Measuring the environmental impacts of agricultural research: Theory and Applications to CGIAR research

Jeff Bennett, Mitch Renkow, James Stevenson, Derek Byerlee, Nelson Villoria, Tim Kelley, Mywish Maredia

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    Agricultural research generates technologies and information that when adopted by end users, results in economic, social and environmental impacts. The economic impacts of CGIAR-generated technologies, especially in germplasm improvement, have been widely documented (Evenson and Gollin, 2003; Raitzer and Kelley, 2008), but a comparable effort in documenting other types of impacts is lacking (Renkow and Byerlee, 2010). The inclusion of environmental impacts in the evaluation of agricultural research, both positive and negative, would yield a more complete picture of the overall returns to investments in R&D, even if not all of these impacts are measured in monetary terms. If, as Waibel and Zilberman (2007) suggest, the overall returns for some kinds of research are underestimated, then more comprehensive documentation of impact is likely to have a positive effect in terms of enhancing donor confidence in the CGIAR as an effective mechanism for achieving broader development goals. Even when environmental consequences are negative, their documentation would provide a more credible and comprehensive impact assessment that may still show a positive net impact. A broadening of the focus of impact assessment is consistent with the findings of the Independent Review Panel of the CGIAR (2009) which recommended that “future ex-ante and ex-post impact assessment make an effort to accurately assess environmental, gender and other indirect consequences of agricultural research for development”
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyIndependent science and partnership council
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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