ICRISAT Highlights Challenges in the Tropical Drylands of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

6 April 2011: Speaking at the Crawford Fund State Parliamentary Conference held in Parliament House, Brisbane, Australia, on 6 April 2011, William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), addressed the need to tackle the challenges facing the tropical drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

In his address, he stressed the importance of agriculture in the tropical drylands and noted the similarities in climate between ICRISAT's mandate regions and Queensland's vast tracts of land. He listed converging pressures facing global agriculture, including climate variability and climate change, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, the food and energy crises, and growing populations. Highlighting the vulnerability of the poor to these pressures, he underscored the need to strengthen their resilience and livelihoods.

In concluding, Dar emphasized that there is reason for smallholder farmers to be optimistic about the future, noting the opportunities for climate change adaptation in the tropical drylands. He also called for investing in research for development so that farmers gain access to these improved management inputs and to options for a more profitable agriculture in order to increase the resilience of smallholder farmers. ICRISAT is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [ICRISAT Press Release]