Role of international research centers' soil laboratories in agricultural development
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John Ryan, Paul Smithson, Bernardita Mandac, Joseph Uponi. (5/2/2007). Role of international research centers' soil laboratories in agricultural development. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 33 (15-18), pp. 3213-3225.
The worldwide network of 16 research centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) focuses on research, training, education, and capacity-building with the goal of poverty alleviation through increased production, economic development, and environmental protection in the poorer countries of the world. The centers work in partnership with the national agricultural research systems as well as advanced research institutions. The pillars of their research are germplasm enhancement and natural resource management. The soil laboratory is fundamental to such research endeavors, involving analysis of soils as a basis for soil characterization, identifying nutrient constraints, and establishing criteria for fertilizer application and efficient nutrient use, along with water, plant, and fertilizer analysis. The soil laboratory backstops both basic and applied research. Most CGIAR centers' laboratories have a training function for their region's national programs, and are involved in networks to upgrade analytical standards and maintain quality output. Many laboratories also host students from regional universities for their graduate research. There is a need for an increased role for laboratory analysis in the future research and development programs of the international centers. However, inherent weaknesses in the system will have to be addressed, as well as improved staff training, centralization of analytical services, automation, and quality assurance. There will also be a shift in the types of analysis as research programs place more emphasis on environment rather than traditional soil fertility concerns.
- Agricultural Research Knowledge