13) ICRISAT celebrates 40 years
Inclusive agriculture needed for food security in the dryland tropics (26 September 2012)

Hyderabad, India, 26 September 2012 – “Inclusive agriculture is the key to winning the fight against poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the dryland tropics of the world,” says Professor MS Swaminathan, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), India and Chairman, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.

In his talk as Chief Guest at the 40th Anniversary Program of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) held this morning in its Patancheru campus, Prof Swaminathan highlighted the need for inclusiveness to empower the farming poor. By giving smallholder farmers access to technologies and connecting them to markets, they will have options for a more profitable and resilient agriculture towards achieving food, nutrition and economic security.

Prof. Swaminathan also recognized ICRISAT’s four decades of commitment and dedicated service to the most underprivileged sector of the world – the poor in the dryland tropics. Among the challenges he posed to the Institute are: crop biofortification to combat the ‘hidden hunger’ or malnutrition due to micronutrient deficiencies prevailing in the developing world; and appropriate mechanization to help resource poor farmers, particularly women, in ensuring the economic viability of small-farm operations.

Prof. Swaminathan also raised the important role of science communication to inform, educate and mobilize the public on the importance of such technologies as agri-biotechnology in the fight against poverty and hunger, and the decision makers to come up with supportive policies. Prof. Swaminathan is known as Father of India’s Green Revolution, and was one of the architects of ICRISAT’s creation.

“Andhra Pradesh is proud to host ICRISAT, an international institution that has brought smiles to millions of poor farmers,” says Ms. Minnie Matthew, Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and ICRISAT Board Member in her message during the program. She thanked the Institution on behalf of the small, marginal countless partners across the globe for generating transformational and sustainable technologies that have benefited farm families in the drylands.

Dr Nigel Poole, ICRISAT Board Chair, highlighted the Institute’s science-based and sustainable innovations which have greatly improved rural livelihoods, contributing to the CGIAR’s high return of $17 for every dollar invested. He stressed that this impact is due, in no small part to the Institute’s strategic public, private and civil society partners worldwide.

In his annual day report, ICRISAT Director General William Dar said that ICRISAT’s 40-year journey was “marked by the exploration of opportunities for inclusive and sustainable development to finally surmount the twin challenges of global hunger and poverty in the dryland tropics.” He added that the way to enhance “our relevance is through excellence in our science and in our ability to influence policies and markets.”

During the annual day program, ICRISAT’s prestigious Doreen Margaret Mashler Award was awarded to Dr CLL Gowda. Research Partnership Awards were also given to seven key NARS partners, notably the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Other recognitions such as the Resource Mobilizer Award, ICRISAT Science Award and Outstanding Partnership Award were also given during the occasion.

With the theme “A journey to prosperity in the dryland tropics,” the week-long celebration began with a science symposium on Monday attended by about 100 international agriculture experts, partners and scientists, and a Loyalty Day program on Tuesday to honor staff for their dedicated service to the Institute. ICRISAT’s 67th Governing Board meeting will also be held later this week as part of the anniversary celebrations.

For more information about ICRISAT, please contact Dr William D Dar, Director General, ICRISAT
(w(dot)dar(at)cgiar(dot)org, +91 40 30713223), or visit www.icrisat.org.

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