104 | Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) Report

operation of postharvest tasks to frameworks that enable private sector initiatives in this field.

Biotechnology. Agricultural biotechnology will contribute to poverty reduction and food security if scientists can develop technologies to increase quality and yield of food crops, and if small-scale farmers adopt the technologies. Research has to focus on crops, livestock and fish. Major crops are rice, maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, oilseed and potato. Biotechnology should also focus on high-value cash crops: cotton, soybean and vegetables that can increase the incomes of small-scale farmers through crop diversification. Fish and livestock—cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens— are also important. The technology must be simple, low cost, and carry little or no risk to human health and the environment.

Genetic engineering could be widely used as a breeding technique. Genetic engineering involves the transfer of one or more precisely selected genes into the genome of the host organism. The ability of genetic engineering to transfer genes across the species barrier or indeed across kingdoms is precisely what gives the tool such power and what attracts such controversy. Gene banks and genetic engineering can
also be used to speed up the breeding process by inserting a specific gene into an otherwise desirable genetic background without requiring multiple generations of backcrossing to eliminate unwanted change, as is necessary with conventional breeding. Biotechnology can also be used to develop vaccines for animals. Bio-information could support molecular research, e.g., breeding and GMO activity.

Value-added technologies and market analyses. Value addition to primary goods offers a major income opportunity and is not being achieved in many countries of the region. Research and development of value-added products and markets could increase income of poor farmers and be used to generate income in rural areas. For value chains and market analyses, this type of research is essential: analysis of constraints of access to market information; development of better methods to communicate price and quality information; new technology to reduce postharvest losses; role of production for different markets; availability of external and domestic markets for the poor; improved access to financial capital and markets; input markets and services; and capacity building in marketing.

Given existing research capacities and capabilities in the CWANA region, it is unlikely that such an overwhelming agenda will be met under the business-as-usual scenario.

4.1.4 Investment and funding policy
During the twentieth century, highly accelerated improvements in agricultural productivity have significantly contributed to poverty alleviation, food security and economic progress. These productivity improvements have been achieved as a result of substantial and deliberate investments
in agricultural research and development (R&D). Because of associated high returns, it is recognized worldwide that a minimum target of spending on investment in agricultural R&D should be set by developing countries, in addition to ensuring larger share gains from international
public spillovers.


Historical trends of investments in agricultural R&D show, however, that government spending slowed in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia and the Caucasus. Meanwhile, international technology spillovers and corresponding knowledge have also decreased. Taking into account the low density and poor to medium performance of NARS, these trends currently pose critical challenges to AKST development and application. Business-as-usual prospects show that higher investment will be of great value to ensure a critical level of AKST self-reliance. This is vital in light of persistent signals that developing countries are not likely to benefit, as they used to do, from international spillovers from the North and from the CGIAR centers.

It is suggested that under globalization, countries would still have opportunities to benefit from investment spillovers by interacting with nations and communities who are well equipped in agricultural science, technology and information. However, risks are likely to be faced regarding the availability, price and quality of needed new technologies. Research agendas and investment structures are changing in the direction of diverging research objectives between industrial countries and developing ones, and of the emergence of private corporate bodies providing AKST (Alston et al., 2006).

As a result, only substantial self-reliance in agricultural R&D will ensure developing efficient agriculture production systems that are able to successfully compete in price and quality in domestic and international markets (Pardey et al., 2006ab). This is of particular importance for the future of small-scale farmers who cannot generate or do not have access to the AKST needed to improve their livelihoods.

Therefore, it seems that business as usual will not, under all circumstances, ensure a continuous flow of affordable AKST. An increase in national spending of CWANA countries will still be needed to counter increasing monopoly building in the AKST system that may be detrimental for agricultural development and sustainability objectives by excluding developing and less-developed countries from
AKST benefits.

4.1.5 Intellectual property rights policy

Growing IPR protection as one endorsed by WTO members is intended to promote innovation and technology transfer and dissemination to the mutual benefit of both the producer and the user of the technology. This is why all countries are called upon to establish and enforce appropriate IPRrelated regulations to help innovation take place in sectors vital for socioeconomic and technological development. As a result if required regulations are adopted, technology transfer toward less-developed countries can occur (Abbot, 2003). Such cooperation comprises assistance in preparing law texts related to IPR promotion, enforcement and protection; prevention of their abuse; implementation of institutions and agencies serving this aim; and last but not least, personnel and technical training.

However, in developing countries, regulations protecting IPR can be perceived as a means of principally serving rich countries since they are the technology generators. Holding IPR, AKST producers will invest only in industrial countries with established and functional laws that comply with international standards. It is true that developing countries