The Need And Prospects For Agrotechnology Transfer

Swindale, L D (1981) The Need And Prospects For Agrotechnology Transfer. In: The Benchmark Soils Project Symposium at The International Conference on Soils with Variable Charge, February 16,1981, Massey University, New Zealand.

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Many people in the world today do not receive enough food, and the prospects for the future are depressing. The deficits in staple foods in the developing countries are likely to be three to four times as great in 1990 as they are today. There is need for more intensive use of soils, but there is already much concern about the deterioration of soils throug- h excessive and unwise use. Agricultural research can contribute significantly to the amelioration of these problems, but because research costs are high and increasing, efforts are needed to make agricultural research more efficient. Many small countries will not have the resources to make the magnitude of research effort needed to solve their own problems. In these dire circumstances, greater efforts need to be made to transfer agricultural technology from place to place and country to country. Presently it is being done mostly by trial and error, but more scientific approaches are being developed. Models that simulate biological processes and regression equations relating crop performance to input and sitefactor variables have great potential but only limited success to date, because of the magnitude of environmental site-factor constraints. Methods of analogous transfer have much greater immediate value. They are widely if casually used. They can be made more useful and more scientific if they are based upon the stratification of resource and environmental constraint variables, particularly of climates and soils. A methodology for systematic, analogous agrotechnology transfer now exists in the combination of soil survey, Soil Taxonomy, the benchmark soils concept, and the methods of soil survey interpretation. Some useful scientific proofs have been made of the transfer methodology over a global soils network, far exceeding in its geographic coverage the current possibilities of simulation or statistical methods. It is easy to see how the number of stations in the network can be increased through an International Benchmark Soils Network. The new methodology opens up the real possibility of technical communication and cooperation among the developing countries. It opens up the real possibility of increasing the efficiency of agronomic research. It opens up the need for countries to know their soils better and to strengthen their programs of soil survey interpretation. It opens up the possibilities for much greater and more effective use of soils information in the planning of agricultural development. An operating network of stations for agrotechnology transfer will not decrease the need for national agricultural research, because there is proof that transfer will not occur in the absence of local research capacity. Research in developed countries and in the international agricultural centers assists the transfer process, but does not replace the need for national research.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2011 04:55
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2011 04:55
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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