A five-year plan for Indian agricultural research was finalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between one of the largest national agricultural research, education and extension systems in the world, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). This plan will focus on technologies especially suited to harsh conditions of the drylands, covering grain legumes and dryland cereals – groundnut, chickpea, pigeonpea, finger and pearl millet and sorghum.
The MoA representing action plans for 2019 to 2023 was signed by Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General ICAR, and Dr. Peter Carberry, Director General of ICRISAT.
The DGs of both organisations highlighted the longstanding partnerships between ICRISAT and ICAR and emphasised convergence on mutually enriching collaborations to evolve, lead and innovate in agricultural technologies. “I value the ICAR-ICRISAT partnership greatly in the interest of farming communities of India,” said Dr Mohapatra, adding that this would help adapt to the changing agriculture landscape in India as well as contribute towards the country priority of doubling farmers’ income.
Speaking on the partnership, Dr Carberry said, “This is a significant event for our work in India. Our science teams in ICRISAT have worked hard to develop these plans with support from ICAR partners. These collaborations are critical to deliver on our mission to improve livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers across Asia and African drylands”.
The two organisations work together towards creative disruptions by thinking outside the box of existing paradigms. This requires maximising impact of existing technologies and generating new ones to increase efficiency of dryland agriculture production systems. Key projects include – improved crop varieties, new breeding and enabling technologies, and systems and modeling tools for better farm systems and nutrition-sensitive agriculture value chains.
ICRISAT and ICAR have a long-standing partnership of several decades, collaborating on agriculture research agenda. The science at ICRISAT is guided by the needs and priorities of the country that is set by the national agriculture research programme.