Top scientist coming home


The only Filipino to date who has served as head of a global agricultural research institute relinquishes his post after an unprecedented three five-year terms—leaving behind a legacy benefiting millions of farmers in India, Africa and other dry-land countries in the world, including the Philippines.

Dr. William Dollente Dar, 61, from Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, has transformed International Crops Research Institute for the India-based Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) into one of the best agricultural research institutes in the world in terms of innovative research programs, impact to clienteles and financial health and stability.

Through his strong and transformative leadership and astute governance, Dar has quadrupled the income and investments poured into Icrisat since he took over in 2000, from $21 million to $ 85 million as of 2014.

“We have turned around Icrisat into a financially-stable, and a leading global research institute, receiving several awards particularly from the CGIAR,” said Dar, who served as Philippine Agriculture secretary from July 1998 to May 1999.

CGIAR is a consortium of 15 research institutes in the world that also include the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna.

With the innovative research-for-development (R4D) programs that Dar introduced, the institute continues to attract much-needed R4D investments into the development of modern, climate-smart and sustainable crop cultivars and technologies of its five major commodities (pearl millet, chickpea, cowpea, groundnut and sorghum) that are farmed by millions of smallholder farm families in semi-arid countries.

The top donor of ICRISAT to date is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, contributing about $ 18 million per year, which is allotted to the conduct of ICRISAT’s major R4D initiatives.

Two projects being funded by the foundation are the HOPE project (Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets) and the Tropical Legumes II (TL-II) project.


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  1. eraldwin dimailig on

    Dr. Dar is another clear proof of Filipinos great mind. Thank you Dr. Dar for giving us the opportunity to see the biggest transformation of ICRISAT. We are truly proud of you! Mabuhay ang Lahing Pinoy!

  2. It is not easy to do great work for the peoples of the world!

    Many times the people you are working do not neither appreciate nor understand the great efforts you are putting in to convince the world about the great open vistas available fkr a few at such short notice .

  3. Dr. William Dar could be good candidate as Secretary of Agriculture to any President
    of the Republic. Kiko should immediately hire him.

  4. Mabuhay si former Sec. Dar! Mabuhay rin and kanyang kaibigang former columnist ng Manila Times!