‘ICRISAT’ Hope for Farmers in Drylands: Dr Adesina

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HyderabadSept 24: “ICRISAT represents the best hope of farmers in the semi-arid tropics, crucial for the economic prosperity and food and nutritional security of the dryland poor,” says Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina.

In his keynote address delivered at the 40th Anniversary Science Symposium of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) held this morning in its Patancheru campus, the Minister acknowledged ICRISAT’s relentless passion in helping Africa and the developing world through its 40 years of research-for-development work that has left footprints of success globally.

With groundnut remaining an important crop for resource-poor farmers in Nigeria, Minister Adesina announced the launch of a significant three-year collaborative partnership program between ICRISAT and Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture to bring back his country’s lost glory as a leading groundnut exporter. The program, he said, hopes to replicate ICRISAT’s success in Malawi in re-entering the European groundnut export markets through low-cost aflatoxin test kits, in reviving Nigeria’s groundnut pyramid.

Minister Adesina also encouraged donors to continue to strongly support the Institute, stating that investing in ICRISAT has a high payoff. He cited ICRISAT’s research work that made semi-arid Ethiopia a major exporter of chickpeas, revolutionalized food production through large-seeded pigeonpea varieties in Tanzania, improved yields through disease-resistant groundnut in Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique, and has helped farmers across Africa’s semi-arid tropics through the innovation, fertilizer microdosing.

Dr Robert Bertram of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Food Security stated his excitement to see Nigeria’s passion and focus on public-private partnerships and noted the potential for ICRISAT to play its role in these transformative approaches.

ICRISAT Director General William Dar expressed commitment to collaborate with Nigeria in increasing productivity and sustainability of groundnut- and sorghum-based systems in the country.

“In India, ICRISAT stands for global hope of transformation of subsistence farming to economically viable prosperous farming,” says Dr SK Datta, Deputy Director General (Crop Science) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

From Syngenta Foundation, Executive Director Marco Ferroninoted that the Minister was right on the mark in highlighting “the role of the government as facilitator of public-private investment in agriculture, the most powerful path to food security and poverty reduction.”

“We are delighted by the significant support from Nigeria and the kind words by some of our key partners,” says Dr Nigel Poole, ICRISAT Board Chair.

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