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In a recent evaluation of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and its 16 research centres, the World Bank reported a decline in plant breeding research and restrictions on funding for the centres.

In this letter to Science, Norman E. Borlaug, a Nobel-prize-winning agricultural researcher from Texas A&M University, says that CGIAR has lost touch with its original aim of feeding the poor. But its unique fund of expertise and seed collections mean it could still play a vital part in a global research system, and help ensure that GM research is focused towards the poor.

The World Bank, says Borlaug, should work to expand unrestricted funding in the CGIAR, and help refocus the group’s mission of raising poor farmers’ agricultural productivity, rather than trying to be all things to all people.

Link to full letter in Science

Reference: Science 303, 1137 (2004)