Dr. Suhas P Wani, Director of ICRISAT Development Center at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has been honoured as one of ‘50 Most Impactful Leaders in Water & Water Management’. It was in recognition for Dr Wani’s years of dedication towards water conservation and management. He was honoured at the World Water Leadership Congress held in Mumbai.
With 35 years of service in ICRISAT, Dr. Wani was one of the early pioneers in watershed management in India.
“Earlier farm watersheds were implemented in different Indian states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and revisited in 1995-96 to assess the impact. Based on the learnings, except in the use of fertiliser and improved seeds, farmers did not continue other interventions such as soil and water conservation. In 1999, based on these experiences, a new model was developed for enabling community participation and evaluated at Adarsha Watershed in Kothapally,” Dr. Wani said.
Since then, Dr. Wani has led the field in the science of scaling-up and has made remarkable contributions to benefit millions of farmers in Asia, particularly in the area of sustainable agriculture for improving rural livelihoods.
He has been a catalyst, contributing to the creation of the Bhoochetana initiative in Karnataka, a strong partnership that reached 4.75 million farmers in five years, with a 20-66 per cent crop increase and total net benefits of US$ 350 million.
“I am delighted to receive this award, which I think is a great recognition to our efforts towards water management especially in the drylands where ICRISAT specialises. I would like to thank my colleagues at ICRISAT and our partner organisations for all the support and guidance,” said Dr. Wani after receiving the award.
Outside of India, Dr. Wani has helped thousands of farmers across several Asian countries including China, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Dr. Wani has published 526 research papers in national and international journals, books and conference proceedings.
He is also the recipient of several national and international awards including, National Groundwater Augmentation Award from Ministry of Water Resources, GoI; Gold medal from the Government of Vietnam for the improvement of agriculture and rural development in Vietnam, Fellowship from Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (YAAS), Kunming, China. In 2015, he received the Krishi Sanman Award by ABP Majha, Abhinav – Innovative Practices in Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) from the Ministry of Rural Development, GoI and the Asian CSR Leadership Award.
Dr. Wani currently heads the ICRISAT Development Center, which leverages large-scale uptake of science-backed technologies to achieve major impact in reducing poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation across Asia and Africa.