Improving agricultural research in the developing world and alerting farmers to the findings is crucial to meeting the world's food demands, says Adel El-Beltagy, chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.
Agricultural researchers and laboratories have historically played a key role in successful campaigns to end hunger, but this has declined since the success of the green revolution.
Now genomics and nanotechnology provide new opportunities for filling food shortages. Researchers in developing countries may know less about these emerging technologies but they have a better understanding of the challenges faced by farmers in their countries and hold more credibility among them, argues El-Beltagy.
Agricultural research institutions in the developed and developing world must work together to transfer technologies to the South and give farmers the tools they need to increase crop yields, he says.
And in the developing world, agricultural researchers must do more to convince their governments of the enormous value and impact of their work. This means working closely with policymakers to ensure both that agricultural policies are based on scientific and technological knowledge and that such knowledge can be easily passed on to farmers working in the field.