Opening Remarks

JIRCAS International Symposium Proceedings
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Distinguished Guests, Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Symposium Organizers, I have the honor and privilege to open the
JIRCAS International Symposium 2009 on the “Roles of Social Sciences in International
Agricultural Research and Development”, which is organized by the Japan International
Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), in cooperation with the International Food
Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the University of Tokyo.
First of all, I would like to extend my cordial welcome to all the guests and the participants,
in particular to those who came to Japan from overseas. I would also like to express my sincere
thanks to the two prominent keynote speakers, Dr. Maximo Torero of IFPRI and Prof. Takashi
Kurosaki of Hitotsubashi University, for their kind acceptance to deliver very relevant lectures.
As all of you might clearly remember, the high food prices in 2007-2008 and the world-wide
economic recession following them seriously affected the economies of developing regions. It is
reported that the reduction of the undernourished population, one of the UN Millennium
Development Goals, has indeed become difficult to achieve. In response to this serious situation,
the G8 Summit this year at L’Aquila, Italy, which followed the one held at Toyako, Japan last
year, repeatedly expressed a strong expectation on agricultural development to achieve world
food security. Roles of science and technology were also highlighted. In order to achieve world
food security, however, we have to take various socio-economic aspects into consideration. All
new kinds of agricultural technologies as well as all agricultural development projects must be
evaluated socially and economically. This is the reason why this symposium was planned and
As most of you may be aware, JIRCAS is a unique research institute which aims at
agricultural technology improvement in the developing regions. Limiting ourselves to
technology development for example, there are many research issues which need to be tackled
in combination with social, economic, institutional and policy studies. These include how to
increase agricultural investments, how to disseminate appropriate technologies, how to mitigate
climate change and so on and so forth. For this purpose, JIRCAS strengthened its
socio-economic research group, currently named as Development Research Division, when it was re-organized in 1993. Since then, various socio-economic studies have been carried out, not
only in collaboration with other natural scientific fields, but also independently.
Generally speaking, social sciences dealing with agriculture have so far generated plenty of
research results, making great contributions to the formulation of agricultural policies in the
world and to the methodological improvement of rural development, etc. However, they have to
play a more central role in providing effective answers to the challenges that we are currently
facing on a global scale. In fact, the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research
(CGIAR) emphasizes the importance of policy and institutional studies, listing ‘Policies for
people’ as one of the three major strategic objectives in the course of its Change Management
This symposium aims to identify problems and indicate research directions in Social
Sciences related to agriculture, such as the issues of globalizing economy, participatory rural
development and technology evaluation, etc. by promoting the exchange of views among
domestic and foreign experts, researchers and other participants. I sincerely hope that this
symposium will provide significant and useful information which will contribute to global
agricultural research and development endeavors as a whole, and to the resolution of
complicated and persistent agricultural and rural problems in the world.
Finally, I would like to extend my special gratitude to the co-organizers and the supporters
for their kind cooperation. Thank you for your attention.

Date of issued
Creator Kenji Iiyama
Publisher Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences
Available Online
Issue 2009
spage 7
epage 8
Rights Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences
Language eng

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