Agricultural Research Leaders Set International Agenda

Global reach. New agreements aim to extend reach of international collaboration on agricultural research.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Chief scientists from agriculture departments of the G-20 countries met for the first time last week in Jalisco, Mexico, to identify priorities for sustainably boosting farm productivity. They agreed on several ways to facilitate research and improve coordination.

The five goals include improving access to scientific publications, seeds and other germplasm, and genetic and genomic data. In addition, the chief scientists will work on improving agricultural statistics and facilitating technology transfer within and among their countries. They also want to improve coordination with non-G-20 countries and CGIAR, a network of global research institutions.

"We could really significantly speed up the intensification of agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner," says Catherine Woteki, chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As part of these goals, Woteki says USDA is developing an open access policy similar to that of the National Institutes of Health.