25) Legislators Study ICRISAT's Water-Harvesting Strategies (June 2000)

"The research at ICRISAT is particularly useful to small and medium farmers. We will emphasize this in our report." So said Mr Govardhan Reddy, MLA, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Public Accounts of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, who visited ICRISAT today to study the Institute's strategies to manage watersheds. The team of 6 Telugu Desam Party MLAs and 4 Indian National Congress MLAs were accompanied by senior officials from the State Agriculture Department, and the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad.

The visitors were welcomed by Dr William D Dar, Director General, ICRISAT, who gave them an overview of the Institute's mission of Science with a Human Face. Dr Dar focused on ICRISAT's research agenda for the "slaves of poverty and hunger" -- the 300 million people who constitute the poorest of the poor of the semi-arid tropics.

After the DG's presentation the Honorable Members were given an overview of biotechnology research at ICRISAT on developing disease and drought resistance in groundnut and pearl millet. Thereafter they visited ICRISAT's Genebank which conserves and characterizes 113 500 accessions (samples) of the ICRISAT mandate crops: sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, and groundnut.

The visitors then got first-hand knowledge of ICRISAT's watershed management research. Dr S P Wani, Coordinator, Watershed Project, gave details of the Institute's two-decade-old experiments in integrated watershed management, including the current work in Kothapally, Ranga Reddy district, AP, in partnership with NARS and NGOs. A bullock-drawn Tropicultor was also demonstrated. The visiting dignitaries evinced keen interest in all this information.

Finally, Mr D S Bisht, Leader, Farm and Engineering Services took the distinguished visitors on a tour of a water-harvesting tank to explain how rainwater is conserved and used at ICRISAT-Patancheru. "You are doing excellent work here", Mr Govardhan Reddy concluded.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.