The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has marked the start of its 50th anniversary celebrations with an official visit by the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to its global headquarters in Hyderabad, India.
India has hosted the leading international Institute since its inception on 28th March 1972, as part of a global institutional framework to share scientific breakthroughs and innovations that help overcome poverty, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the harshest dryland regions of the world.
The Prime Minister was welcomed by ICRISAT’s Director General Dr Jaqueline Hughes, Governing Board Chair Professor Prabhu Pingali, Deputy Director General Research Dr Arvind Kumar and staff from across the Institute.
Prime Minister Modi was appraised of the Institute’s research into crop improvement, agri-food systems, seed production, gender empowerment and digital agriculture that are helping improve food security and nutrition for the world’s poorest communities.
Speaking at the celebration, Prime Minister Modi congratulated staff and scientists on the 50th milestone commended the innovations and research that the Institute has undertaken over the last half century to improve agriculture for smallholder farmers.
The Prime Minister highlighted ICRISAT’s work in supporting agri-food systems, citing water management in the Bundelkhand Region of India to the development of more climate-resilient grain varieties citing some examples, that were leading to better food security in the semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa.
He encouraged the Institute to keep advancing its research achievements and the international public goods it has delivered for half a century, by developing new targets for the next 25 years which would coincide with India’s 100th Year of Independence.
He underscored the Government’s commitment to smallholder farmers by connecting them to Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO’s) and online market places and applauded ICRISAT’s approach to digital agriculture.
In his closing remarks, Prime Minister Modi encouraged ICRISAT to continue working on biofuel research with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and agricultural universities with a focus on smallholder and dryland farmers.
The Prime Minister also reaffirmed the Government’s focus on supporting the development of more millets – a mandate crop of the Institute – especially in the lead up to the International Year of Millets in 2023 as a key pillar in enhancing nutritional security in India.
ICRISAT Director General Dr Jaqueline Hughes thanked Prime Minister Modi for his visit and applauded the Government for its enduring partnership and efforts in having the UN declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
Dr Hughes said she looked forward to collaborating with the Government on the Institute’s 50th celebrations in 2022 with a range of activities to be announced across ICRISAT locations in West, Central East and Southern Africa and India.