This was according to Dr David Bergvinson, as he assumed office as Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for a five-year term effective 1 January 2015.
Prior to his appointment at ICRISAT, Dr Bergvinson was with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA, as Senior Program Officer, Crop Value Chains and Digital Design for Agriculture Development. He had been with the Foundation since 2007. He was responsible in accelerating the development and delivery of farmer-preferred products and services for staple crops in the developing world through formulating strategies, forging partnerships and applying digital technologies. He represented the Foundation on the CGIAR Fund Council.
“In tackling the poverty challenge persisting in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, innovation has to be driven by the demands of farmers and markets, and must recognize the important role of women and youth to enable inclusive market-oriented development,” he emphasized.Dr Bergvinson articulated his passion and commitment for smallholder agriculture, and a strong desire to improve the lives of the hundreds of millions of impoverished smallholder farmers and their families living in the drylands, as he addressed senior management, scientists and staff at the ICRISAT global headquarters in Hyderabad, India, and virtually, at various ICRISAT locations in Africa.