Edited by Stuart J. Smyth, Peter W.B. Phillips and David Castle
Chapter 20: The research pipeline
For the first time in a long while, agriculture has been elevated to the top of the agenda of world leaders, with strong, affirmative positions taken by leaders meeting at the G8, G20, UN, OECD and other multilateral forums in 2008-12. Agricultural development offers prospects to address a number of pressing global issues: new technology should enhance food security for a projected world population of 9 billion in 2050; new applications could accelerate economic and social development for an estimated half of the world's population currently employed in agri-food production; new technologies and new farming methods offer opportunities to improve the global environment, reduce soil degradation, improve local water quality and accelerate carbon sequestration to offset climate change; and new crops could trigger industrial development, with prospects ranging from biofuels, to bioproducts (for example replacements for plastics or as artificial fibres) and proteins and enzymes for health and industrial development. To realize these goals, farmers, the agri-food sector, policy makers, regulators and the financial community need a better sense of what technologies and opportunities might emerge, where they may be first introduced and when this might happen in order to have the requisite policy and infrastructure in place to facilitate their uptake and use. This leads to strong demand for projections or forecasts of what the future might look like. The research pipeline is the focal point for much of this effort.
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