9) ADB and ICRISAT partner in alleviating poverty through science

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is representing the research work of the international agricultural research institutes in the exhibition at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB) at Hyderabad.

On behalf of the 15 international agricultural research institutes under the Future Harvest Alliance of Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), ICRISAT has erected a booth at HITEX, the meeting venue. The booth displays the research work of the Future Harvest Centers to meet the Millennium Development Goals of reducing hunger and poverty, which includes ADB-funded ICRISAT projects to improve agriculture productivity in the semi-arid tropics (SAT).

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT and member of the Alliance Executive of the Future Harvest Centers, ADB's Board of Governors meeting at Hyderabad – where the international headquarters of ICRISAT is located – has given the opportunity for showcasing the impact of Bank's funding for agricultural research.

“The ADB is one of ICRISAT's most trusted donors,” said Dr Dar. “The two organizations have been partners in research and development in the Asian semi-arid tropics. The ADB has been a member of the CGIAR since 1971, and began funding ICRISAT projects from 1984.”

In the last two decades, ADB has supported several ICRISAT projects through Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) grants, which are in accordance with its own objectives: economic growth, reducing poverty, supporting human development, improving the status of women and protecting the environment. Thus ADB and ICRISAT have similar agendas.

Currently, ADB is funding an ICRISAT project for tackling land degradation in China, India, Vietnam and Thailand through participatory watershed management. The project focuses on consolidating the lessons and benefits of the project on Improving Management of Natural Resources for Sustainable Rainfed Agriculture and extending them to large areas in the eco-region.

The project evaluates various institutional, socioeconomic and technical models that work through sharing knowledge and strengthening on-farm participatory interactions. Reducing land degradation and improving soil quality sustains productivity, thereby increasing rural incomes of the people who depend on these fragile lands.

ADB's financial support to ICRISAT in the area of integrated watershed management has triggered investments by a number of other donors in India for scaling out the model developed with ADB assistance. ICRISAT's watershed projects also facilitate South-South collaboration between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa.

ICRISAT and ADB have a strong history of partnership. ICRISAT's state-of-the-art applied genomics facility has its roots in the biotechnology infrastructure established with ADB support. The Cereals and Legumes Asia Network (CLAN) is generously backed by ADB. CLAN supports and enhances technology exchange in Asia involving sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut, with a mission to improve crop production and productivity.

ADB also supported ICRISAT on projects strengthening grain legume research in Asia; legume based technologies for rice and wheat production systems in South and Southeast Asia; and rapid crop improvement through genetic marker technologies.

For further information, contact Dr S P Wani at s(dot)wani(at)cgiar(dot)org.

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