Ag Research or Else...Monday, Nov 13, 2000
Agricultural research funding in the latest FRST State funding review shows the wish of the state mandarin's
to reduce funding and place agricultural production in the "sunset" industry category.
Agricultural research as a "public good" was the strength of the development of New Zealand's economy
for the past century but it now seems that the promotion of applicable ag research is to be left
to private enterprise and subsequently those areas of private ownership that can be defended by the
use of patents, licenses and copyrights.
The Foundation for Research Science and Technology should be reminded that the current condition of
the NZ economy would be have been more critical if the rural sector had not maintained, albeit on
a shoe string, the now fragile elements of a research structure.
Where is the leadership to come from that will remind the state that research is a long-term requirement
of NZ's primary industries? Chasing the exciting and perhaps significant "new technologies" at
the expense of continuing development of the knowledge and skills required to maintain an efficient
agricultural sector is a folly that will be paid for dearly in the future by all New Zealander's.
Agriculture is a complex science. The on farm interactions require detailed understanding to maintain
The research funders should review their policies urgently.