International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics ICRISAT

Science with a human face

… ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi-arid tropics has over 2 billion people, and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these poor people to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agriculture … (full text about us).

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Strategic Plan to 2020: Ending pessimism in the tropical drylands: Dryland agriculture has long been viewed with pessimism and hopelessness. 

Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and dependent on external aid. ICRISAT challenges this pessimistic view. Working with diverse partners in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa for almost four decades, ICRISAT has found that dryland farmers are ingenious and resourceful. By applying scientific innovations backed up with adequate policy, marketing and other support services, they are able to increase their crop productivity and incomes by several-fold, while improving the resilience of their lands and livelihoods. Hence, prosperity can be brought about in the tropical drylands. Hope should reign instead of pessimism. This is the overarching theme of ICRISAT’s new strategic plan for the next decade.

Vision, mission and approach:

  • ICRISAT envisions “a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics.” This will be relentlessly pursued through its mission, which is to “reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics.”
  • To achieve the foregoing, ICRISAT will adopt a partnership-based international agricultural research-for-development approach embodying science with a human face.

Aspirational targets:

ICRISAT and its partners have set four bold targets to 2020 that will enormously benefit the well-being of the dryland’s poorest people

  • Help halve rural poverty by increasing farm incomes through more productive, stable, diverse and profitable crops and crop products,
  • Help halve hunger by contributing innovations that increase yields by 30% on a wide scale and through policy advice that stabilizes food prices and availability,
  • Help halve childhood malnutrition by enhancing the nutrient content of staple food crops and helping the poor diversify their crops, delivering more nutritious and safer food, and
  • Increase resilience of dryland farming through innovations that stabilize, safeguard and enhance natural resource capital, biological and systems diversity, and land health.

Inclusive market-oriented development:

For a long time, dryland farm families have been marginalized out of the development loop. An inclusive (broad-based) strategy puts them into the mainstream to participate and reap the benefits of development. Moreover, an inclusive strategy will enable the poor, particularly women and the youth/children, to participate, rather than be sidelined, in the development process … (full long text).

Link: Ruppert Sheldrake’s Website.

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