22) South-South partnership key to fighting poverty in the drylands (25 November 2011)

World Ag Forum2011 to address India-Africa partnership to meet food demands and improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics

Hyderabad, India, 25 November 2011–The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will lead representatives from world agriculture organizations in a discussion on South-South collaboration to fight poverty in the drylands tropics.

At the World Agricultural Forum (WAF) 2011 congress, taking place in Brussels on 28 November-
1 December, a session on “The Role of South-South Partnerships” will address opportunities to boost collaboration between India and Africa. It will focus on finding new ways to feed the growing global population, and in improving the livelihoods of marginalized, resource-poor smallholder farmers particularly in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

“We believe that South-South partnership is the key to solving hunger and poverty and in stimulating a greener, more productive drylands,” says Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT and moderator of the WAF session on South-South partnerships in the afternoon of 30 November.

Dr Dar adds, “We intend to explore the synergy and leverage of India and Africa working together and putting greater investment and involvement in agricultural development. Small farmers need more attention and resources to succeed. We will pursue Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to increase investments in agriculture from leaders in India and Africa as well as from funders and partners in the developed world. We are also looking for ways by which PPP can make a difference – whether by doing research, developing products, or opening up new markets that will benefit smallholder farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.”

Dr Nigel Poole, Chairman of the ICRISAT Governing Board and lead organizer/panelist of the session, stresses that “South-South collaboration will build upon the already strong and successful India-Africa partnership to scale up their respective roles as driver of prosperity and economic opportunities in the dryland tropics.”

“India shares similar poverty and infrastructure issues with Africa, so when successful solutions are found they need to be transferred if we really want to implement change. Reaching out to the rural poor of India and Africa with our research and technologies is a key challenge,” adds Dr Poole.

During the session, Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General for Research, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will speak on success and innovation in Indian agriculture that may be applied to developing countries in Africa. On the other hand, Dr Said Silim, Director of ICRISAT- Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region will highlight agricultural research-for-development success stories such as improved pigeonpea varieties, meeting markets for sorghum, groundnuts for export, integrated watershed management, and PPP to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods.

The four-day WAF congress entitled “Rethinking Agriculture to sustain a growing global population” is being organized by the non-profit World Agricultural Forum (WAF). WAF congresses have a unique record of bringing together speakers and delegates from all walks of life in a neutral environment. Global leaders from the business, political, diplomatic, NGO and academic worlds will be present to think and debate how things can be done differently to improve global food security.  As always many delegates will have strong opinions.  But being impartial, the Congress is open to all ideas and shades of opinion.

Please visit www.icrisat.org for information about ICRISAT, and http://www.worldagriculturalforum2011 for information about the WAF congress.

For media enquiries, contact: Showkat Nabi Rather, Senior Media Officer, +91 40 3071 3187, R(dot)Showkat(at)cgiar(dot)org.
or Cristina P Bejosano, Head, Science Writing and Media Relations, Tel: +91 40 30713236, C(dot)Bejosano(at)cgiar(dot)org
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