This Agricultural Research and Extension Network (AgREN) Newsletter presents the results of an experiment that we initiated last year. During a review of AgREN, a number of members suggested that it would be useful to have an occasional issue of AgREN dedicated to a special topic. We decided to follow up on this suggestion and chose globalisation as the topic, based on member interest.
Early last year we announced the special issue and solicited proposals for papers. We received a number of proposals, selected those that seemed most relevant to the topic, and proceeded towards producing a special issue for January 2002.
Globalisation, the experiment continues Our experiment with a special issue is not over; indeed, it has just begun. AgREN members have received four
papers with this issue, and (as always) we look forward to hearing reactions and comments. The papers cover a number of interesting issues.
Jonathan Kydd’s overview paper provides a fresh and useful way to help think about globalisation. The term is used to describe so many different trends and issues that it is sometimes difficult to know if it is of
any use at all. The idea of transaction costs, presented in the paper, draws attention to one common thread to help us find our way through the complex phenomenon known as globalisation.
All of the papers in this issue offer a rather cautious view of globalisation. Each one of them presents examples of possible strategies for farmers to take advantage of expandi
ng markets, but each is frank about the serious impediments that remain. Of particular relevance for AgREN, the skills and organisation required to lower transaction costs and allow farmers better access to markets are far removed from the traditional skills and experience of agricultural research and extension. AgREN members need to think carefully about the implications of these challenges.