Tracking Research across the Globe

Interactive website opens a window on agricultural R&D
July 13, 2010

Research has shown that investments in agricultural research and extension have large impacts on agricultural productivity, poverty, and nutrition. Yet, countries under-invest in agriculture: In 2000, developing countries spent about $2 per capita on agricultural research, and according to a 2008 World Bank report, only 4 percent of official development assistance is directed toward agriculture.

Recent ASTI findings

The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) initiative collects, analyzes, and shares data on agricultural research & development (R&D) in developing countries. Facilitated by IFPRI, it tracks investment in agricultural research, sources of R&D funding, and allocation of the investment across institutional categories, as well as the number of agricultural scientists, their degree levels, their distribution among major commodities and themes, and the participation of female scientists. Policymakers and other stakeholders can use this information to design agricultural development strategies to reduce hunger and poverty.

ASTI tools

The interactive ASTI website enables users to

  • access primary data on agricultural science indicators;
  • present these data using a variety of graphics tools;
  • download national and regional publications; and
  • view profiles that list all agricultural R&D agencies, and their contact details, in a given country.

ASTI is updating data for more than 30 Sub-Saharan African countries. In coming months, it expects to make available a large number of country, regional, and sub-regional reports on its website. It recently launched a new blog so those interested in agricultural R&D can keep abreast of developments.