Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology: Investment and Economic Returns | 541

adoption of pro-poor technologies from the public research agencies; (2) adapt scientific discoveries from industrialized countries and, if needed, import technology from them that increases the productivity of poor farmers; and (3) transfer technology from neighboring countries, which may have developed technology that is more appropriate for poor farmers in developing countries than those of industrial­ized countries. These technologies can flow through mul­tinational corporations, local private firms, public sector research systems and their regional networks, and farmer-to-farmer communication
. Options for societies aiming to give major support to economically sustainable development
These societies should consider investing in AKST which provides evidence of high future (ex ante) RORs. These in­vestments will include some areas that had high ROR in the past such as yield increasing technologies and promise high returns in the future since there will be continued de­mand for these technologies and science. AKST investments in water management and pest and disease management, which have less history of high returns but are likely to have high returns in the future because of high demand or recent advances in science, would also be included. In addition, some AKST investments that did not have high returns in the past, such as NRM, are likely to have high ROR in the future if policies, such as carbon trading under the Kyoto protocol or subsidies for good environmental practices in agricultural policies, provide incentives to adopt these tech­nologies. It is clear that economically sustainable develop­ment can only be achieved if the environment is at the same time preserved.
         Governments must continue to invest in AKST to de­velop productivity-increasing technology and management systems that save on the use or reduce the misuse of scarce resources such as land, water, and in fossil fuels. The major resource constraint to increasing agricultural production in the future will continue to be agricultural land. In the fu­ture AKST must focus on increasing output per unit of land through technology and management practices. RORs to land saving research are high. There are a limited number of studies which show substantial returns to land management research. However, future AKST must avoid the negative externalities of past investments in this area.
          Water is the next most important resource constraint to agricultural production and is likely to be even more of a constraint in the next 50 years. AKST resources are being reallocated into water-saving techniques, improved policies and management techniques. The expected ROR to invest­ments in water productivity research may be lower than for germplasm research. Nevertheless, comparing the cost of science-based studies with the costs of inaction (grow­ing poverty, malnutrition and disaster relief) indicates that the benefits of science-based actions vastly exceed the costs (Kijne and Bennet, 2004). Still, a few examples of water-sav­ing research, which were evaluated by SPIA had high returns (Waibel and Zilberman, 2006), and some of the research on drought tolerant crops (both breeding new varieties and re­covering existing ones) looks very promising. However, the development of these technologies will take time, and major changes in water pricing policies are likely to be needed to


give farmers in irrigated areas incentives to adopt such tech­nologies.
          Fossil fuels in the long run may run out. Concerns about their impact on global warming, and the high price of fossil fuel has once again focused attention on the need for agri­culture to save on the use of this scarce resource and sup­port agricultural systems that have higher outputs per unit of sustainable energy. In this context, low-external-input ag­riculture could bring promising opportunities. There is little evidence yet from the ROR literature of high returns, but the demand is there and agricultural research has the capac­ity to produce appropriate technologies (see also chapter 6). Since prices are likely to continue to fluctuate due to politics as much as to scarcity, AKST investments by governments will be necessary to develop these technologies and to in­form farmers how they may best reduce agricultural use of fossil fuels.
         Major public and private R&D investments will be needed in emerging issues such as plant and animal pest and disease control. Continued intensification of agricultural production, changes in agriculture due to global warming, the development of pests and diseases that are resistant to current methods of controlling them, or changes in demand for agricultural products such as the increasing demand for organic products, will lead to new challenges for farmers and the research system. Investments in this area by the pub­lic and private sector have provided high returns in the past and are likely to provide even higher returns in the future. In addition, these investments could lead to less environ­mental degradation by reducing the use of older pesticides and improving livestock production methods. These tech­nologies could also use more labor, which in labor abundant countries, could reduce poverty. They would also positively impact human health. Pest and disease control is an area in which public and private collaboration is essential.
           Pre-invention, strategic, and basic research can be justi­fied in many countries and in international research centers. The studies that try to estimate the separate impacts of dif­ferent components of AKST find that both applied and more basic research investments have high returns (see 8.2.4). Ad­vances in basic biological knowledge such as genomics and proteomics, nanotechnology, ICT, and other new advances in AKST will create major new opportunities for meet­ing development and sustainability goals (see Chapter 6). Emerging knowledge of agroecological processes and syner­gies, and the application of resultant technologies, will play a crucial role in future AKST investments. Both new and existing but neglected knowledge can pay off by increasing public and private development of technologies and man­agement practices that improve agricultural production, mitigate climate change, improve health or reduce poverty. Thus it is not inherently productivity increasing or polluting but is needed to achieve economically sustainable develop­ment. A major increase in private sector research will be needed to increase agricultural productivity growth for de­veloping countries. A portfolio of AKST investments to meet multiple goals
If, as has been argued earlier in this subchapter, a large in­fusion of public funding in AKST is needed, a coalition of