Changing paradigms in agricultural research: Significance of end-user involvement

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In general, developments at new frontiers of science and technology exert significant impacts on the way the research is thought about and executed. Agricultural R&D is no exception to this. The discovery of the double-helical model of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953 and the later developments in the field of biotechnology made agricultural research more knowledge- and capital-intensive. Furthermore, with the liberalization of economies the world over, the private sector emerged as a key player in agricultural research. While public sector institutions continue to concentrate on meeting ever increasing food demands, the private sector tends to focus on crops that would generate profitable returns, thereby raising concerns about meeting the needs of small and marginal farmers. This paper reviews various paradigms that are evolving in agricultural research and answers the following questions: (a) what are the different paradigms in agricultural research; (b) how are these paradigms affecting the priorities for research; (c) what is the impact of such shifts in priorities in agriculture on the variety of end-users; and (d) are there any institutional arrangements to cater for the needs of the small and resource-poor farmers whose needs are bypassed by these shifts in priorities? Following this, the innovative model of the Andhra Pradesh Netherlands Biotechnology Programme that aims to produce need-based technologies is discussed.
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  • Outlook on Agriculture is an international peer-review journal devoted to agricultural science, policy and strategy. The journal is published quarterly and provides analysis, reviews and commentary for an international and interdisciplinary readership. Special attention is paid to agricultural policy, international trade in the agricultural sector, strategic developments in food production, the role of agriculture in social and economic development, agriculture in developing countries, and environmental issues. Readers include academics, policy makers and practitioners. For more details go to
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