Bill Gates receiving the ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill plaque from Dr William Dar, ICRISAT director general (Photo credit: Prashant Panjiar
With food insecurity and malnutrition persisting as the greatest challenges facing humanity in the coming decades, Mr Bill Gates, on a recent visit to the organization's Hyderabad headquarters acknowledged the potential of ICRISAT's works on grain legumes and dryland cereals in helping millions of smallholders farmers in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa lift themselves out of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Mr Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquarters in Patancheru, Hyderabad on Thursday, 30 May. This was Mr Gates' first visit to this Institute where he held discussions with the management and several key scientists to gain a better appreciation of the foundation's research for development investments to ICRISAT.
"ICRISAT crops are great , as they target millions of smallholder farmers globally," said Mr Gates. The tour highlighted the uniqueness and importance of the works and initiatives of ICRISAT and its partners, particularly in providing modern crop improvement technologies and best management practices on once 'orphan' or neglected crops like grain legumes and dryland cereals.
"That was cool!" was how Mr Gates reacted on ICRISAT's lysimeter facility for phenotyping, a first of its kind in the world and the largest within the CGIAR system. The facility is now being successfully used for measuring plant responses to water stress related to drought and climate change adaptation
"The drylands are home to 644 million poorest of the poor, and highly nutritious, drought-tolerant crops such as grain legumes and dryland cereals are the best bets for smallholder farmers in these marginal environments to survive and improve their livelihoods," explains Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General.