Training and Capacity Building: An Essential Strategy for Development at an International Research Center

John Ryan, Habib Ibrahim, Afif Dakermanji, Abdoul Aziz Niane


In order to be meaningful, agricultural research has to provide solutions to problems, especially in the international agricultural research system which is designed to contribute to enhanced food production and improved rural livelihoods in the lesser-developed world. Training and human resource development, whether at the technical support or research scientists/managerial level, is fundamental to an effective agricultural research and technology transfer system. By comparison with the developed world, the national agricultural research systems (NARS) in developing countries are weak, often with ineffective extension programs, as typified by the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) region, which is served by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Despite the potential benefits of enhancing human skills, training and human resource development activities are often under-valued and under-funded in international research centers that serve developing countries. By highlighting training at ICARDA and its mandate countries, we sought to give renewed focus on this important component of the mission of the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research (CGIAR). In this article, we considered ICARDA’s philosophy and concepts on training, collaborating institutions, educational materials, categories of training, development of training courses, significant outcomes of training, shifting paradigms, and future directions. ICARDA’s innovative collaborative approach is a model to be emulated not only by the Centers but by other international institutions involved in agricultural and rural development in the developing countries. At this crucial time of restructuring of the CGIAR, renewed emphasis on training has never been more urgent.

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Sustainable Agriculture Research   ISSN 1927-050X (Print)   ISSN 1927-0518 (Online)  E-mail:

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