Federal and state investments in agricultural research have consistently generated very high social rates of return. Surveys of the hundreds of studies quantifying the returns from agricultural research suggest rates of return in the range of 40–60 percent per year. Our recent work reconfirms that US public investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) has paid off handsomely, with benefit-cost ratios of 20:1 and higher. Nevertheless, for many reasons funding for research targeted at agricultural productivity has stagnated since the early 1980s.

HarvestChoice cofounders and principal investigators Stanley Wood and Philip Pardey discuss our mission, our data challenge, and four signature aspects of our innovative approach to more productive and profitable farming in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year, my HarvestChoice cofounder Stanley Wood and I had the honor of joining in a set of workshops focused on two critical issues.