Int’l crop agency to honor former Agri chief

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Former Agriculture Secretary William Dar will be honored by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in Patancheru, India, for his achievements as its Director General for an unprecedented three five-year terms, from 2000 to 2014.

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In his honor, a new facility at ICRISAT housing the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) will be named after him.

“In recognition of all your achievements as Director General, and particularly for your vision in the creation of Inclusive Market Oriented Development, the Institute has decided that the building housing the Agribusiness Innovation Platform (AIP) will bear your name,” said Chandra Madramootoo, chairperson of the ICRISAT governing board, in a letter inviting Dar to attend the facility’s unveiling ceremony.

Dr. Dar, with wife Beatriz, will witness the unveiling of a plaque with his name, at the AIP building today (February 17), at the ICRISAT headquarters, in Patancheru, India.

“On behalf of ICRISAT, the Institute will be honoring your 15 years of outstanding and dedicated service to the organization, while you were Director General. You moved the Institute to the forefront in all aspects of science, research and financial sustainability. Through your leadership, the Institute significantly enhanced its research prowess to improving the livelihoods of the small farmers and their families in the semi-arid tropics,” Madramootoo noted.

“You also had the foresight to advance the mission of the Institute towards Inclusive Oriented Market Development, thereby pushing the results of the research towards new business opportunities and income generation for the rural poor,” he added.

Two months ago, President Rodrigo Duterte honored Dar and two others as The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) awardees for 2016, for their “exemplary achievements and selfless dedication to their profession or vocation that resulted not only to the advancement of their respective fields of endeavor, but also made significant contributions to the betterment of our countrymen and to our country at large.”

A native of Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, Dar is the only Filipino who has served as head of a global agricultural research institute. He turned around ICRISAT into a financially-stable, leading global research institute, receiving several awards particularly from the CGIAR, a consortium of 15 international agricultural research institutes. Through his leadership, he quadrupled the income and investments poured into ICRISAT, from $21 million in 2000 to $85 million in 2014.

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