24) ICRISAT stresses on partnership-based agricultural research-for-development on its 39th anniversary
(9 December 2011)

Hyderabad, India, 9 December 2011 – The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) celebrated its 39th Annual Day on 9 December at Patancheru highlighting purposeful partnership and market-oriented development as key in tackling poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the drylands.

ICRISAT strongly believes in the power of purposeful partnership. This year, the Research Partnership Award went to the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI)-Shenzhen (China), which along with ICRISAT recently led a global research team in cracking the pigeonpea genome sequence. The genome sequence is vital in accelerating breeding efforts, and will have enormous impact on the lives of millions who consider pigeonpea as the “poor people’s meat” because of its high protein content.

In his annual day message, ICRISAT Director General William D. Dar said, “The science that we do leads us to pursuing partnerships with purpose. We are proud to be the first Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Center to have completed the genome sequencing of pigeonpea through a global research partnership.”

Dr Dar added that “surmounting challenges such as rising food grain prices, climate change, energy crisis, food crisis, land degradation, and population explosion will not be possible unless we think out of the box, do quality science, and work in tandem with partners to exploit synergies to create impacts.”  He stressed that a dynamic strategy of connecting poor farmers to market, and innovations with a systems perspective are what will move forward the quest for a better livelihood for the forgotten poor in the drylands of Asia and Africa.

Appreciating their collaboration with ICRISAT, Prof Gengyun Zhang, Vice President, BGI-Life Sciences Division, Shenzhen (China) said, “We are very much pleased to have an ongoing collaboration with ICRISAT. Together with several international partners, ICRISAT and BGI cracked the pigeonpea genome. Now we are moving towards sequencing the chickpea genome. We would like to continue our collaboration with ICRISAT for the improvement of other important crops as well.”

ICRISAT’s prestigious Doreen Margaret Mashler Award went to the team of Suhas P Wani, KL Sahrawat, Girish Chander, K Krishnappa and K Anantha. The ICRISAT Science Awards were given away on the occasion with the Promising Young Scientist award going to Kaushal K Garg, and Outstanding Scientist award to KL Sahrawat. The Outstanding Scientific Support Team award went to the Sorghum Team in Samanko, Mali, while the Outstanding Partnership award was bagged by the chickpea team of Dr Pooran Gaur in Andhra Pradesh.

The day also saw the launch of the Village Dynamics in South Asia project website by Dr Dar. Earlier on 8 December, the Loyalty Day was celebrated with 123 employees from ICRISAT-Patancheru receiving loyalty awards for their dedicated service to ICRISAT.

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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