December 7, 2014. Dr William D. Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in Patancheru near Hyderabad, was conferred with the prestigious “Excellence in Agricultural Leadership Award” by the Association of Agricultural Technology in Southeast Asia (AATSEA) during the 2ndInternational Conference on Integration of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand on 28 November.
The award was given in recognition of Dr Dar’s “outstanding achievement, dedicated service, untiring efforts, exemplary vision, unwavering commitment and unselfish support in the field of agriculture in Southeast Asia and beyond.” It was conferred on him by Prof Kasem Soytong, President of AATSEA.
“I have dedicated my whole life and career to helping empower smallholder farmers in Asia and Africa alleviate their socioeconomic conditions and to contribute to feeding the poor,” said Dr Dar at the award ceremony.
At the conference, Dr Dar also delivered a keynote presentation on “Biological Diversity, Food and Agricultural Technology in Smallhold Agriculture,” speaking lengthily on the unprecedented challenges faced by agriculture due to global warming and the increasing demand for safe and nutritious food.
“An integrated genetic and natural resources management approach should be adopted to develop dynamic production systems to produce sufficient and nutritious foods/feeds,” Dr Dar said.
He stressed that the focus, among others, should be on protecting agro-biodiversity, developing climate-ready crops and climate-smart production systems, and above all, adopting agri-technologies and policies that favor smallholder agriculture.
Dr Dar, a national of the Philippines, has been Director General of ICRISAT since January 2000 and holds the distinction of being the first Filipino and Asian to be Director General of the Institute. Prior to joining ICRISAT, he served as Presidential Adviser for Rural Development, and Secretary of Agriculture in the Philippines (equivalent to Minister of Agriculture).
Before this, he was Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) and Director of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA).