31) ICRISAT Governing Board commits to new significant research and science investments in Africa
Hyderabad, Telangana, India (25 September 2014) ─ The Governing Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has today made a decision to boost its research in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by investing US$ 5 million towards upgrading research infrastructure and building scientific skills on the African continent. ICRISAT is committed to improving food security, making smallholder farming profitable through an Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) approach, tackling malnutrition by focusing on more nutritious crops, and helping overcome environmental degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa. This investment will be across SSA where ICRISAT has its offices in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia.
“Food security is a major challenge at both the national and the household levels in SSA where many countries are below subsistence levels for calorific and protein intake levels per capita on a world basis. There is an acute urgency to identify the best means of harnessing the required resources to further advance the productivity of smallholder agriculture in SSA for greater self-reliance and resilience, particularly in light of climate change, and for increased participation in the market economy,” said ICRISAT Governing Board Chair Dr Chandra Madramootoo.
“On the positive side, GDP growth in many countries in SSA has been quite strong in recent years and there is a new generation of highly motivated and educated young Africans eager to meet the many developmental challenges of the continent. However, the challenge is to motivate youth to contribute to the goal of enhancing agricultural productivity and food and nutrition security. Our focus will also be on empowering women along the value chains,” said ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar.
With opportunities opening up in the CGIAR Research Programs and a strong donor focus on Africa, ICRISAT recognizes this as a critical time to step up its research focus in Africa. ICRISAT will leverage its strengths in the application of both basic and applied research, as well as technology transfer and outreach for improved production systems of its mandate crops – pearl millet, sorghum, pigeonpea, groundnut and chickpea. These new investments in science and research will provide opportunities for collaborative research with other CGIAR Institutes and national agencies for research and development and extension along the whole value chain.
ICRISAT will strengthen the whole value chain from land and water management to crop improvement and setting up of agri-business ventures. This new investment is built on top of the existing ICRISAT South-South Initiative and will also play an important role in the new investments and developments in Africa.
ICRISAT is a leading CGIAR research institute in the SSA with strong links with governments, universities, private sector and non-government organizations. ICRISAT will facilitate research integration with various international, regional and national organizations, by building synergistic relationships with its partners.
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