Newsroom  Press releases  2002

3) US$ 1 million Tata grant for ICRISAT watershed project, 24 June, 2002

An important ICRISAT-Tata-ICAR joint project called Combating Land Degradation and Increasing Productivity in MP and Rajasthan has been granted a US$ 1 million from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The partners are the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Sri Digvijay Singh, inaugurated the project for Dewas and Guna districts on 20 June at Bhopal. State Ministers Mahendra Singh (Agriculture), Ajay Singh (Rural Development and Panchayat), Professor MS Swaminathan, eminent agricultural scientist and World Food Prize Laureate, the Directors General of ICAR and ICRISAT, Dr Punjab Singh and Dr William Dar were present at the gathering.

Both the DG's discussed issues related to rainfed agriculture in India, the potential for improving livelihoods for small farmers and strategies to achieve food security while minimizing land degradation - in short, the ICRISAT-Tata-ICAR initiative in India.

The idea is to achieve a convergence of various development programmes concerning watersheds so that the activities focus on livelihoods in general and are not limited to soil and water conservation.


This programme was initiated following a planning workshop on Combating land degradation and increasing productivity in Madhya Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan in March 2002. Tata-ICRISAT examined the feasibility of replicating the impressive results of the Adarsha Watershed at Kothapally, Andhra Pradesh, in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.


After developing a workable implementation plan for the consortium, ICRISAT Director General Dar called on Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Industries Limited, in early June at Bombay House to update him on the progress. Mr Tata said, "I am impressed with the activities of your institute and I would like to be apprised frequently with the progress of this very interesting project."


Dr Dar also called on Mr Rusi Lala, Director, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, in Mumbai and debriefed him on the Tata-ICRISAT initiative. Mr Lala's appreciation was such that he agreed that the Sir Dorbaji Tata Trust would provide US$ 1 million for the project implementation in Dewas and Guna districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bundi district in eastern Rajasthan.

A multidisciplinary team of ICRISAT scientists, led by Dr SP Wani, will provide technical backstopping to NGO partners like Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation and Samaj Pragati Sahayog in Madhya Pradesh. Additional technical know-how will be provided by Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya and ICAR institutions like the Indian Institute of Soil Science, the Directorate of Soybean Research and the Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering.

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