Dr Paco Sereme, the Chair of ICRISAT Board’s Program Committee, will take over as the new Chair of its Governing Board in October this year. A plant pathologist and a national of Burkina Faso, Dr Sereme is Research Director in Plant Pathology at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Burkina Faso (INERA), and a former Executive Director of CORAF/WECARD (West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development), both very influential positions. Dr Sereme has made significant contributions to agriculture research and is credited with building strong relations with many institutions to transform agriculture in West and Central Africa.
Dr Sereme will take over from Dr Nigel Kerby MBE, the outgoing Chair of ICRISAT’s Governing Board (GB). Dr Kerby, who was Chair from May 2017, has been very passionate about the institution’s mission and its goal to serve people in the dryland tropics. During his tenure, he pushed for global partnerships and funding for the institution leading to increased research and partnership opportunities. A major achievement of Dr Kerby was getting the CGIAR Research Program – Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals initiated. At the inception of the GLDC program, Dr Kerby highlighted the importance of partnerships. “Fighting malnutrition at scale is complex and needs an understanding of local opportunities and an understanding of constraints and possible solutions,” he said. “Above all, it requires enduring partnerships. I believe partnerships are being strengthened and new ones being forged to help ICRISAT realize its potential. I wish ICRISAT and its stakeholders every success in the future.”
Speaking of Dr Kerby’s contribution and vision, Dr Peter Carberry, Director General (Acting), ICRISAT, says, “Dr Nigel Kerby brought to the ICRISAT Governing Board a wealth of experience in last mile connection between research and practice, especially through private sector drivers for commercial uptake of technology. Nigel always asked for research targets and the business case for investment. Such thinking must drive ICRISAT’s agenda of demand-driven research. I am personally indebted to Nigel for his mentorship and guidance over the time he was Chair of the GB and I acted as Director General.”
Dr Shobhana K Pattanayak, ICRISAT GB member, notes, “Though a short tenure, Dr Nigel Kerby as Chair guided us very well on many sensitive issues, carried every member along into confidence in all deliberations. We miss him as the Chair, but hope that he will continue with his skillful advice to the institution in future. I take this opportunity to welcome Dr Paco Sereme as the new Chair. His long experience in development of African agriculture would definitely prove handy in managing research activities of ICRISAT. I wish him good luck.”
At the ICRISAT GB meeting in September 2018, Board members will formally thank Dr Kerby for his contribution during his tenure.