This paper examines the need for and the nature of partnerships in agricultural research. Most of these, it maintains, are North-South partnerships. Though increasing South-South collaboration has been evident over the past decade, South-South partnerships are usually dependent for funding on northern countries which makes them vulnerable in the longer term. South-South partnerships are also less likely to find themselves at the cutting edge of scientific thought which makes it important that South-based institutions continue to partner with their counterparts in the North. The paper argues that so long as adequate attention is devoted to defining the terms of partnership and choosing the 'right' partner, research partnerships can yield enormous benefits. It takes the view that many 'sins' have been committed in past partnerships but that we should be able to learn from these. It also maintains that partnerships between the 'strong' and the 'weak' are possible so long as both sides recognise what they can gain from partnerships and that this accords with their overall institutional priorities. Finally, it gives some examples of successful partnerships and suggests that many of the characteristics of these are not pre-conditions but are aspirations which can be pursued through the lifetime of the partnership itself.
Gelia T Castillo