Bangladeshi and International Agricultural Research: Administrative and Economic Issues. Mohammad Alauddin* & C. A. Tisdell. Department of Economics,.
Agricultural Administration 21 (1986) l-20
Bangladeshi and International Agricultural Research: Administrative and Economic Issues Mohammad University
& C. A. Tisdell
Department of Economics, of Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia (Received:
SUMMARY Agricultural research systems can be a key element in the transformation and modernization of LDC agricultural sectors. International research organizations can eflectively complement those within LDCs. However, in the absence of adequately administered agricultural research1 innovative systems within a country and appropriate linkages between national and international research systems, an LDC is likely to obtain few benefits from international research. Institutions like IRRI and CIMMYT have played a useful role in transferring technology to Bangladesh in the three phases of material transfer, design transfer and capacity transfer. Yet organizational diffJiculties, low research intensities and inadequate linkages between research, extension andfarmers within Bangladesh are major deficiencies. These lead to ineficiency in research resource allocation and the transmission of research results both within Bangladesh andfrom international sources. A number of reforms in the administration of agricultural research in Bangladesh seems desirable as a means towards greater economic benefits, even though a. rational comprehensive approach seems impractical and probably undesirable.
INTRODUCTION Technological productivity
change is an important factor influencing agricultural growth. It is often a vehicle for the application and
* On leave from Rajshahi
Agricultural Administration 0309-586X/86/$03.50 Ltd, England,
in Great Britain
0 Elsevier Applied
C. A. Tisdell
substitution of knowledge for material resources or a less expensive resource for a more expensive and scarce one. But the success of technological change as a motive force for sustainedproductivity growth dependson its compatibility with the factor endowment pattern and how well it is adapted to ecological conditions. Indigenous research and development efforts can play a critical part in appropriate technological innovations. Strong and viable national agricultural researchsystemscan be a key element in the transformation and modernization of LDC agricultural sectors. Until recently, this possibility has receivedvery little attention. The attempts of LDCs to develop their agricultural researchsystems appear to be handicapped by such factors, among others, as inadequate scientific investment and lack of skilled scientific manpower. In recent years,a number of international agricultural researchorganizations have been created. These centres, becauseof their strong budgetary position, can attract skilled scientific manpower from all over the world. One of the important objectives of the international research organizations is to assist the building, strengthening and expansion of national agricultural researchsystems. This they can do by helping to develop scientific skill and researchcapabilities through training and the transfer of research findings that originate in these organizations. International agricultural research organizations have established strong links with the research systems of LDCs, as can be seen from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) established in the early 1970s.Bangladeshprovides an example of linkages betweenthe national agricultural research system and the international research system. Bangladesh is an LDC which is often regarded as a test case for development’ 5 and which does not produce enough food to feed her growing population. In her effort to acceleratethe pace of agricultural productivity growth, Bangladesh has built a network of agricultural researchinstitutes. This national agricultural researchsystemmaintains a close link with the international research organizations. The extent to which it has benefited from the international system and what impact it has made on the generation of technological innovations in terms of their impact on overall agricultural output growth are important aspectsthat need serious analysis. The present paper makes an attempt to address these questions. The next section briefly traces the development of the international agricultural research system. A brief description of the Bangladesh agricultural research system is also provided. The relative
roles of international and domestic researchare then discussed,and the following section attempts to identify the strengthsand weaknessesof the Bangladesh agricultural research system. EVOLUTION OF INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND BANGLADESH AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SYSTEM Agricultural researchfor agricultural products for domestic consumption in LDCs, particularly food crops, is basically a postwar phenomenon. Earlier agricultural researchin LDCs tended to be focusedon plantation or export crops. With few exceptions, researchon food crops for domestic consumption was neglected. The most notable exception, the joint programme by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Mexican government in 1943, led to new agricultural research programmes in other Latin American countries in the 1950s.r3Some other international co-operative research activities were initiated, e.g. a rice hybridization project sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization in India, but research for most food crops continued to be done in the developed nations. International agricultural researchin LDCs aimed at relieving their food problems was insignificant until the 1960s’ when two international researchinstitutes were established: the International Rice ResearchInstitute (IRRI) in the Philippines and the International Centre for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT) in Mexico. Inspired by the early successesof these institutions, a number of other international research organizations were subsequently established and renewed interest was aroused in expanding and creating national agricultural researchorganizations. The 1970ssaw further developments when, in 1971, the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) was formed to ‘encourage more research to assist developing nations increasethe quantity and improve the quality of their agricultural output and thus to raise standards of living. . . .‘.12 The international agricultural researchsystem now encompassesmore than a dozen centres located in various geoclimatic regions and involved in varied research programmes as can be seenfrom Table 1. Institutionalized agricultural researchin Bangladeshbeganin the early twentieth century when, in 1909, the forerunner of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) was set up. The Livestock Directorate, with responsibility for researchinto livestock nutrition, was
Tropics of Western hemisphere; principal commodities: common beans, cassava, maize and beef. Collaborates with CIMMYT on maize in the Andean region. Works closely with national programmes throughout Latin America, develops improved crops and production systems appropriate to the actual ecological and economic conditions of the region’s farmers. Worldwide; one major aim is to improve the potato in the high altitude temperate Andes and to develop varieties for the lower tropical regions where it has great potential as a low cost nutritious food for many areasof the developing world. Worldwide; grew out of collaborative programme between Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation; established in 1943; expanded into an international institute in 1966. Works with scientistsand national programmes around the world on the improvement of maize, wheat, barley and triticale. To promote an international network of genetic resourcescentre to further the collection, conservation, documentation and use of plant germplasm; to encourage and support an appropriate and coordinated global programme of genetic resources activities by these centres, and to foster collaborative research among them.
International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru (1971)
International Centre for Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT), Mexico (1966)
International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR), Italy (1974)
(A) CGIAR SUPPORTED INSTITUTIONS
Coverage and general research activity
International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Columbia ( 1968)
International Agricultural Research Institutions and Their Broad Activities3-9-‘o*‘2~20-29
ii b F & p’ 9 a 2 $ Z
g s %
Large parts of Asia, Latin America, India and the Middle East. Grain sorghums (food and feed), pearl millet, pigeon pea, chickpea, cultivars and the management of soils and water (cropping systems). Worldwide scope; originally concentrated on the lowland tropics of Africa; expanded to other continents and to some sub-humid and even semi-arid environments. Worldwide responsibility for cowpea, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato. Regional responsibility includes research on cassava, rice, maize, soybean, limabean, winged bean, and pigeon pea. IITA’s concentration on roots and tubers, cereals and grain legumes is a radical departure from earlier crop researchin the tropics which concentrated on valuable export crops. It also has programmes for improvement in farming systems. To assist development in the control of the two major livestock diseases: trypansomiasis and theileriosis. Primarily supports innovative programmes of original research. Also integrates efforts of national and international institutions working on the same problems from different perspectives; acts as a training centre for development of skilled professionals for national institutions and diseasecontrol throughout the world.
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India (1972)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria (1967)
International Laboratory for Research on Animal Disease(ILRAD), Kenya (1974)
Rainfed agriculture in a region which includes much of the vast arid and semiarid areas of North Africa and West Asia. Programmes include research on cereals, legumes, forage and barley. Has worldwide responsibility for lentils and faba (or broad beans). Regional responsibility for chickpeas in collaboration with ICRISAT, the major centre for chickpea research.
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Lebanon (1975)
$ g f s-. 8 2 2 g 5 s 2 o9
Rice production and farming systems associated with rice production. Develops improved varieties with genetic adaptations for the whole range of rice growing environments. Maintains close and collaborative relationships with national rice programmes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Maintains and coordinates several international networks: International Rice Testing Programme (IRTP), International Rice AgroEconomic Network (IRAEN), International Network for Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Efficiency of Rice (INSFFER); research on cropping systems. Wholly addressed to the crucial institutional elements. As a complement to the work of other international researchinstitutions, ISNAR responds to requests from developing countries for assistancein strengthening their national agricultural research systems. Rice: Inter-government organization governed by a council of members from Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Togo, and Upper Volta. Efforts concerted and systematic development of improved varieties adapted to the region’s agroclimatic and soil conditions; improvement of farming systemsappropriate to improved rice varieties to the agroclimatic, social and economic conditions of the region.
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines (1960)
International Servicefor National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) Netherlands (1980)
West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), Liberia (1971)
Coverage and general research activity
Closely affiliated with ILRAD, primarily dedicated to the development of improved varieties and associated technologies. Initial research effort has been the analysis of three major livestock production systemsadapted to tropical Africa’s distinct arid, humid and highland zones.
International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), Ethiopia (1974)
Vegetable improvement (mung beans, soybeans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Chinese cabbage, white potatoes); cropping systems. Coverage: East, Southeast and South Asia. Control of insect pests and disease vectors. Worldwide coverage, with emphasis on Africa. To formulate agricultural research programmes and policies to identify agricultural problems and find solutions in developing countries of Asia and Africa.
Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre (AVRDC), Taiwan (1971)
International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Kenya (1972)
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Australia (1982)
(B) OTHER INSTITUTIONS
2 5 2 SL $’ 3 s 9’ 2 00 $ 2 2
Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute (BSRI)
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI)
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC)
Bangladesh Sugar Mills Corporation
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council
Established 1973. Functions as an autonomous unit within the policy directives of the Bangladesh Sugar Mills Corporation, under the Ministry of Industries, subject to periodic evaluations by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council. Responsibilities include development of high yielding varieties and introduction of improved methods of sugarcane cultivation.
Established 1970. Granted full autonomy in June 1973. Carries out research to improve land cultivation and production to develop improved varieties of rice and matters related thereto.
Established 1909 (as National Agricultural Research Centre). Serves a wide spectrum of basic and adaptive research with particular emphasis on problem orientation and solution. Conducts research on wheat, potato, pulses, maize, vegetables and fruits, roots and tubers, spices, oilseeds, cotton, and cropping and farming system.
Established 1973. Created to provide a systematic approach to planning, coordination, direction, to sponsor and conduct a national agricultural research programme and integrated research system.
2 Research System
Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI)
Directorate of Livestock Services
Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI)
Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI)
Ministry of Forestry Fisheries and Livestock
Ministry of Forestry Fisheries and Livestock
Forest Directorate, Ministry of Forestry Fisheries and Livestock
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Ministry of Agriculture
Established 1960. Provides agricultural education and research. (conrinued)
Conducts research and administers various regulatory and development activities.
Created 1932 (as an Animal Nutrition Division under the Agricultural Directorate). Merged with the Directorate of Livestock Services in 1950. Conducts research on development of livestock.
Established 1954. Conducts research on forestry and forest products.
Established 1957. Not fully operational until 1961. Works on definite programmes of short and long term projects and advisory work to solve day to day problems of tea estates. Concerned with overall development of tea.
Established 1950. Functions include agricultural, technological, and economic research to improve crop forecasting statistics to produce, test and distribute improved seeds. Provides recommendations relating to banking and transport facilities to improve marketing in the interests of jute industry in Bangladesh.
E3 f? 6’ i2
Departments of Botany and Zoology
of Soil Science
Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Teaching and research on plant breeding, ecology, entomology and insect control.
Education and Extension programmes on food analysis for nutrient-dietary and anthropometry.
Established 1949. Functions and research.
Established 1940 as part of the Biology Department. Activities include research on floristic survey, environmental studies, ecology, hydrobiology, limnology, microbiology, plant physiology, molecular and general genetics.
and general field of activity
Established 1973. Functions and research
% P $ iz
establishedin 1932,and the BangladeshJute ResearchInstitute was setup in 1950. But it was only during the 1960s that agricultural research receivedsignificant attention in Bangladesh.The BangladeshAgricultural University was established in the early sixties and the resourcesavailable to the Tea ResearchInstitute (1957)were increased.The BangladeshRice ResearchInstitute, Bangladesh SugarcaneResearchInstitute, and some other agricultural researchinstitutes were also created in the late sixties and early seventies.By the early 198Os,a range of agricultural research organizations existed in Bangladesh. Table 2 indicates the current administrative structure of the Bangladesh agricultural researchsystem. In addition to the institutions mentioned in Table 2, some agricultural research is also carried out in the Atomic Energy Commission and the Institute of Nuclear Agriculture. RELATIVE
ROLES OF INDIGENOUS AND INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
Researchoften involves the integration of knowledge from a number of sourcesand brings about improvement in technology which in turn leads to increasesin agricultural output and productivity. Following CGIARl’ four components of researchcan be identified: (a) Basic research: Designed to generate new understanding (e.g. influence of plant height on positioning of assimilates) (b) Strategic research: Designed to solve specific researchproblems (e.g. a technique for detecting dwarfing genesin rice seedlings) (c) Applied research: Designed for the creation of new technology (e.g. breeding new dwarf rice varieties highly responsive to fertilizer) (d) Adaptive research:Designed to adjust technology to a specific set of ecological conditions (e.g. adapting HYVs of rice to rainfed areas). It is broadly agreed that international agricultural research centres originally sought to concentrate on applied research requiring the national research centres to develop capacities for adaptive research. However, the successof applied researchpresupposesan adequatesupply of results from strategic researchwhich in turn dependson the availability of basic researchresults if the linear model of innovation applies (p. 43).26 While there is evidence that the linear model applies to a number of
C. A. Tisdell
innovations,22 e.g., the development of atomic energy, a review of the relevant literature indicates that the ‘sources of invention [and technological change] are numerous, scattered and varied. The linear model of innovation should, therefore, not be taken as the only description of the inventive and innovative process’ (p. 61).26 Subsequentreview of the background of the evolution of the CGIAR system indicated that the original plan concerning the relative research priorities of the national and international researchorganizations did not appear to work for two reasons.ii First, national researchsystemswere not able to carry out adaptive researchadequately becausethey lacked the sophisticated sciencerequired, trained manpower and funds. Secondly, an inadequatesupply of relevant results from strategic and basic research constrained the applied research of international organizations. Therefore, they themselveshad to enter these research areas. One argument in favour of the international researchorganizations is that they permit the spreading of research overheads and avoid duplications. They enable economies of agglomeration and sophistication to be achieved and the available research resourcesare not so thinly spread. On the other hand, most LDCs are economically too small to develop and support a fully articulated and viable national agricultural researchsystem. All national researchsystems, except those of the very largest countries, are likely to be most effective when linked to an international research system that can provide effective scientific communication and transfer of genetic materials, researchmethods and scientific personnel.27 However, the danger is that the organizations can lose contact with actual problems. The location of the international researchinstitutes in the LDCs helps. The spillover effectsof international research is highest for the country in which the international centre is located.i6 The country of location benefits most both in terms of the advancement in its agricultural technology adapted to local conditions and through some employment of the local people. To understand clearly the linkage between international agricultural researchinstitutes and the Bangladesh agricultural researchsystem, it is necessaryto consider the nature of technology transfer to Bangladesh. Following Ruttan and Hayami 27*21three phases of the processcan be identified : (a) Material transfer: Involves direct transfer of new materials, e.g., seeds, plants, animals etc. Planned local adaptation is not considered in this phase.
(b) Design transfer: Characterized by transfer of designs, e.g.,
blueprints, formulae etc. Import of exotic materials occurs for copying their design rather than for their own use. Tests are conducted on new plants and animals and propagated through systematic multiplication. (4 Capacity transfer: Characterizedby transfer of scientific knowledge and capacity in order to create indigenous capacity for the generation of technology adapted to local ecological conditions.
In Bangladesh,initial transfer of HYV technology took place by means of material transfer or embodied technology. In the late 1960s IR-8, IR-5 and IR-20 varieties of rice were introduced through the direct import of seed. In the late 1960s and early seventiesmaterial transfer of wheat technology from such organizations as CIMMYT occurred with the import of the seedof new varieties. Also, design transfer occurred because the national agricultural research system adapted and indigenously developed different varieties of rice and wheat which were subsequently multiplied and releasedto farmers for expanded production. Assistance to the LDC agricultural research by international bodies often involves (1) training of manpower from LDCs, (2) provision of scientific knowledge to expatriate scientists in various research organizations, and (3) supply of genetic resources.Thus, since the late sixties, international researchorganizations such as IRRI and CIMMYT appear to have played a critical part in strengthening the Bangladeshagricultural research system. Both IRRI and CIMMYT assisted the Bangladesh agricultural research system in the three ways mentioned. Bangladesh agricultural research workers are also involved in exchangewith other international organizations, e.g., ICRISAT, ICARDA, IITA, and CIP for research on non-cereal crops. Despite the coverage of other crops, agriculture in Bangladesh concentrates on rice and wheat. Research achievements in other areas, however, include the development of summer pulses, some varieties of jute, and oilseeds. BANGLADESH
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SYSTEM: AN APPRAISAL
The successful transfer of technology embodying non-indigenous scientific knowledge and research findings depends on local scientific expertise and indigenous researchand development efforts. Since many
C. A. Tisdell
agricultural innovations are location specific, they needto be adapted by borrowing countries to their own ecological conditions. Furthermore, in each country attention needs to be given as to whether productivity growth made possible by technological change can be ecologically sustained,and this often requires local basic research.It is risky to blindly adopt techniques and technology developed abroad. To determine the extent to which Bangladesh has benefited, or can benefit, from international agricultural researchrequires an appraisal of the Bangladesh agricultural researchsystem. International researchcan only play a supportive role in relation to national scientific and innovative effort. In the absenceof an adequately administered agricultural research innovative system within a country, an LDC is likely to obtain few benefits from international research. FAO” identifies three basic elements as keystones of a national agricultural researchsystem: (1) policy, planning and coordination; (2) carrying out of research; and (3) the training of researchscientists. The basic problem with the Bangladesh researchsystem is not their absence, but their meaningful presence. The following deficiencies have been identified in the Bangladesh agricultural research system: (1) organizational difficulties; (2) lack of physical facilities and inadequatetraining; (3) low level of skill and ineffective training; and (4) insufficient linkage between research,extension and farmers.‘7,18’24 Organizational difficulties are apparent in the uncoordinated nature of agricultural researchactivity in Bangladesh. Even though each existing research institution seeks to advance agricultural R and D, it does so independently and there is some duplication of R and D efforts. The dispersal of the researchinstitutes and centresover various ministries and governing bodies militates against a strong, effective and efficient agricultural researchsystem,24that is, against a rational comprehensive system. The BangladeshAgricultural ResearchCouncil was createdwith the fundamental objective of providing overall leadership in the coordination of agricultural researchbut becauseof its limited mandate4 and often uncertain status,24the Council has not emergedas an effective organization for coordinating and developing the agricultural research infrastructure of Bangladesh. Figure 1 shows the current and desired determinants of agricultural researchpriorities in Bangladesh as suggestedby Moseman et ~1.~~ The three actual major determinants of these priorities are: (1) agroeconomic problems of users of technology, (2) national development
AGROECONOMIC PROBLEMS OF USERS TECHNOLOGY
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
- FOREIGN - POLITICAL
Fig. 1. Determinants
-EMPLOYMENT GENERATION - LESS INEQUALITY
USE OF SCARCE RESOURCES
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS, POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
-LARGE FARMERS -SMALL FARMERS -LANDLESS HOUSEHOLDS - RURAL WOMEN
DONOR INTERESTS OBJECTIVES
of agricultural research priorities in Bangladesh: Current desired situations (Adapted from Moseman et al, pp. 53-54’3
goals, policies and strategies, and (3) special interest groups. The third determinant has the strongest relative influence on actual research priorities. As noted by Moseman and his colleagues, the power of special interest groups manifests itself in the ‘. . . limited spread of technology from some institutes that have been in existence for many years, the proliferation of inefficient research institutions and research stations, the lack of coordination in research, the lack of incentives for problemsolving researchers, and, as regards national goals, the lack of active research on labour intensive techniques to raise productivity’ (p. 51).24 They claim that ideally factors (1) and (2) should have had stronger relative influence on priorities than factor (3). Moseman et al. seem to be guided by the rational comprehensive approach to policy making, but not all social scientists are convinced of the adequacy of this approach.2* Lindblom argues that a decentralized innovative system is to be preferred. 23 Even if this is not fully efficient it may be more effective as a mechanism of conflict resolution. It can be
TABLE 3 of Agricultural Research Intensity and Importance Selected Asian Economies (1974-75)
Indicator.s Importance National income from agriculture
of agriculture Population agriculture (%)
(%I Bangladesh India Sri Lanka Indonesia Thailand Philippines Pakistan Malaysia South Korea Japan China
63 (1) 37 (2) 35 (3) 32 (4) 31 (5) 29 (6) 29 (6) 28 (7) 24 (8) 5 (9) n.a.
85 (1) 67 (3) 54 (7) 63 (5) 78 (2) 50 (9) 56 (6) 52 (8) 45 (10) 15 (11) 64 (4)
1139 26035 2441 3417 4 882 5 207 2034 4882 2441 160 352 110632
Research intensity on agricultural
As % of national income
0.021 (9) 0.048 (6) 0,110 (3) 0.037 (7) 0.075 (4) 0.074 (5) 0.019 (10) 0.141 (1) 0.029 (8) 0.127 (2) n.a.
Per person in agriculture (US $1
0.020 0.070 0.330 0.040 0.150 0.430 0.050 0.800 0.160 15.56 0.210
(11) (8) (4) (10) (7) (3) (9) (2) (6) (1) (5)
Per hectare of farm land (US $1
0.137 (11) 0.383 (9) 2.940 (2) 0.521 (8) 0.741 (7) 1.656 (6) 0,259 (10) 1.927 (5) 2.693 (3) 126.02 (1) 2.570 (4)
(ranks in parenthesis) na., not available Source: Adapted from Gill, p. 4i9 Note: Gill’s figure of research expenditure of US$O. 125 per acre of farm land for Bangladesh does not appear to be correct. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics,’ net cropped area (farm land) in 1974-75 was 20559000 acres. This gives a figure of USSO. as research expenditure per acre. We have, however, converted all figures to per-hectare equivalents.
argued that in the absence of an adequate mechanism of conflict resolution, economic efficiency will in any case suffer in the long term. In practice some compromise between these two polar approaches to policy making may be optimal. The level of scientific output is determined in the main by the level of investment in research and the quantity and quality of scientific manpower. On both counts, agricultural research activity in Bangladesh suffers. Table 3 presents information on agriculture and agricultural research expenditure in Bangladesh and other Asian countries. The intensity of agricultural research in Bangladesh measured in terms of agricultural research expenditure (a) as percentage of national income; (b) per person in agriculture; and (c) per unit area of farm land, is very low compared to other Asian countries and certainly one of the lowest in the
world. This is so despite the fact that agriculture in Bangladesh is relatively much more important as a source of national income and employment than in the other Asian countries indicated in Table 3. The composition of Bangladeshi scientific manpower is believed to be out of balance-some disciplines are being over-represented, and others under-represented; but Moseman and his colleagues do not provide any specific example. 24 But as Evenson and Kislev remark, ‘It seems, however, that the LDC research systems have higher ratios of technical personnel than those in the developed countries’ (p. 509). l4 Bangladesh may not be an exception in this regard. Furthermore, it is widely believed that the research workers have to devote a considerable proportion of their time to administrative work rather than research. Another adverse aspect of the Bangladesh agricultural research system is the lack of close cooperation between those involved in education, extension and research. Agricultural institutions are primarily training and teaching institutions, where research is not a major activity. The highly trained professional staff members of the Bangladesh Agricultural University have not been properly harnessed by the agricultural research system in the sense that ‘their research potential remains underutilized because of inadequate and often temporary nature of funds’. (p. 141).24
CONCLUSIONS International research in agriculture is primarily designed to complement domestic research and development efforts, and cannot be taken as a substitute. No amount of international research can produce sustained results unless domestic research capabilities are developed. In recent years, significant achievement has been made in international collaboration in agricultural research in Bangladesh. This notwithstanding, Bangladeshi agricultural research and development efforts can still be considered to be in their infancy. Within the research agencies there appears to be a lack of understanding and of the coordination required for ensuring an unimpeded flow of results at various stages of developmental research. Operational funding constraints damage ongoing projects. Meagre funds are allocated and widely dispersed with little sense of priority. It is little wonder, therefore, that the national agricultural research system is yet to emerge as a strong and viable organization.
C. A. Tisdell
Agricultural research activity has experienced very limited but uneven advance. The quality and intensity of research differs significantly from one crop to another. Research efforts and achievements appear to be confined to the adaptation and indigenous development of modern rice and wheat varieties. Although these have been in existence for quite some time and are relatively well funded, jute and sugarcane research programmes appear to be quite weak. The quality of sugarcane research appears to have declined since 1975576, when its size was greatly expanded. As noted by Moseman et al. ‘Sugarcane research was performing less than satisfactorily in 1978. It is in a further deteriorated state in 1980, and there is every indication that the valuable assistance from Australia is being poorly utilized and will leave little, if any, beneficial effect’. (p. 42).24 Also, the jute research programme, which showed promise of breeding HYVs, is likely to suffer a serious setback as a result of the impending departure of the FAO Technical Assistance Team in the near future.30 In recent years, research on some minor crops has made some progress at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute. Research on oilseeds (rape and mustard) started in 1974 and a new variety, SS-75, has been developed. It has a yield twice as high as that of the traditional varieties. Breeding programmes on potatoes, maize and summer pulses have started only recently. The recent improvements notwithstanding, non-cereals are yet to emerge as the focus of concentrated research programmes. Recent years have witnessed expansion of HYVs of rice during the Aus and Aman seasons (nearly two-thirds of the HYV rice area, see, for example, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 1982).8 Of particular significance is the fact that with greater expansion, yields of all varieties have registered a significant decline since the late sixties. Most of these varieties of rice record high yield potentials under controlled environmental conditions. Once the crop varieties are released for cultivation in farmers’ fields, however, it is difficult to duplicate those conditions. There is, therefore, bound to be a divergence between potential and actual yields. The likely factors that account for such divergence include inadequate and inappropriate application of fertilizers; lack of proper plant protection measures; differences between recommended practices and those actually followed by the farmers; and inadequate irrigation. These shortcomings notwithstanding, the Bangladesh agricultural research system appears to have passed through its embryonic phase. It needs to extend its sphere of activity in the areas which remain practically
neglectedat presentand intensify researchefforts on suchcrops ascereals, jute and sugarcane.This calls for investment higher than the current rate. Some recent studies,1,‘g,25have made tentative estimates on returns to investments in agricultural researchin Bangladesh.Although the quality of data and methodologies of thesestudies are not beyond question, they indicate returns far in excessof investments elsewherein the economy. There appears to be a strong economic case therefore for expanding agricultural researchin Bangladesh. These estimates are also consistent with those for other countries.2 However, a number of reforms in the administrative structure of agricultural research in Bangladesh seems desirable as means towards greater economic benefits even though a rational comprehensive approach seems impractical and probably undesirable. REFERENCES 1. Alauddin,
research in Bangladesh, 8(2), 1982, 13047. Arndt, T. M. & Ruttan, V. W., Valuing the productivity of agricultural research: Problems and issues, pp. 3-25. In: Resource allocation and productivity in national and international agricultural research. (Arndt et al. (Eds)). Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1977. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Annual Report 1982-1983. Canberra, ACIAR, 1984. Badruddoza, K. M., Organization and accomplishment of agricultural research in Bangladesh. Dhaka, BARC, 1977. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Agricultural research in Bangladesh. Dhaka, BARC, 1983. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Annual Report 197879. Joydevpur, BARI, 1980. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh. Dhaka, BBS, 1979. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh 1982. Dhaka, BBS, 1982. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Report. Washington, D.C., CGIAR, 1980. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Report. Washington, D.C., CGIAR, 1983. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Second Review of the CGZAR. Washington, D.C., CGIAR, 1981. Crawford, J. G., Development of the international agricultural research system, pp. 281-94. In: Resource allocation andproductivity in national and Journal
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
M. Inputs and returns to agricultural
14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.
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