The global geographical balance of food and agricultural R&D spending is shifting, characterized by a declining U.S. share and a rising middle-income-country share, propelled heavily by the rapid rise of spending in China. Based on our newly compiled data, we estimate that China now outspends the United States on both public and private food and agricultural research on a purchasing power parity basis. The public-private orientation of the research has also changed markedly, with the private sector now accounting for around two-thirds of the food and agricultural R&D spending total in both China and the United States. Our estimates indicate that China’s private sector tilts heavily towards post-farm R&D activities, whereas the U.S. private sector is split more evenly between on-farm and post-farm spending. While the intensity of Chinese investment in food and agricultural R&D (relative to agricultural GDP) is beginning to grow, it still lags well behind the food and agricultural R&D investment intensities of the United States and other higher-income Asian countries (e.g., Japan and South Korea). The development regularities we reveal in the longer-run trends are indicative of future R&D investment patterns with potentially profound long-run implications for the size, shape and accessibility of the global stocks of scientific knowledge that underpin food and agricultural sectors worldwide.
South Africa faces a double burden of hunger and malnutrition, on the one hand, and obesity with associated non-communicable diseases (NCDs), on the other. In many countries, in both the global North and South, malnutrition and obesity frequently co-exist in the same people. This is a condition known as “hidden hunger”. Hidden hunger is a result of various factors. These include poverty, inequality, urbanisation and industrialisation of the food system. The interplay of these factors leaves low income households with very limited access to fresh, healthy foods. Instead, many South Africans – and other people living in similar conditions – subsist on diets high in sugar and processed starch. These diets contribute to increasing levels of obesity. But they don’t meet nutritional needs.
Are there lessons that other countries, and particularly developing countries, can learn from the European Union (EU)’s many years of experience in implementing rural development policy? At first sight, this might seem a strange question to ask. The countries making up the EU are highly urbanized and industrialized. Yet the EU’s predominantly rural areas are home to 19% of its population and cover 51% of its territory. These numbers rise to 55% and 90%, respectively, if rural areas with some urban population are included. Europe’s rural areas share many of the problems facing those the world over. Per capita income is lower than in urban areas and many rural areas suffer from structural problems, such as a lack of attractive employment opportunities, skill shortages, underinvestment in connectivity and basic services, and a significant youth drain.
To better address the specific research and policy needs of individual developing countries, IFPRI began a concerted process of establishing and building up its research programs within a number of those countries starting in 2004, expanding on its existing international presence. A May 22 seminar organized by IFPRI and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets(PIM) explored the results of the recently released assessment of this process. Panelists from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Michigan State University and IFPRI commented on the findings and shared their own experiences with outposting staff. The seminar was held during the semi-annual meeting of the IFPRI Board of Trustees.
Global oilseed production is forecast to decline slightly in 2019/20 in contrast to the steady rise observed over the past several years. Soybean production is projected to fall as reduced plantings and harvest in North America more than offset increases in all other regions. Sunflowerseed production is also forecast to fall as flat or declining production is expected in all major producing regions. Both rapeseed and palm kernel output are expected to grow with rapeseed production nearly flat to rising in most regions while palm kernel rises with growing palm oil.
The amount of food loss and waste in supply chains is significant. The most widely cited estimate, by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is that as much as one third of total usable global food production is not consumed. However, this is a very crude estimate based on few case studies. IFPRI’s research on food loss suggests that the physical quantities lost during pre- and post-harvest stages (up to the retail level) appear much less than FAO’s figure. IFPRI Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division (MTID) Director Rob Vos discussed these findings, along with the complexities of measuring food loss and identifying its causes and consequences, in a workshop presentation included in the recent publication Reducing Impacts of Food Loss and Waste: Proceedings of a Workshop (2019) by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.