Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation

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Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR)
GFAR logo
MottoTogether we are working to make agri-food research and innovation more effective, responsive and equitable, towards achieving Sustainable Development outcomes.
TypeGlobal Forum
Legal statusInternational Forum
PurposeAgricultural research and innovation
Region served
Bongiwe N. Njobe

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) is an inclusive global mechanism enabling all those concerned with the future of agriculture and its role in development around the world to come together and address key global needs.[1] GFAR provides an open forum for stakeholders across the agricultural spectrum—from researchers and organizations to farmers—to participate in collaborative discussion and action around the current and future state of agriculture.[2]

Established in 1996, GFAR was formed as a project for resource sharing—a commitment that remains the essential purpose of the Forum today.[3] GFAR facilitates collaboration, partnerships and sharing of objectives along the complex pathways from research through to development outcomes.[4]

Its headquarters is in Rome, Italy, where it is hosted by FAO. The current Chair of GFAR is Ms. Bongiwe N. Njobe, from South Africa.


GFAR was established initially by World Bank, IFAD, FAO, International Service for National Agricultural Research | ISNAR and SDC on 31 October 1996, triggered by a major shift in thinking about development during that period.[5] This entailed a new recognition of the need to include all development stakeholders in development processes, to make them more effective, owned by the intended beneficiary countries and communities, self-driven and resilient.[6]

Recognizing this shift, the United Nations inter-governmental agriculture and food-related development organizations FAO, IFAD, CGIAR partnership of 15 international agricultural research centres (IARCs), the national agricultural research and development systems of countries from South and North through their regional bodies and representatives of civil society, the private sector and farmer organizations, came together to establish GFAR.[7]

The first gatherings for the stakeholders were the GFAR Triennial Conferences. The first was held in Dresden, Germany, in May 2000, on "Strengthening research partnerships in the globalized world of the turn of century". The second was held in Dakar, Senegal, in 2003 with the theme "Linking Research and Rural Innovation to Sustainable Development". The third was held in New Delhi, India, in 2006 with the theme "Reorienting Agricultural Research to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)".

Subsequently, the meetings were replaced by Global Conferences on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) along with the Annual General Meetings of CGIAR. The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development 2010 (GCARD1) was held in Montpellier, France from 28–31 March 2010, on the theme “Enhancing Development Impact from Research: Building on Demand”.

The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development 2012 (GCARD2) was held in Uruguay, 29 October-1 November 2012, on the theme "Foresight and Partnership for Innovation and Impact on Smallholder Livelihoods".

Goal, objectives & pillars[edit]

GFAR’s goal is to ensure that agricultural innovation systems, encompassing research, extension, education and enterprise - deliver the best development outcomes to resource-poor farmers and rural communities.[8]

GFAR seeks to ensure agricultural innovation and delivers its intended development impact through:[9]

  • Collective Advocacy: enable dialogue among all sectors to identify key current and future priorities in agricultural research, innovation and rural development and advocate for key needs to be addressed.
  • Partnership Development: help build effective and equitable partnerships among diverse actors to address the complex issues along innovation pathways to impacts,
  • Transforming Institutions: catalyze collective actions developing the capabilities and creating the transformative changes required in institutions to enable greater impacts for those they serve and
  • Sharing & Using Knowledge: mobilize the access, availability and use of agricultural knowledge and technologies into development purposes.

The GCARD Roadmap[10] describes the broad transformative changes needed in national systems, as articulated by the sector, while GFAR's Medium Term Plan[11] sets out how GFAR will get there, specifying the practical actions GFAR needs to take collectively through six Work Streams, each one with a concrete outcome:

  • Foresight for Better Futures: Farmers and national stakeholders empowered and informed to better negotiate their own agricultural futures.
  • Partnerships for Impact: Equitable and effective demand-driven partnerships to transform agricultural research and innovation into meaningful impacts at scale.
  • Transformative Investments: Transformative AR4D investments stimulated to provide tangible opportunities for the world’s poor.
  • Capacities for Change: Collective initiatives fostered to improve capacity in Agricultural Research for Development.
  • Research in Society: Agriculture and innovation is embedded into rural development agendas.
  • Accountability for Action: Accountability, transformational change and development impacts in Agricultural Research for Development systems increased through more effective governance and greater and more transparent stakeholder involvement.

Gender in Agriculture Partnership (GAP)[edit]

According to FAO, approximately 70% of all farmers in the developing world are women.[12] If access to new technology, training and resources is made available to these farmers, yields could increase by 20 to 30% and could reduce the number of hungry people in world by 100 to 150 million people.[13]

In order to tackle this issue, GFAR stakeholders launched in March 2012 the Gender in Agriculture Partnership (GAP) at the first Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (GCWA) in New Delhi, India.[14]

GAP’s vision is to ensure a transformed agriculture where gender equity enables food, nutrition and income security for the rural poor.[15]

The Forum’s Stakeholders[edit]

GFAR’s actions are mobilized and delivered through the partnerships, collaborative networks and institutions brought together through the Forum, as determined by their representatives in the multi-stakeholder GFAR Steering Committee.[16]

GFAR’s Steering Committee involves all categories of stakeholders that work in the agricultural world:

Regional Fora

International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs)

Farmers Organizations

Private sector

Advisory Services

Education Institutions

Facilitating Agencies

Youth Organizations

FAO states that in the next 35 years the world’s population will increase from 7 billion to over 10 billion.[17] At the same time, agriculture is an ageing and undervalued profession for which there is a declining interest among young people.[18]

Young professionals face numerous challenges including making their voices heard and exerting influence in the field of AR4D. Lack of youth involvement in AR4D has negative implications for the sector, reducing the potential for innovation, use of new communication technologies, inclusivity and future sustainability.[19] In response to this on 8 November 2006, during the triennial conference of the GFAR, in New Delhi, India: the Young Professional’s Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) was officially launched and it is now hosted by the GFAR Secretariat.[20]

Donors & Investors[edit]

Financial support for this initiative is provided through a multi-donor trust fund maintained in FAO.

Recent supporters of the Global Forum's work have included:


External links[edit]