Agricultural research and extension. How to become a developed country

René Cortázar S.1

In the Chilean Gross National Product, the figures corresponding to agriculture and mining activities are very similar (7.3 and 7.4%). In this article, the possibilities of increasing production in both areas are discussed. The expansion possibilities of mining production are very low: mineral consumption is decreasing in the developed countries and copper is being substituted by other materials. On the other hand, in 1934-1936 production/hectare was only 16% higher in the developed countries than in Chile; last year, the difference rose to 60%. The main cause of this increasing gap, lies in the difference in investment in Research and Extension; USA invests four times as much per hectare in research than Chile. Projections show that Chile should triplicate this investment in research to cover agricultural production and its processing industry. Chile does not have an Agricultural Extension Programo Though the programs for technical diffusion (INlA) and technical assistance (INDAP) have satisfactory results, they cover only small groups of farmers, and their high cost per capita, prevents their expansion nationwide. The conclusion is that the Government should increase the present level of investment in Agricultural Research and develop an Extension Program, in order to cover the real needs of the country, if Chile wants to overcome underdevelopment and become a developed country. Technical assistance should be financed by the private sector.

1 Estación Experimental La Platina (INlA), Casilla 439, Correo 3, Santiago, Chile.