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Private Investment In Agricultural Research And International Technology Transfer In Asia


  • Pray, Carl E.
  • Fuglie, Keith O.


This study addresses the questions of future sources of technology for increasing food and agricultural production by considering the situation in Asia. This region of the world is particularly appropriate for studying these questions because of the dynamic changes in population and incomes. How much private research is there and what is it producing? Will the private sector compensate for declining public agricultural research investments in Asia? What can governments do to stimulate private research and protect farmers from harmful or defective technology? Agribusiness firm's R&D investments were evaluated in selected developing countries during 1996 and 1998 and compared with data from a similar study conducted in the mid-1980s. The largest amount of private research was in India where investment was about $55 million per year in the mid-1990s, followed by Thailand, Malaysia, and China. China's private R&D spending represents less than one one-hundredth of 1 percent of agricultural gross domestic product. In contrast, in Thailand and Malaysia, firms spent about 0.1 percent. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, private sector R&D grew in real terms in the countries in our sample. However, at this rate, private research will not fill the gap needed to support rapid growth in demand for agricultural products. Foreign firms made an important contribution to private research in all of these countries. The most important policy that helped induce this growth was liberalization of industrial policy that allowed private and foreign firms to operate and expand in agricultural input industries. A second important policy was investments in public research. Patents and tax incentives seem to have had little effect so far, but could be important in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Pray, Carl E. & Fuglie, Keith O., 2001. "Private Investment In Agricultural Research And International Technology Transfer In Asia," Agricultural Economics Reports 33927, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uerser:33927
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.33927

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    Cited by:

    1. Spielman, David J. & Kennedy, Adam, 2015. "Innovation, competition, and productivity growth: Evidence on the impact of growth in Asia's maize seed sector," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211561, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Carl E. Pray & Latha Nagarajan, 2014. "The transformation of the Indian agricultural input industry: has it increased agricultural R&D?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(S1), pages 145-156, November.
    3. Spielman,David J. & Hartwich,Frank & von Grebmer, Klaus, 2007. "Sharing science, building bridges, and enhancing impact: Public-Private Partnerships in the CGIAR," IFPRI discussion papers 708, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Prabhakar, S.V.R.K. & Elder, Mark, 2009. "Biofuels and resource use efficiency in developing Asia: Back to basics," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(Supplemen), pages 30-36, November.
    5. Spielman, David J., 2007. "Pro-poor agricultural biotechnology: Can the international research system deliver the goods?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-204, April.
    6. Rivera, Rene & Sampedro, Jose Luis & Dutrenit, Gabriela & Ekboir, Javier Mario & Vera-Cruz, Alexandre O., 2009. "How productive are academic researchers in agriculture-related sciences? The Mexican case," MERIT Working Papers 038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. Tiffany Shih & Brian Wright, 2011. "Agricultural Innovation," NBER Chapters, in: Accelerating Energy Innovation: Insights from Multiple Sectors, pages 49-85, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pal, Suresh & Byerlee, Derek R., 2003. "The Funding And Organization Of Agricultural Research In India: Evolution And Emerging Issues," Policy Papers 11870, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP).
    9. Dana G. Dalrymple, 2008. "International agricultural research as a global public good: concepts, the CGIAR experience and policy issues," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 347-379.
    10. Chai, Yuan & Pardey, Philip G. & Chan-Kang, Connie & Huang, Jikun & Lee, Kyuseon & Dong, Wanlu, 2019. "Passing the food and agricultural R&D buck? The United States and China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-1.
    11. Pray, Carl E. & Nagarajan, Latha, 2012. "Innovation and research by private agribusiness in India:," IFPRI discussion papers 1181, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Hu, Ruifa & Pray, Carl & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Fan, Cunhui & Zhang, Caiping, 2009. "Reforming intellectual property rights and the Bt cotton seed industry in China: Who benefits from policy reform?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 793-801, June.
    13. Spielman, David J. & Kennedy, Adam, 2016. "Towards better metrics and policymaking for seed system development: Insights from Asia's seed industry," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 111-122.
    14. Dawit K. Mekonnen & David J. Spielman & Esendugue Greg Fonsah & Jeffrey H. Dorfman, 2015. "Innovation systems and technical efficiency in developing-country agriculture," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(5), pages 689-702, September.
    15. Anwar Naseem & David J. Spielman & Steven Were Omamo, 2010. "Private-sector investment in R&D: a review of policy options to promote its growth in developing-country agriculture," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 143-173.
    16. Luh, Yir-Hueih & Chang, Ching-Cheng & Huang, Fung-Mey, 2008. "Efficiency change and productivity growth in agriculture: A comparative analysis for selected East Asian economies," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 312-324, August.
    17. Ramasamy, C., 2013. "Indian Agricultural R&D: An Introspection and Way Forward," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 26(1), June.
    18. Gruère, Guillaume & Narrod, Clare & Abbott, Linda, 2011. "Agricultural, food, and water nanotechnologies for the poor: Opportunities, constraints, and role of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research," IFPRI discussion papers 1064, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    19. John W. Mellor, 2008. "Agricultural Development and Food Security(The Allama Iqbal Memorial Lecture)," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 47(4), pages 357-380.
    20. Aparajita Goyal & John Nash, 2016. "Reaping Richer Returns, Preliminary Overview," World Bank Other Operational Studies 25782, The World Bank.


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