11) ICRISAT maps out vision and strategy to 2015

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has mapped out a new v ision and strategy to 2015 for the improved well-being of the poor of the semi-arid tropics (SAT) in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The new vision and strategy is aligned to the new systemwide priorities of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the network of 15 international agricultural research institutes. It takes into account the emergence of the Future Harvest Alliance as the third pillar of the CGIAR to enhance effectiveness and efficiency through collective action. It also aims at achieving the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, with its primary objective of halving the number of poor and hungry by 2015.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the new vision and strategy fine-tunes the research-for-development strengths of the Institute within the framework of the changing global scenario in the coming decade.

“With ICRISAT being at the apex of global agricultural research for the SAT, we are sensitive to the need for delivering high-impact research products that will improve livelihoods by increasing agricultural productivity,” Dr Dar said.

ICRISAT's Governing Board approved the vision and strategy document recently, and the Institute's management has started work on implementing its objectives.

The document articulates ICRISAT's vision as “Improved well-being of the poor of the semi-arid tropics.” The mission is “To reduce poverty, enhance food and nutritional security and protect the environment of the SAT by helping empower the poor through science with a human face.”

While the goal is to mobilize cutting edge science and institutional innovations with partners, this will be through integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM). The document states: “ICRISAT adopts integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM) as its overarching research strategy to attain scientific excellence and relevance in agriculture in the semi-arid tropics.”

IGNRM maximizes the synergies among the disciplines of biotechnology, plant breeding, agronomy, agro-ecosystems and social sciences with people empowerment at its core. Through these synergies, ICRISAT will be strategically positioned to act regionally and yet produce high-impact international public goods.

ICRISAT's new vision and strategy is anchored on concrete action built around five new CGIAR systemwide research priorities. They are:

ICRISAT's new vision and strategy is anchored on concrete action built around five new CGIAR systemwide research priorities. They are:

  • Sustaining biodiversity for current and future generations.

  • Producing more and better food at lower cost through genetic improvements.

  • Reducing rural poverty through agricultural diversification and emerging opportunities for high-value commodities and products.

  • Promoting poverty alleviation and sustainable management of water, land and water resources.

  • Improving policies and facilitating institutional innovation to support sustainable reduction of poverty and hunger.

The document envisions ICRISAT strengthening linkages with a wide range of strategic partners including the Future Harvest Alliance, advanced research institutes, regional and sub-regional organizations, national agricultural research systems, the private sector and the civil society organizations. ICRISAT will intensity innovative public-private partnerships through its Agri-Science Park.

Partnerships will also strengthen ICRISAT's strategy for knowledge sharing, which will be aligned to CGIAR's priority on facilitating institutional innovations to support sustainable reduction of poverty and hunger. The ICRISAT-led Virtual Academy for the Semi-Arid Tropics will strengthen the knowledge linkages with diverse partners.

ICRISAT will be implementing the vision and strategy through a series of medium term plans, the first one of which has been prepared for 2007-2009.

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