6) ICRISAT Director General meets World Bank President (20 August 2005)

The Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Dr William Dar met the President of the World Bank, Mr Paul Wolfowitz, on 18 August, at Hyderabad. Dr Dar, who is also the Chair of the Alliance Executive of the Future Harvest Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), thanked Mr Wolfowitz for the World Bank support to the CGIAR and ICRISAT.

Dr Dar thanked the Bank for its unwavering support to research activities of the 15 Centers of the CGIAR, which in turn results in the improvement of the well being of the rural poor across the world. The Bank is investing US$ 50 million per year to the CGIAR system and such investment is very focused on the rural poor in most developing countries of the world.

Dr Dar introduced the CGIAR system as the best ever investment where the World Bank is involved. He thanked the support of the Bank through the CGIAR Chairperson, Dr Ian Johnson. The CGIAR headquarters is located in the World Bank office in Washington DC, and the Chairperson of the CGIAR, Dr Ian Johnson, is a Senior Vice-President of the Bank.

The CGIAR is a strategic alliance of countries, international and regional organizations, and private foundations supporting the 15 international agricultural Centers. The alliance mobilizes agricultural science to reduce poverty, foster human well-being, promote agricultural growth and protect the environment. ICRISAT is one of the 15 Centers that are part of the CGIAR.

At the meeting, Dr Dar mentioned ICRISAT's mission for alleviating poverty through improved dryland agriculture in 48 developing countries in the semi-arid tropics. This was followed by a mention about research on the five mandate crops, on social science research and on agro-ecosystem research.

Mr Wolfowitz wanted to know about ICRISAT's involvement in the amelioration of suffering caused by the famine in Niger, West Africa. Dr Dar informed him about ICRISAT's intervention through the development and sharing of cutting edge technologies such as seed systems, early maturing varieties, drought tolerant varieties, microdosing technology and crop diversification.

The Bank President wanted to know why this crisis in Niger was happening and whether this was predicted. Dr Dar explained that consecutive drought years and locust attacks were the major reasons for this crisis, and the possibility of such a crisis was forewarned by concerned agencies. There was a delay in the donor community responding to the appeals by the World Food Programme and the national government.

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy, who was present when Dr Dar met Mr Wolfowitz, complimented the outstanding work of ICRISAT to improve dryland agriculture in Andhra Pradesh.

Dr Dar invited Mr Wolfowitz to visit ICRISAT-Patancheru in his next visit to India. Dr Dar also met Mr Michael Carter the World Bank Country Director in India, who recalled his good memories of his visit to ICRISAT early last year.

The successful meeting between Dr Dar and Mr Wolfowitz was made possible through the efforts of Mr Mohan Kanda, Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and Governing Board Member of ICRISAT.

Mr Wolfowitz said that as a result of the meeting he is impressed that through the CGIAR the Bank is making a very good investment focused towards the improvement of the livelihoods of the rural poor. He added that he is encouraged to see the continuous success of the Centers in their mission to help the poor people in the developing countries.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.