Newsroom  Press releases  2002

11) ICRISAT's New Vision: Agricultural Research for Impact, 28 April, 2002

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid tropics (ICRISAT) has a direct focus on the world's poorest people. The 'SAT' part of the institute's acronym is significant. The semi-arid tropics of the world are home to 38% of all poor people living in developing countries. Of these, 75% live in rural areas. The SAT also contains over 45% of world's hungry and more than 70% of the world's malnourished children. Despite remarkable advances in agricultural research, poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition remain primary issues throughout the SAT. And since agriculture will continue to be the backbone of SAT economies, including that of India, in the foreseeable future – productivity gains are essential to achieve food security, poverty alleviation and the economic viability of agriculture.

ICRISAT's Vision and Strategy to 2010 is geared to deal with challenges and issues of the SAT. It is a long-term, people-oriented approach by problem-based, impact-driven science with effective delivery systems that focuses on Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. “We need to be relevant. The science we do must impact on the poor people/farmers in the SAT,” says Dr William D Dar, the Director General of ICRISAT.

ICRISAT will address these challenges by:

  • Enhancing productivity, quality and use of SAT crops
  • Effectively managing SAT – a fragile and risk-prone environment
  • Diversifying income-generating options and commercialization of SAT crops

The agricultural research milieu has changed dramatically during the last 20 years. One of the trends has been a gradual shift away from ODA (overseas development assistance) from the developed countries towards the private sector.

Another important shift has been towards environmental considerations over the problems of basic agriculture.

ICRISAT, keeping these factors in mind, is working towards strengthened and diversified partnerships – including the private sector – for greater impact. The institute also recognizes that productivity increases can be achieved through genetic and natural resource management and delivery systems.

ICRISAT's research strategy is founded on six global themes, which focus on problem-based, impact-driven regional and local projects. They are:

  • Harnessing biotechnology for the poor
  • Crop management and utilization for food security and health
  • Water, soil, and agro-biodiversity management for ecosystem health
  • Sustainable seed supply systems for productivity
  • Enhancing crop-livestock productivity and systems diversification
  • SAT futures and development pathways

ICRISAT is one of Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR's) 16 centers and is known as a Future Harvest Centres.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.