1. Agriculture World

ICRISAT’S 50th Anniversary Celebration Held in Malawi

Through several projects in Malawi and the rest of the world, ICRISAT has been a pioneer in piloting the scaling of farmer- and market-preferred drought-tolerant crop varieties by integrating public-private sector seed systems, an extension of advisory services, and climate and market information.

Shivam Dwivedi
ICRISAT’S 50th Anniversary Celebration, Malawi
ICRISAT’S 50th Anniversary Celebration, Malawi

Since its founding in March 1972, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has been celebrating 50 years of scientific innovation and impact in the drylands. The institute has held commemorative events in India and across its African centres, including Malawi.

Through several projects in Malawi and the rest of the world, ICRISAT has been a pioneer in piloting the scaling of farmer- and market-preferred drought-tolerant crop varieties by integrating public-private sector seed systems, an extension of advisory services, and climate and market information.

The institute has a long history of developing high-yielding, drought-tolerant crop varieties that are critical to smallholder farmers' livelihoods in the semi-arid tropics. Sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, groundnut, pigeon pea, and chickpea are some of ICRISAT's specialty crops that help millions of people across Africa achieve food security.

ICRISAT Director General, Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, spoke from Lilongwe and expressed her delight at being in Malawi to commemorate the historic occasion in the presence of the Institute's staff as well as local and national partners.

"As ICRISAT looks to the next 50 years, we are convinced that partnerships are the only way to address global challenges and develop the best local solutions," Dr. Hughes said.

She went on to say that ICRISAT's 50th anniversary worldwide, and 40th anniversary in Malawi, is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to overcoming the challenges that smallholder farming communities face in the future, not just a celebration of what the institute has accomplished thus far. ​

"While the world grapples with challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation, there remains one tragically constant for dryland farming communities, and that is food insecurity and hunger," said Dr. Jacqueline Hughes.

"ICRISAT will continue to serve as the global research leader to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and environmental degradation while making farming profitable, thanks to our deep expertise in dryland farming and recent scientific advances."

"We'll also supplement our scientific progress with new innovations and technology while working to influence good public policy – particularly with a focus on women and youth, who are critical to developing a more equitable and sustainable agricultural sector," Dr. Hughes concluded.

At ICRISAT's golden jubilee celebrations in Lilongwe, the Lobin Lowe, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, was joined by Dr. Jerome Nkhoma, who represented the guest of honour, the Honorable Lobin Lowe, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development.

ICRISAT Director General Dr. Lazarus Chakwera met with Malawi's President, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, to discuss agriculture and the impact of ICRISAT's scientific innovation in agri-food systems during her visit. Dr. Hughes' meeting with First Lady Monica Chakwera, who has worked with the Institute for nearly five years, was particularly memorable. ​

The meeting between Dr. Jacqueline Hughes and Dr. Joyce Banda, the former President of Malawi, focused on the link between productivity, women's empowerment, and a cropping systems approach that included livestock in the region. ​

The ICRISAT-Malawi partnership began in 1982, with a focus on groundnut improvement for the Southern African Development Community countries. Other dryland crops such as sorghum, millets, and pigeon pea have since been included in the research for development (R4D) programmes. For technology development and dissemination, ICRISAT collaborates with the Department of Agriculture Research Services (DARS) and the Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES), as well as several national and international partners, CGIAR centres, NGOs, development partners, and the private sector.

ICRISAT has recently led a number of successful multidisciplinary initiatives in Malawi, including:

  • Malawi Seed Industry Development Project (MISST) funded by Irish Aid, USAID through Feed the Future CLIM2 funded by the EU

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Tropical Legumes Projects (BMGF)

(Source: ICRISAT)

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters