Message from the Director General

Photo of IFPRI Director General Shenggen FanThe science of farming has moved toward more sparing and efficient use of land, water, and energy. One example is conservation agriculture, a decades-old practice that is producing benefits for the environment and profits for large-scale farmers in some countries. Conservation agriculture is an important focus of CGIAR’s Cereal Systems Initiative in South Asia (CSISA). For smallscale farmers in South Asia and elsewhere, conservation agriculture, and complementary activities such as laser land leveling and agroforestry, could be an environmental and economic boon, but the hurdles to adoption are still high. This is where IFPRI researchers come in: they are looking not at the science, but at the economics of conservation agriculture, and proposing ways to make more sustainable farming economically viable even for poor, small-scale farmers. The feature article in this issue of Insights explains how.

We welcome your comments on this article as well as the many others describing IFPRI’s current work.

— Shenggen Fan, Director General

In This Issue

Building Bigger Dreams

Can we improve people’s well-being by raising their aspirations?

Into the Spotlight

The grain teff has been consumed as a staple in Ethiopia for centuries but is little known outside the country. Now, researchers are training their attention on this understudied crop.

Untangling the Asian Enigma

Although South Asia has the highest concentration of undernutrition in the world, in the past two decades Bangladesh and Nepal have both achieved striking improvements in the nutrition of their citizens. How did they do it?

Does Money Talk?

FEATURE: Millions of poor people around the world are enrolled in safety net programs that hand out cash or food. What’s the best way to design these transfer programs?