For more than two decades, the United States has been an important player in a global partnership for agricultural research through its investments in the work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a network of 16 agricultural research centers around the world. The primary goal of the CGIAR is to alleviate hunger in developing countries, and it has had some major successes in pursuit of this goal. Despite its past preeminence as a supporter of the CGIAR, planned U.S. contributions to the CGIAR totaled only $37.2 million in 1996, down sharply from its level in the 1980s and early 1990s. Cutbacks in research investments can undermine the benefits already gained through crop improvement research, as diseases mutate, pest problems recur, populations grow, and climatic conditions shift. Scientific research must continue apace in order to keep ahead of rapid population growth, shifting consumer demands, and other changing conditions that threaten crop yields.