The euphoria of the 'green revolution', which was at once the first-born and the father of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), is on the wane. Herdt and others have drawn attention to the fact that existing yield potential in rice, the basic food staple for the majority of the world's poor, is already being achieved by farmers in areas where population pressures are greatest. There is no more slack (Herdt, 1988; De Datta eta/., 1988). W. David Hopper, recently retired Chairman of the CGIAR, has commented: Unless there is a significant advance in productivity, far greater than I see evident from the present data from the CGIAR centres and others engaged in tropical agricultural research, I do not see us being able to beat the Malthusian proposition by 2000 or 2030 .... the next significant advances must come from genetic engineering. (Hopper, 1990) The CGIAR system will be one set of institutions helping to disseminate the benefits of biotechnology.


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