Challenges for Rural Research and Development

  • Robert Chambers
Part of the Cambridge Commonwealth Series book series (CAMCOM)


This chapter sets out some of the challenges for research and development for rural South Asia that emerge from the experiences of this project. It is written against the frightening background of the world food and economic crisis, at a time when many of the people in South Asia cannot afford to buy or otherwise obtain the food they need, and when the early promise of the Green Revolution has faded. But despite disappointments there have been considerable technical advances in agriculture and in scientific organisation: a visitor to the higher-level research and plant-breeding stations — such as AICRIP and ICRISAT in Hyderabad, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University at Coimbatore, or Maha Illuppallama and Batalagoda in Sri Lanka — cannot fail to be impressed by the achievements of the past and excited by the possibilities for the future. Those who decry the Green Revolution and the imagination and skill that have made possible such as it has achieved fail to realise what conditions would be if nothing had been done. The fact is that very large quantities of additional food have been produced in hungry and food-importing poorer countries. It is too easy and safe for privileged observers who have never themselves been hungry to lament that big farmers have gained more than small, that the main beneficiaries have been the multinational corporations and their investors, that the effects have, in fact, been bad. The burden on us is not only to criticise but also to construct, not only to analyse what has gone wrong but also to learn from it how to create something better.


Green Revolution Command Area Reliable Water Supply Photoperiodic Insensitivity Calorie Yield 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1980

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  • Robert Chambers

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