. Panel on Nutrition and the International Situation (1974) National Nutrition Policy Study: Report and Recommendations—VI prepared for the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. U.S. Senate. June. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Ruttan, V.W. and Y. Hayami (1973) Technology Transfer and Agricultural Development. Technology and Culture, 14 (2): 119-151. Ruttan, V.W. (1973) Induced Technical and Institutional Change and the Future of Agriculture. Agr. Development Council, December. p. 11. U.S. Agency for International Development (1975) Technical Assistance Bureau Network Series. AGR-01 to AGR-07. -47-

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