Best bets for banana research: priority setting to increase development impact

Which problems should scientists solve first and which solutions are more likely to have a positive impact on food security and livelihoods?

Agricultural scientists often assign priorities to the many possible research options they can pursue. They also sometimes meet with scientists from other institutions to identify global productivity constraints and discuss approaches to address them. While these exercises help build consensus around important issues, they stop short of exploring the relative impact of research projects or the trade-offs from investing in some kinds of research versus others. These kinds of insight usually come from the type of formal priority setting exercise on which the CGIAR research program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) has embarked for each of its mandate crops, including bananas.

“Investing into research is a bit like placing a bet or selecting a stock for investment”, says Graham Thiele, Director of the RTB. “We need to make sure we follow the best – and this means well-informed – bets when setting our priorities and investing funds. This is exactly what this study will help us with.”

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