DR. WILLIAM D. DAR, the director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in India. expounded on his advocacy for inclusive agricultural development in the country in his keynote address before a gathering of research managers on April 11, 2014.
The occasion was the 24th annual conference of the Philippine Association of Research Managers (PHILARM) at the Amigo Hotel in Iloilo City. The research managers are mostly from state universities and colleges all over the country and agencies of the Department of Agriculture.
He stressed the extreme challenges that the country faces today brought about by climate change. And in this regard, he challenged the research managers to support his “Inang Lupa” advocacy. This is a movement that calls for inclusive development of agriculture, meaning that the small farmers, most specially, are the beneficiaries. The movement calls for science-based technologies for a resilient agriculture, and the development should be market-driven. The agricultural products, which include value-added products, should have a market.
Very important is for government support for the organization of farmers’ cooperatives or associations in order to undertake collective action.
Dr. Dar, by the way, is the first Filipino to head ICRISAT, and the only one so far whose term was extended two times. He is serving his third term that ends in December 2014. At the of his term he will return to the Philippines to personally spearhead the implementation of his advocacy.