Private sector partnering on crops for the poorest of the poor uri icon


  • The International Crops Research Institute for theSemi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has a mandate toimprove the livelihoods of the poor in the semiaridtropical (SAT) regions of Sub-Saharan Africaand Asia, which is home to 550 million poorpeople. Sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpeaand groundnut are the staple food crops inthe SAT, often grown on marginal lands with poorsoil fertility and erratic rainfall. Dryland farmers arephysically, economically and politically vulnerableand need to be empowered to enhance theirincome and livelihoods. Seed-based technologies(high-yielding and adapted cultivars) are thecheapest and easiest to be adopted by poorfarmers, and often serve as catalysts for adoptionof inputs such as fertiliser, pesticides and goodcrop management practices. ICRISAT partnerswith public- and private-sector institutions toensure that seeds of improved varieties andhybrids are available to poor farmers at anaffordable price and at the right time and place.As a public-sector institution, ICRISAT developsimproved varieties and hybrid parents. Privatesector(PS) partners test, multiply and marketpromising hybrids through their well-establishedmarket linkages in the rural areas. ICRISAT haspartnered with more than 50 seed companies inIndia, Indonesia, Egypt, Mexico and Brazil througha novel consortium approach to deliver its researchproducts (improved hybrids and varieties)to poor farmers through public?private partnerships.Some PS partners, who have their ownresearch programs, also benefit by accessing prereleasebreeding material. This approach exploitscomplementary expertise and resources, andgenerates synergies between international agriculturalresearch centres (IARCs) and the PS indevelopment and marketing seed of improvedcultivars, without compromising the globalresearch agenda in delivering international publicgoods (IPGs)

publication date

  • 2009