Investing in Agricultural Research and Development

Field evaluation of virus-resistant cassava plants in Uganda
Investing in Agricultural Research and Development – Field evaluation of virus-resistant cassava plants in Uganda

In spite of their invaluable contribution to economic growth, farmers in developing countries often lack the tools, money and skills to respond to agricultural development challenges.Pests and diseases destroy crops and animals; extreme weather events slow work and limit production; and growing populations increase demand for nutritious food. Science and technology solutions are critical to meeting growing demand for food, maintaining market competitiveness and adapting to and mitigating risks. Agricultural research helps generate new technologies and improved policies--key drivers of growth in agricultural productivity and resilience.

Poor and food-insecure populations benefit the most from such growth, since they spend the greatest proportion of their incomes on food.

For the last 50 years, USAID has worked to bring the latest scientific knowledge and technology to those who need it most. Under Feed the Future, The U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, and in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Board on International Food and Agriculture Development and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, USAID has released a new strategy for agricultural research.

Agricultural research activities are carried out in partnership with other U.S. Government agencies, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, U.S. university-led programs including the Feed the Future Innovation Labs, developing country universities and national research systems, private companies, NGOs and other donor and multilateral research organizations.

Research activities are completed and interlinked with comprehensive programs in human and institutional capacity building.

The new agricultural research portfolio focuses on three major areas to meet global food security goals:

  • Advancing productivity by supporting research to reduce production constraints, increasing yield potentials for major crops and livestock through both traditional breeding and biotechnology, and improving management practices for aquaculture and fisheries;
  • Transforming key production systems through sustainable intensification in areas where poverty and undernutrition are concentrated. Specifically, the sustainable intensification approach works on integrating advances in soil fertility, agronomy, animal science, water management, market access, policies, and nutrition; and
  • Improving food safety and nutrition by enhancing dietary diversity, understanding household decision-making, improving access to and availability of nutritious foods, and reducing post-harvest losses and contamination.  

Visit to learn more about the Research Strategy.

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