ISNAR The International Service for National Agricultural Research
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CTA. 1986. ISNAR The International Service for National Agricultural Research. Spore 2. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44453
International Service for National Agricultural ResearchFood requirements in many developing countries keep in creasing at unprecedented rates. Consumption patterns change with rapid urbanization and increasing incomes. Agricultural practices, in...
International Service for National Agricultural Research Food requirements in many developing countries keep in creasing at unprecedented rates. Consumption patterns change with rapid urbanization and increasing incomes. Agricultural practices, in compatible with growing land scarcity, are causing erosion and soil impoverishment. Drought problems are exacerbated as cultivation moves into less favourable areas Governments must respond to these drastic changes with new and invigorated agricultural policy and development thrusts, and with urgent steps to make new technologies available. No country with a sizeable agricultural sector can meet such needs without an effective agricultural research capacity of its own. This national capacity is needed for several key functions. First, to search the world agricultural knowledge base for suitable technologies, and to collect appropriate germplasm and prototypes. Second, to adapt available technologies to the particular needs of different categories of local producers, and to present such material, techniques, and practices in a form suitable for use by extension. Third, to provide government policy makers and planners with information and insights on what is technically, economically, and socially feasible. And, fourth, within limits imposed by resource constraints, this national capacity is required to generate some essential technology of its own where other options don't work. These are tall assignments, especially for agricultural research systems in developing countries operating under severe institutional, manpower, and funding constraints. It was recognition of the imperative need to have strong, well-managed national agricultural research systems, able to do all these things, that led to the creation in 1980 of ISNAR as the latest of 13 international centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) As a complement to the predominant emphasis on commodity research within the CGIAR system, ISNAR's task is to assist developing country governments in their efforts to strengthen the organization, management, and structure of their national agricultural research systems. To improve the creative functioning of such a system is a complex managerial task demanding a holistic approach. ISNAR's support is multi-faceted and integrative, taking account of specific country needs. Initial activities are analytical and diagnostic, culminating in recommendations for change, as appropriate. ISNAR has developed a distinct strategy and methodology for carrying out such comprehensive system reviews. To date, it has done nineteen such reviews, at the invitation of and in close collaboration with the governments concerned. The diagnostic review constitutes a first broad and rapid assistance in response to a country's request for guidelines for change, based on the agricultural research management experience of its staff, combined with relevant concepts and methods of management science. Usually, as national research systems evolve, countries seek assistance in solving more specific organization and management problems relating to individual components of their agricultural research systems. Because management as a discipline has been developed primarily for industry and commerce, there is a substantial knowledge gap in applying management techniques to national agricultural research systems. To respond to anticipated and emerging needs, ISNAR is taking on the adaptive research task of bringing modern management concepts and techniques to bear on national agricultural research systems, by distilling, modifying, and synthesizing existing management tools and creating a body of knowledge directly applicable to agricultural research systems. ISNAR's strategy of creating multiplier effects finds further expression in its conference and training activities, aimed at both awareness and skill enhancement and at improving communication among research managers, regionally and nationally. As a support for its own work and that of its clients, ISNAR is rapidly expanding its specialized documentation in research management and agricultural research system development. ISNAR presently has 24 professional staff of more than a dozen nationalities based in its offices in The Hague, and a few outposted staff. The staff includes economists, agricultural scientists of several disciplines, management experts, and social scientists. More importantly, it comprises a wide diversity of managerial experience, and of cultural backgrounds, all focused on service to, and study of, system-building for effective management of national agricultural research. With this resource, ISNAR is currently working in one form or another and at different levels of intensity with well over twenty developing countries in all parts of the world. And demands for ISNAR's services are growing rapidly. ISNAR's address is: P.O. Box 93375, 2509AJ The Hague. Netherlands Telephone (070) 47.29 91 Telex 33746 Cable ISNAR The Hague