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    About us


About us  


The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi-arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agriculture.

ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, with two regional hubs and six country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.  CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. www.cgiar.org

ICRISAT conducts research protecting the environment.Dryland agriculture has long been viewed with pessimism and hopelessness. Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and dependent on external aid.

ICRISAT challenges this pessimistic view. Working with diverse partners in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa for almost four decades, ICRISAT has found that dryland farmers are ingenious and resourceful. By applying scientific innovations backed up with adequate policy, marketing and other support services, they are able to increase their crop productivity and incomes by several-fold, while improving the resilience of their lands and livelihoods. Hence, prosperity can be brought about in the tropical drylands.

Vision, mission and approach

ICRISAT envisions a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics. To achieve this, our mission is to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics. Our approach is through partnership-based international agricultural research-for-development that embodies Science with a Human Face.

Inclusive market-oriented development

For a long time, dryland farm families have been marginalized out of the development loop. An inclusive (broad-based) strategy puts them into the mainstream to participate and reap the benefits of development. Moreover, an inclusive strategy will enable the poor, particularly women and the youth/children, to participate, rather than be sidelined, in the development process.

Moreover, ICRISAT implements research programs in ways that benefit smallholder farmers enabling them and their families to go beyond subsistence farming to produce surpluses that can be stored and sold to markets, paving the way for prosperity in the drylands. Surplus produce, which is stored as food, serves as a buffer in times of hunger. Income from marketed produce enable farm families to purchase more food when needed, including inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, labor, tools, livestock, insurance and education. These will further raise farm productivity, kicking off a series of investments that bring about economic growth. As this is sustained, it creates a self-reinforcing pathway to prosperity. The foregoing describes a socio-economic process called inclusive market-oriented development (IMOD) on which ICRISATís strategy is anchored.

Holistic Approach

ICRISAT’s holistic approach – working across the agricultural value chain

To achieve our mission and help the small holder farmers, we must work along the whole agricultural value chain. This is shown in the diagram below and includes:

  • Ensuring careful analysis of problems and opportunities
  • Solutions to ensure sustainable intensification of farming

    • Managing soil and water 
    • Crop Improvement and seed access 
    • Diversifying farming 
    • Developing on-farm practices and technologies 
  • Solutions to build agribusiness

    • Introducing processing technologies 
    • Facilitating market access
    • Driving market development
    • All of this must be undertaken aware of the social and cultural environment.

There are a number of key cross cutting issues that ICRISAT believe are critical for sustainable success and need to be incorporated at all stages along the agricultural value chain. These include: empowering women, mainstreaming nutrition and attracting youth.

To ensure impacts area achieved from the research, there are important approaches for adoption that also need to be incorporated. These include: participatory approach and partnering; building capacity; integrating communications; monitoring and evaluation; and policy support.

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IMOD graph

Research Programs

  1. Resilient Dryland Systems – Reducing vulnerability to drought and climate change while increasing crop diversity and value.
  2. Markets, Institutions and Policies – Harnessing development pathways for inclusive prosperity.
  3. Grain Legumes – Raising and securing legume productivity for health, income and sustainability.
  4. Dryland Cereals – Increasing dryland cereal crop productivity to help end hunger.

Our research facilities  

Aspirational targets and development outcomes

ICRISAT has set four bold targets in the next ten years that will enormously benefit the well-being of the drylandís poorest people:

  • Help halve rural poverty by increasing farm incomes through more productive, stable,
    diverse and profitable crops and crop products,
  • Help halve hunger by contributing innovations that increase yields by 30% on a wide
    scale and through policy advice that stabilizes food prices and availability,
  • Help halve childhood malnutrition by enhancing the nutrient content of staple food
    crops and helping the poor diversify their crops, delivering more nutritious and safer
    food, and
  • Increase resilience of dryland farming through innovations that stabilize, safeguard and enhance natural resource capital, biological and systems diversity, and land health.

Towards the foregoing, ICRISATís programs are focused on achieving six development outcomes namely: development Food sufficiency, intensification, diversification, resilience, health and nutrition and women empowerment.

Governance and Management

ICRISAT’s management is headed by a Director General and assisted by a Deputy Director General - Research and other members of the Management Group composed of the Directors of Finance, Human Resources and Operations, Resource Planning and Marketing, Communication and the African regional hubs (Nairobi, Kenya and Bamako, Mali). Apart from the regional hubs, ICRISAT has six country offices (Malawi, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique) in sub-Saharan Africa. These are headed by Country Representatives. Research Programs are headed by Program Directors.


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