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Robert Zeigler, Director of the IRRI, Praises BRICS and AIIB as Crucial for Transforming Rural Development Worldwide

Robert Zeigler, Director of the IRRI, Praises BRICS and AIIB as Crucial for Transforming Rural Development Worldwide


Sep. 27, 2014 (EIRNS)–Dr. Robert Zeigler, Director of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, based in the Philippines) for the past ten years, said on Sept. 25 that the New Development Bank of the BRICS and the Chinese-initiated AIIB have the potential to “transform rural societies.” Speaking at a Brookings Institute event, Dr. Zeigler said in his presentation that the world was already in the opening stages of a new “Green Revolution,” with new technologies (which allow for flood resistant and drought resistant capacities in the same breed of rice, among others). The problem, he said, was to get farmers to understand and agree to utilize these discoveries.

Asked by EIR how the BRICS and AIIB will affect the global food crisis, he said that the creation of new infrastructure, especially in transportation, will “make farmers far more open to the new technologies, because of the enhanced connectivity to markets.” He said he has seen this opening to new technologies in areas where the necessary infrastructure has been developed.

Another questioner noted that the G-20 had made food security a leading item for development, but that it never went anywhere (“You noticed,” responded Dr. Zeigler), and that the upcoming Millennium Goals meetings will likely get the same result, so what should be done?

Dr. Zeigler hit directly on the failed global economic system: “All the arm-waving at the global fora has produced no results. The bureaucrats re-package existing money and call that their contribution. To transform the system, you need a SOLID RESEARCH BASE, long term, both internationally and in the national systems, together with an education system to generate the needed scientists, making it a viable career for our youth. {If you let the private sector make all the decisions, you are in trouble.} Wall Street looks at the immediate return on investment, not what is best for society.” He brought down the house when he added: “Look at the pharmaceutical industry, left largely to the private sector–we get Rogaine and Viagra, but no cure for Ebola!”

He also complained, as he has for many years, that the governments around the world which once funded the IRRI and other agriculture research centers has massively gutted that funding, leaving them “working on a shoestring budget.” See Dr. Zeigler in EIR:

“Meeting the Challenge of Expanded Rice Production,” May 10, 2013

“Rice–Scientific Breakthroughs to Transform Agriculture,” May 17, 2013

Interview March 2, 2007, )

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