Important outcomes included identifying the critical need for aligning the centres’ research activities with the country’s priorities and planning for a similar meeting every year
At the invitation of the Government of India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, 16 International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs), including 10 CGIAR centres attended a meeting at ICRISAT Headquarters in Hyderabad, to update on their research activities in India and innovations in the pipeline.
Important outcomes included identifying the critical need for aligning the centres’ research activities with the country’s priorities and planning for a similar meeting every year in January/ February to synergise the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the IARCs’ research activities.
Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Government of India, who participated virtually, set the context of the meeting. In his concluding remarks, he expressed the need to ‘institutionalise’ the annual meeting to integrate knowledge from all the centres and plan effectively both for the short, medium and long-term research goals.
“Any knowledge, idea or practice useful to the farmer in India, should reach them as quickly as possible before the opportunity is lost. We need a sandbox environment to test new ideas/ knowledge and then quickly roll it out and find out how much it can be scaled out,” Manoj Ahuja.
Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Crops, Oil Seeds & Administration, CVO), DA&FW, who participated actively in the discussions, emphasised the need to build strong seed systems and facilitate easy accessibility of improved varieties to farmers. She said she was happy to be part of the ‘first common meeting’ of all the IARCs.
Temina Lalani-Shariff, Regional Director, South Asia, CGIAR, presented case studies on technologies developed by the One CGIAR for regions across India, which were appreciated by officials from DA&FW.
Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research ICRISAT, highlighted the many achievements of ICRISAT and its work across disciplines and across agriculture for the development value chain. He cited the example of soil and water conservation in Bundelkhand which caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and spoke of plans to out-scale to other regions.