World rice production has increased from 240 million t in 1966 to 599 million t in 2000, equivalent to an increase of 150%. This growth in production needs to continue to meet the demands of an ever-increasing population and the nutritional requirements of the poor. Future production gains need to be achieved with less agricultural resources such as land, water, and labor, and on a sustainable basis. Furthermore, gains need to be achieved in the face of an overall decline in agricultural research funding. These scenarios pose serious challenges for the future.
Impact assessment is one of the tools to help ensure better management, planning, and priority setting for raising the efficiency of agricultural research. It also ensures accountability to stakeholders and illustrates the impact of their contribution to research. This paper briefly outlines the different types of impact assessment, the potential indicators of research impact, and the nature of IRRI's collaboration with national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) for impact generation.