Why it is more profitable to invest money in agricultural R&D, roads and irrigation than on subsidies

At the book launch in New Delhi. Photo: A Padhee, ICRISAT

At the book launch in New Delhi. Photo: A Padhee, ICRISAT

A book titled Supporting Indian Farms: the Smart Way that brings out the advantages of investing money in agriculture and infrastructure and not on subsidies was released by Mr Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India, on 18 September 2018. The book was co-authored and edited by Dr Marco Ferroni, CGIAR System Management Board Chair; Dr Ashok Gulati, Infosys Chair Professor at Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER); and Dr Yuan Zhou, Head of Research and Policy Analysis, Syngenta Foundation of Sustainable Agriculture.

The book talks of a modeling exercise that reveals that the marginal returns in terms of number of people brought out of income poverty or higher agri-GDP growth are almost 5 to 10 times more if the public money is spent through investments in agri-R&D, roads, irrigation etc., compared to the same money spent as subsidies on fertilizers and power.

CGIAR interaction meeting

As part of his official trip to India, Dr Marco Ferroni, interacted with representatives of CGIAR centers operating in the country. During the meeting held in New Delhi, he discussed a wide range of topics including the dynamics of the current agricultural research environment. Dr Ferroni  emphasized on south-south collaboration, with focus on Africa; the new breeding initiative to modernize plant breeding; proper dissemination of research outcomes; and the private sector adapting to market needs, thereby creating value for consumers in the process.

ICRISAT was represented at the meeting by Dr Arabinda Padhee, Director, Country Relations and Business Affairs. Other CGIAR Center attendees were representatives of IRRI, ICARDA, Bioversity International, ICRAF, CIMMYT, CIP, IFPRI, IWMI and ILRI*.

Meeting with ICRISAT Board Members and others

Dr Marco Ferroni, Systems Management Board Chair, CGIAR, planting a tree at ICRISAT campus. Photo: P Srujan, ICRISAT

Dr Marco Ferroni, Systems Management Board Chair, CGIAR, planting a tree at ICRISAT campus. Photo: P Srujan, ICRISAT

While in New Delhi, Dr Ferroni met Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and Vice Chair, ICRISAT Board; and  Dr Shobhana Pattanayak, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare. He also met with Dr Chhabilendra Roul, Secretary, ICAR.

Interaction with ICRISAT scientists

On his visit to ICRISAT headquarters in Hyderabad,  Dr Ferroni visited the various departments and facilities and highlighted the need for greater science communication. Later in the day, he planted a sapling in the campus, in keeping with ICRISAT’s tradition for visiting dignitaries.

*IRRI (International Rice Research Institute); ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas); ICRAF (World Agroforestry Centre); CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center); CIP (International Potato Center); IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute); IWMI (International Water Management Institute); ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute).

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