The new feature article by Cornelia Nauen focuses on the changing landscape of EU international science cooperation. Dr Nauen notes that while there is need for more collaboration and the benefits to be gained are clear, competitive policy agendas may lead to less cooperation. I consider this a double-edged sword especially for those countries whose knowledge systems are not robust enough to take advantage of the opportunities from cross-border science and innovation collaboration or public – private partnerships. Under either scenario, only the strong will survive as they will be best able to negotiate terms and conditions and reap the maximum rewards from the commercialization of knowledge. The article on “Scientific development in African countries” is also insightful as the results show that African scientific output increased between 1996 and 2009 but the international cooperation remained almost the same.
Adding value to locally grown foods and reducing postharvest losses remain priorities for developing countries, especially in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. For the more developed and advanced economies, reduction of food waste and more natural processed food products are priorities. The problems that have challenged the ACP region for 10, 15, 20 or more years ago, remain the same, yet the knowledge exists to support advances in processing agricultural produce and reducing postharvest losses. Should ACP researchers focus on quantifying postharvest losses and tracking quality or methods for preserving grains and root crops or on getting the existing research outputs and available technologies to farmers and other value chain actors? The new feature article by Professor Neela Badrie on agro-processing in the Caribbean provides some food for thought as well as several other related articles on this topic.
The new buzz words are ‘sustainable intensification’ but what does this really mean? Grow food with less water and soil? Optimize technological innovations e.g. green houses and biotechnology? Produce foods under more controlled environments e.g. green houses and livestock pens? Produce foods organically? Experts are debating the issues and the ethics and some are saying that “sustainable” and ‘intensification’ are not compatible. Read the report on “Sustainable intensification in agriculture : Navigating a course though competing food systems priorities”.
South Africa has been making strides in building on their indigenous knowledge systems. They are already optimizing the indigenous genetic resources and this has led to new product discoveries with the attendant socio-economic benefits. They also lead in terms of scientific outputs. This will allow for both positive and defensive protection.
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