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Icrisat Essay

9364 words - 37 pages

ABOUT ICRISATAs the sheer extent of human suffering caused by the poverty and hunger in developing countries became clear in the early 1970's, over 50 governments, foundations and international development banks formed a collaborative alliance to work for the alleviation of these afflictions through agricultural research for development. The informal network, established in 1972, became known as the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The CGIAR now includes 16 centers, most of which are located in the developing world.The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) was thefirst center created under the umbrella of the CGIAR. ICRISAT's headquarters are located in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The three regional hubs are located at Niamey (Niger), Nairobi (Kenya) and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe). The other locations are at Bamako (Mali), Kano (Nigeria), Lilongwe (Malawi) and Maputo (Mozambique). ICRISAT's vision is to improve the well-being of the poor who live in the semi-arid tropics. To achieve this it engages in partnership-based scientific research tailored to real human needs - specifically food security while safeguarding the environment. They call this Science with a Human Face.THE SEMI-ARID TROPICSThe agroecological region known collectively as the semi-arid tropics (SAT) spans five continents and almost 20 million square kilometers. It is home to one sixth of the world's population and over 300 million of the world's poorest people. The SAT is fragile eco-region characterized by unpredictable climate, low and erratic rainfall and limited soil fertility. Improving life in such a harsh farming environment - constantly vulnerable to drought and often threatened by land degradation - is a formidable challenge for the people who live there, most of whom are engaged in agriculture. These problems are exacerbated by poor infrastructure, increasing population pressure on already insufficient land and water resources, and irregular demand and production patterns.It is no wonder then that the SAT contains 45% of the world's hungry and 70% of its malnourished children.CHANGING LIVESAlthough the situation appears bleak, the problems are not insurmountable. Over the past 30 years ICRISAT and its partners have shown that targeted, long-term scientific research can offer solutions to the specific difficulties faced by the poor smallholder farmers of the SAT.Concentrating on its five mandate crops - sorghum and pearl millet (Cereals); and pigeonpea, groundnut and chickpea (legumes) - it has conducted research that has yielded palpable results. It tackles the problems by harnessing science to develop new technologies, and to formulate efficient soil and water management methods.They also identify diverse opportunities for income generation, promote partnership-based research and facilitate network and information exchange.PARTNERSHIPSICRISAT has always recognized that the key to effective, impact-oriented...

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