More on funding of agriculture research…

“There’s no question that publically-funded agriculture research is woefully inadequate. Compare it to funding of the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation -- and I’m not saying their research isn’t useful and valuable. But I am saying we’ve shortchanged agriculture research in some areas.

“I know budget pressures tight. However, when you’re looking at the ‘seed corn’ of the agricultural industry, it mustn’t be shortchanged if you’re going to be productive and profitable in the long term.

“As for better coordination – whether among researchers in the United States with those overseas or streamlined agriculture development programs – that can be improved.”

On specific development assistance programs doing well…

“One of them is the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which offers financial assistance to developing countries. Their model is very good. They say ‘we’re not going to give you any money or assistance to develop unless you have good governance, that there are some markets and some infrastructure.’

“They won’t waste taxpayers’ money by putting it in a country that doesn’t have the environment to succeed. We may need to think about increasing that kind of approach and maybe less on others.”  

On GHI’s “consultative partners”…

“We know we don’t have all the answers. And we know to meet the challenges over the next 40 years, we’re faced with doing it in a sustainable way.

“So, we decided to go to some conservation, nutrition and agricultural development groups to hear their views. We don’t agree with them on everything – and they certainly don’t agree with us one everything, either. However, listening to their views has helped us advance the cause of sustainability increasing the rate of global agricultural productivity.

“But you offer a hand, you reach out and try to work together as best we can. They’ve given opinions on some of things we’ve talked about. We took some it and (left) some of it.

“That’s the best approach. When you’re talking about doubling output in a sustainable way … there’s a sort of natural alliance with some of these consultative partners.”

Anything else?

“The fate of our meeting these challenges is, in many ways, with our farmers. I think we have an obligation to help them … by providing some resources in research, trade and a sound regulatory system for approval of new technologies among other areas we’ve discussed.”