01) International conference to improve nutrition and health

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) participated in the IFPRI 2020 international conference from 10–12 February 2011, New Delhi on Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health, organized by The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). ICRISAT and IFPRI belong to the Consortium of Centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

More than 900 delegates are participating in this two-day global conference, which was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The event will feature over 150 leading figures from agriculture, nutrition, health, and other related sectors in 5 plenary sessions and 15 parallel sessions. These sessions will serve as a venue for over 900 conference participants to interact together and develop solutions to address global food, nutrition and health challenges.

Speaking at the conference, ICRISAT Director General William Dar said, “We have up scaled high yielding varieties of groundnut which are tolerant to aflatoxin and developed a low cost testing kit to strengthen local capacity for aflatoxin monitoring in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Here at this IFPRI 2020 conference, we along with our partners, join hands to eradicate global hunger and malnutrition.”

Aflatoxins are poisonous by-products produced from two types of fungi and are among the most carcinogenic substances in human food.

Benefiting thousands of farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, ICRISAT’s research has resulted in the production of aflatoxin-free food and enhanced regional and international trade opportunities. ICRISAT, through its various innovations done through purposeful partnerships following an Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) approach, helps provide food, income and nutritional security to smallholder farm families of the drylands tropics.

Explaining ICRISAT’s work, Dr Dar said, “Our work with the National Smallholder Farmer Association of Malawi (NASFAM) that has over 108,000 members provides agricultural advisory services for groundnut production and assures a market for farmers’ produce. Through NASFAM, farmers have access to improved technologies of ICRISAT by participating in on-farm trials and demonstrations.” ICRISAT’s work on aflatoxin has enabled groundnut farmers in Malawi to re-enter the world market.

Human nutrition is one of six developmental outcomes in ICRISAT’s new strategy to 2020, aiming for the consumption of more nutritious and balanced diets by smallholder households in the dryland tropics.

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