the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (icrisat), Hyderabad, has finally emerged from the state of limbo regarding its future. An expert committee has recently ruled that the research body has a "definite continuing role" to play, calling for a 'rethinking' on the strategic direction and rationalisation of the programme thrust of the institute.
The panel observed that icrisat had nearly 25 years of experience in developing improved technologies in semi-arid tropics, a harsh and challenging production zone. In fact, the crops that figure in icrisat's mandate are staple food forsome of the poorest people of the world. The institute has shown these crops to respond well to research and asserted that farmers can derive maximum benefits from such research.
The panel proposed that the 'new' icrisat, with its unique germplasm collections, would be focused in the fast evolving field of genetics, biotechnology and natural resource management in collaboration with national agricultural research institutes. icrisat is the only institution researching in crop technologies -- a pressing need for sustaining the poor, especially in Asia and Africa, who continue to depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
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