At the recently concluded ICRISAT Governing Board Meeting (9–12 April 2019) the spotlight was on the need to build the right narratives, grow and nurture partnerships and achieve research goals to fulfil our mission to smallholder farmers in the drylands.
At the Program Committee Meeting of the Governing Board, Board members endorsed the progress made by ICRISAT in delivery of science and innovation in agriculture. They shared some valuable insights on the future course of action for the institution.
Dr Wendy Umberger, Chair, Program Committee, emphasized the importance of linking the work done under different projects to the overall strategy of ICRISAT for the forthcoming years.
Dr Paco Sereme, Chair, ICRISAT Governing Board, stated that it was now time to better position the significant scientific work done by ICRISAT over the decades.
Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, listed ‘10 Actions’ from the perspective of the CGIAR 2019-2021 Business Plan, to achieve outcomes ranging from fruitful implementation of CGIAR’s research portfolio to better gender diversity in the workforce and more effective funding. He talked about several special initiatives related to sustainable landscapes, public health, food availability, and employment and growth for youth, among others.
Dr Kiran Sharma, Deputy Director General-Research, presented the highlights of ICRISAT’s biennial Global Planning Meeting and key actions, along with feedback received. He updated the Board on the progress of the Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals CRP. Emphasizing the collaboration between CGIAR centers, he highlighted the successful launch of the AVISA (Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa) project to modernize crop improvement programs.
Talking about ICRISAT’s substantial success in promoting digital agriculture, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) Director-General and Board Vice-Chair, asserted that specific targets and timelines were important in science, and especially in digital strategies. He also talked about the need to closely associate with NARS partners.
Dr Rachel Chikwamba asked for a better focus on ICRISAT’s narrative with respect to its goals.
The overarching note throughout the meeting was that ICRISAT is poised to play a significant and proactive role in CGIAR’s new initiatives to make an impact on sustainable development across the globe, especially in the drylands.