29
Mar

Achieving greater impact by aligning with national priorities

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Panel members on the dais (L to R) Dr Varshney, Dr Joshi, Dr Bergvinson, Dr Mohapatra, Dr Sandhu, and Dr Aggarwal. Photo: Purushottam

With the objective of achieving greater impact at scale, CGIAR centers and the Indian government agreed to draw up a framework to identify gaps and opportunities that would align the work of centers and national partners with national priorities.

At the recent India Country Integration Consultation, centers also confirmed the need for a sustained mechanism to allow the sharing of research sites, facilities, technology and knowledge as well as developing joint proposals by the centers and CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs).

This is part of the global CGIAR effort to align its mission with national priorities which will allow the CGIAR centers to deliver value for money and put the research programs in a better position to serve the needs of farmers and make food systems sustainable. The challenge will be the integration of CRPs, commodity-based programs and cross-cutting platforms.

“The Indian Prime Minister has called for the doubling of income of smallholder farmers by 2022 or before. This can only be achieved if we work in concert towards improving the lives of smallholder farmers. All of us must come together to offer integrated solutions that are sustainable and equitable to improve the nutritional status of all consumers and to improve the welfare of farmer families,” said Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT. He said there is a real urgency to bring all partners together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr T Mohapatra, Director General, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), emphasized the importance of convergence to be successful in alleviating poverty in the country. “In certain areas we are suffering and unable to make headway. We need to identify what can be done together, in a time-bound manner by defining our roles and responsibilities clearly,” he said.

Some of the areas he identified for action and where all CGIAR centers can contribute:

  • Breaking the yield barrier in pulses;
  • Using big data and genomics for crop improvement especially in the dryland areas;
  • Improving water use efficiency;
  • Developing heat tolerant varieties for the Gangetic plains, and
  • Defining ways and means for assessing the impact of technologies, especially natural resource management technologies, in order to justify investments in agricultural research.

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Participants in a group discussion.

Participants at the consultation.Photos: Purushottam

Breakaway groups discussed the individual CRPs and possible solutions to bridge the research gap areas; research priorities at the state level; and mechanisms for research collaboration in states.
There were five objectives set for the consultation:

  • Review the current CGIAR research in India.
  • Project the plans for Phase 2 of CRPs.
  • Seek inputs from all partners in India for the evolving CRP global research plans.
  • Develop a roadmap for different research portfolios and submit a consolidated feedback to CRP Directors and CGIAR centers.
  • Commit to ongoing consultations with partners.

The India Country Integration Consultation was held in New Delhi, India, on 22 March and was attended by about 90 people including Dr JS Sandhu, Deputy Director General, Crop Sciences, ICAR, Dr PK Joshi, Director South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Dr PK Aggarwal, Regional Program Director CRP on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, along with other senior leaders of research centers, government and non-government partners.

In a follow up to the one-day consultation, a steering committee of the heads of the CGIAR centers in India met on 23 March and put forward a number of suggestions on ways to move forward. These included:

  • Develop a mechanism to increase and deepen engagement with state governments in a joint manner.
  • Develop joint proposals. Karnataka being a good model to emulate in other states.
  • Identify broad areas based on national priorities – pulses, rice fallow, increase water efficiency, climate change, agricultural insurance. Draw up plans for scaling up and out.

These ideas can be developed further and then discussed with the government.

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