16 | IAASTD Global Report

Figure 1-9. Child malnutrition (low height for age) among preschool children in surveys since 1999. Source: Rosegrant et al., 2006

of this role may increase and become central for human survival on this planet.

1.2.3 Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (AKST)

A challenge for formal AKST is the great imbalance in numbers of researchers per million inhabitants: this number is 65 times smaller in Africa than in industrialized countries (Hurni et al., 2001). Nearly half of public agricultural research expenditures, amounting to US$23.0 billion in 2000, are spent in developed countries, i.e., benefiting only a few million, though highly productive, farmers (Pardey et al., 2006). While private agricultural research spending is somewhat higher than public spending in developed countries, private spending in developing countries is very low, accounting for only 8% of total public and private investments in AKST (see chapter 8 for details of AKST investment levels).

     Public agricultural research in industrial countries also benefits farmers in other countries, since much public agricultural research is basic research that may later be applied to a variety of agricultural settings through technology transfer, and public research often leads to publicly available crop varieties that are widely distributed. Traditional experimental systems and many emerging farmers' programs-some initiated by international institutions such as FAO but most from farmers' organizations and social movements-are also considered as a component of agricultural research.

     Regional shares in public agricultural research expendi-


tures have been changing in the past 40 years (Pardey et al., 2006). While overall investments nearly doubled, industrialized countries, which had 55% of all investments in 1981, received a smaller share-44% in 2000, while in China and other Asian states investments increased manyfold. In general, research and development (R&D) investments have so far generated high returns (Byerlee and Alex, 2003; Chapter 8.2), however at a high ecological cost. For example, trends in cereal production since 1960 show that area productivity increased by a factor of 2.5 in industrialized countries, from 2.1 to 4.9 tonnes ha-1 on average on a total of 140 million hectares. In developing countries, the factor was even higher, i.e., 2.8, and the increase was from 1 to 2.8 tonnes ha-1 on a total cropped area of 440 million ha (Cassman, 2003). It must be noted, however, that stagnation in land productivity increase has been observed in many areas since about 1985 (Cassman, 2003).

     Some recent changes in thinking have raised a number of cognate issues in formal AKST systems. The policy agenda has evolved from a formal "science push" approach to one that places more emphasis on participatory, multistakeholder, inter- and transdisciplinary, and client-driven research agendas. Donors, supranational structures, regional organizations, and governments are looking for stronger interinstitutional support for development projects in order to attract private sector investments. Largely, this has been driven by changing contexts and circumstances since the days of the Green Revolution. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to fill the gap in research and technology that is relevant