Newsroom  Press releases  2003

5) ICRISAT to maintain its headquarters in India (5 November 2003)

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will continue to maintain its headquarters at Patancheru in India, while enhancing its research activities and impact in sub-Saharan Africa. This was decided at the Annual General Meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) held at Nairobi, Kenya, in the last week of October.

According to ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar, the Institute has accepted the challenge to find a win-win scenario in enhancing its impact in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Asia with a sense of urgency. Concomitantly, it will continue investing more core resources in SSA while sustaining a response to its stakeholders in Asia.

ICRISAT is one of the 16 international agricultural research Institutes that are part of the CGIAR. The Executive Committee of the CGIAR has stated that maintaining ICRISAT's headquarters in India would be the most realistic move.

At Nairobi, it was also decided that a Task Force would be constituted by ICRISAT to suggest ways to enhance the Institute's research programs and management in SSA and Asia. The Task Force will be mandated to identify win-win strategies to enhance ICRISAT's structure and impact in SSA and Asia with a sense of urgency.

Further, it will need to map out a plan for a programmatic shift to focus in integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM) in SSA and upstream genetic resources enhancement in Asia.

In SSA, this would mean that the Task Force would need to find ways to foster dynamic interventions in SSA such as market-oriented production and value addition to link smallholder farmers, processors and traders to the market. The major thrusts will be to:

  • Encourage market-driven agriculture to alleviate poverty
  • Diversify farming systems to enhance livelihoods and ecosystems
  • Apply new science to scale up technologies for impact
  • Harness the power of modern information and communication technology

On the other hand, the focus in Asia will be on biotechnology and crop improvement. The focus will be on re-engineering and expanding the Institute's breeding program, while concentrating on the generation of biotech-assisted germplasm enhancement and new breeding methodologies.

The Task Force would also map out ways and means to ensure the impact of ICRISAT's increasing investment in SSA through regional priority setting and effective management with targets and timelines. It would critically assess CGIAR operations in SSA and indicate areas in which ICRISAT can integrate its programs with that of the other centers.

The decisions taken at the CGIAR's Nairobi meeting are a response to the recommendations made by the external program and management reviews for ICRISAT. Both panels complemented ICRISAT on its outstanding scientific achievements and human-oriented management practices.


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