9) ICRISAT Director General gets a third term in office

The Governing Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has appointed Director General, Dr William D Dar, for a third five-year term in office. Dr Dar will continue as the Director General of ICRISAT from January 2010 to December 2014.

Recommending an unprecedented third term for Dr Dar, the ICRISAT Governing Board stated that the members are “ unanimous and requests William D Dar to sign a further contract for 5 years as the Director General of ICRISAT from January 2010 to December 2014.”

Assessing Dr Dar’s performance for 2008, the Board report stated that “the view of the GB is that the DG had another most successful year. It recognized the continuing high morale of Team ICRISAT. The higher than anticipated growth in revenues and the budget surplus are impressive. The GB highly commended the DG for the great success of 2008, excellent performance, strong leadership and big achievements in the last 9 years.”

Accepting the Governing Board’s offer, Dr Dar said that the third term gives him the opportunity to continue his work of leading a world-class team that delivers high-quality science research products that improve the livelihood of the poor dryland farmers and to grow the institute to the next level.

“As the leading international dryland agricultural research institute, ICRISAT has improved the productivity of nutritious dryland crops that help sustain the lives of the poor farmers. By helping the farmers to overcome current risks we enable them to climate-proof their agricultural systems for the future,” Dr Dar said.

Dr Dar joined ICRISAT as the Director General in January 2000. His first five-year term was renewed for a further period of five years from January 2005 to December 2009.

During the past 10 years, Dr Dar led ICRISAT through scientific and financial achievements, winning the Institute two consecutive ‘Outstanding’ ratings (for 2006 and 2007) from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the World Bank.

ICRISAT also received positive reports from two External Program and Management Reviews (EPMRs), held in 2003 and 2009.

The EPMR of 2009 had noted: “ICRISAT today is a thriving research institute with a strong leadership and with a unique capacity to address poverty alleviation, food security, and natural resource protection in the semi-arid tropics.”

Further, the EPMR report added: “The current DG has been effective in stabilizing and growing ICRISAT’s financial security, building a strong management team and meeting the center’s scientific mandates.”

ICRISAT achieved scientific breakthroughs under Dr Dar’s leadership. The world’s first pigeonpea hybrid through the cytoplasmic male sterility system was launched in 2007. Also in 2007 was the launch of commercial production of ethanol from sweet sorghum, initiated through collaboration between ICRISAT and Rusni Distilleries. The world’s first pearl millet hybrid, developed through molecular marker-assisted selection and breeding, was launched in 2005.

In sub-Saharan Africa, ICRISAT promoted pigeonpea cultivation, strengthened seed systems, improved nutrient utilization and productivity through fertilizer microdosing, and diversified agricultural systems through African Market Gardens.

During Dr Dar’s tenure, ICRISAT’s annual budget doubled from US$ 24.6 million in 2003 to US$ 50.5 million in 2008. Likewise, ICRISAT achieved budget surplus from 2003 to 2008 through intensive resource mobilization activities and sound financial management.

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