William Dar

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William Dollente Dar (born 1953) an international administrator, is former Director General of ICRISAT. He is a citizen of the Philippines particularly in the town of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur where he was born, raised and educated. He specialised originally in horticulture, receiving his doctoral degree from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos. After serving on the faculty of the Benguet State University in the northern Philippines, he became the first director of the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in 1988. This was a period when the Philippines started to invest much in building a national system of advanced agricultural research institutes, such as the Philippine Rice Research Institute, PhilRice.

William Dar was designated the executive director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and served on the governing boards of international research bodies such as the IRRI and CIMMYT and at ICRISAT. He also served for a brief while as Acting Secretary of Agriculture and as Presidential Adviser on Rural Development during the Presidency of Joseph Estrada. He was selected as Director General of ICRISAT in the year 1999. He has continued ever since in that position.He has written the book "Feeding the forgotten poor". Dr William Dar was conferred with MS Swaminathan Award for leadership in agriculture on 24 June 2013.

ICRISAT, which is an international agricultural research center in the consortium of CGIAR centers had faced multiple crises in the 1990s. The issue at the core had to do with whether ICRISAT should focus entirely on the arid land agricultural challenges of sub Saharan Africa, and move the headquarters to a location in Africa. The continued differences at the level of Governance over this matter had led to lack of clarity in research priorities and programs. During 1997-1999, there were three successive Directors General. William Dar is credited with steering this debate from one of India-versus-Africa to a more fruitful discussion on India and Africa. Agencies in India have granted significant financial resources to ICRISAT since 2002. An example is the Dorabji Tata Trust, one of the large charities connected to the House of Tata. In spite of increased support and expressions of relevance of ICRISAT research in India, a set of external reviews commissioned by the World Bank and the CGIAR Science Council in 2003 recommended the shifting of ICRISAT headquarters to a location in sub Saharan Africa.[1] This recommendation was not accepted by the membership of CGIAR in the Annual General Meeting of CGIAR in 2003.[2] Since then, investor confidence in the stability of ICRISAT has grown. The annual revenues grew from less than US$24 million in 2003 to $52 million in 2009.[3] Major investors now include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, besides the Governments of US (USAID), UK (DFID)and India (ICAR and DBT besides State Governments).

An important development in this period was the formation of a wide range of partnerships with non-corporate as well as corporate private sector in India. Some of the international administrators considered this development a risk to the reputation of an inter-governmental organization and it was included as a term of reference in an externally commissioned review in 2009. This external review in 2009 analysed the developments and agreed that there was indeed evidence of stability in programs and confidence among partners and investors.[4]


  1. ^ [1] Science Council 2003 recommendations
  2. ^ [2] CGIAR AGM 2003
  3. ^ International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
  4. ^ [3] External Performance and management Review of ICRISAT 2009

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