Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT (ASP) Abdul Rahman Ilyas, COO-ASP, email: Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics,

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  • Reducing poverty through innovations, partnerships and products

    ICRISATScience with a human face

    Reducing poverty through innovations, partnerships and products

    Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT (ASP)The Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT (ASP) was set up in December 2003, through an agreement with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to be the agri-biotech park of its Genome Valley initiative. The goal of the ASP is to help achieve ICRISATs mandate to help poor farmers in the SAT through public-private partnerships. ICRISAT transfers technologies and enters into collaborative projects with the private sector through the ASP.

    ASPs vision is to be a hub for public-private partnerships that enhance the development and commercialization of science-generated technologies and knowledge through market mechanisms that will ultimately benefit the poorest of the poor.

    To accomplish its mission, ASP has the following components to support Public-Private Partnerships:

    1. Ag-biotech Innovation Center (AIC)2. Agri-Business Incubator (ABI)3. Hybrid Parents Seed Research Consortium

    (HPRC)4. Bioproducts Research Consortium (BRC)5. NutriPlus Knowledge Center (NutriPlus)6. SAT Eco-Venture

    Facilities@Agri-Science Park Food Safety Laboratory Genetic Transformation and Applied

    Genomics Laboratory Bioinformatics and Computational

    Genomics Facility Regular and P2 containment greenhouses, and precision fields with hi-tech irrigation equipment World-class facilities for communication and computing Fully equipped conference halls, air-conditioned offices, dormitories, flatlets, transport, security,

    and recreational facilities.

    Components of ASP

    1. Ag-biotech Innovation Center (AIC)The Ag-biotech Innovation Center offers a platform for agricultural companies that are already established. This enables them to set up their own R&D facilities within ASP to collaborate with ICRISAT. Once

    Dr William Dar, DG, ICRISAT (second from right) and Dr Barry Shapiro (far right) with the MoU signed with the Maryland India Business Round Table.

    Team ICRISAT along with ASP partners in the ASP Pavilion of BioAsia 2008.

  • enrolled as a member of the AIC these companies have access to the common facilities of ASP. The Government of Andhra Pradesh supports AICs development of infrastructure through Research & Development funds.

    Private sector partners in AIC work with ICRISAT scientists through Collaborative Research Agreements (CRAs) each partner joining AIC is required to develop a research collaboration project with ICRISAT scientists in an area that is mutually beneficial.

    2. Agri-Business Incubator (ABI)In December 2002, ICRISAT joined hands with the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, to develop an Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at ICRISAT-Patancheru.

    The mission of ABI is to create agri-business enterprises through technology development and commercialization. The Agri-Business Incubator helps new entrepreneurs/enterprises with handholding services from business conceptualization to implementation. Key services include business mentorship, technical support, business consultancy, facilitation services and common infrastructure facilities.

    ABI emerged as a champion in incubating several technologies and enterprises, such as the use of sweet sorghum for ethanol production, BT cotton, Bio Fermi BTA Fermentor, popularization and release of groundnut variety ICGV-91114, popularization of chickpea varieties JG-11 & KAK2 and organic farming among the farmers.

    The Govt. of India honoured ABI with the Best Technology Incubator Award for 2005.

    3. Hybrid Parents Seed Research Consortium (HPRC) Recent years have witnessed remarkable growth of private sector investments in crop improvement, research and development. HPRC is an initiative of ICRISAT that was formed with the basic objective of increasing the scope of accessibility to better hybrids by the poor farmer through effective public private partnerships. HPRC currently consists of 3 crops: sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea. At present, 40 seed companies are members of the consortium.

    4. Bioproducts Research Consortium (BRC) Worldwide, about 3 billion kilograms of pesticides are applied each year at a cost of over US$ 40 billion. Despite this, problems continue, with resurgence of secondary pests, environmental pollution and pesticide residues in food, drinking water, and even milk. Biopesticides have shown great potential to replace/supplement chemical pesticides. It is in this backdrop that the BRC, an ICRISAT initiative, was formalized in January 2005 to deliver research outputs and technologies leading to mass scale production of quality microbial biopesticides at low cost through effective public private partnerships. BRC currently has 11 private companies as members supporting research.

    5. NutriPlus Knowledge Center The NutriPlus Knowledge Center is a new initiative under the Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT which is a platform for R&D and innovation in food processing with focus on cereals, legumes, fruits/vegetables, and

    Private sector partners and ICRISAT scientists at an AIC briefing meeting.

    Team ICRISAT receives the Best Technology Incubator Award for 2005, awarded by the Govt. of India, from Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, while Honorable Minister Mr Kapil Sibal (extreme left) and Dr RA Mashelkar, Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, look on.

  • medicinal and aromatic plants. The verticals for applied research are nutraceuticals: fortified foods, flavors and fragrances; phytoceuticals: functional foods, functional beverages, food additives and color, bio-actives and enzymes, post-harvest management and bio-products. NutriPlus is a US$ 6 million project and being funded by governments of Andhra Pradesh and India. Phase-I implementation is already in progress through the UNIDO South-South Cooperation office. NutriPlus already has three interested partners waiting to commence R&D activities.

    6. SAT Eco-VentureICRISAT has entered into an MoU with the AP Tourism Department to develop the SAT Eco-Venture as an agricultural/environmental education program along with WWF a partner in the Ag-biotech Innovation Center. The serene environment comprising lakes, a golf course, natural habitat, forest, and cultural heritage buildings are

    being preserved to form an eco-tourism park, which can be accessed by members.

    This eco-tourism concept started with the embellishment of the natural serene landscape of ICRISAT. Today it serves as a demonstration and training platform for visiting academia, farmers and visitors, as well as a model for demonstrating scientific watershed development. Through ASP, ICRISAT expects to replicate this model by inviting the hospitality and leisure industry to promote eco-tourism in the Semi-Arid Tropic (SAT) areas.

    Dr William D Dar inaugurates the Agro-Ecotourism Complex on the ICRISAT-Patancheru campus.

    Impact of ASP Hybrids/varieties developed by ICRISAT have

    reached increasingly greater numbers of farmers in the semi-arid tropics region through private sector partnerships. Eighty percent of the hybrid millet and sorghum varieties available in the market have ICRISAT parental lines.

    More than 20 technologies have been marketed through the private sector, thus creating employment opportunities and industrialization. A key success story has been the commercialization of ethanol from sweet sorghum produced through ICRISAT-developed hybrids that yield high juice and sugar for industrial production of ethanol.

    Thirty-six entrepreneurs have been incubated in the Agri-Business Incubator.

    Mr Anup Singh, Director of ITC, and Dr William Dar exchange MoUs in the presence of Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

    ASP members with the representatives of HortResearch, New Zealand.

  • The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a nonprofit, non-political organization that does innovative agricultural research and capacity building for sustainable development with a wide array of partners across the globe. ICRISATs mission is to help empower 600 million poor people to overcome hunger, poverty and a degraded environment in the dry tropics through better agriculture. ICRISAT belongs to the Alliance of Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

    ICRISAT-Patancheru (Headquarters)Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India

    Tel: +91 40 30713071, Fax: +91 40 30713074Email:

    April 2009

    About ICRISAT

    Eight major agri-biotech companies have established their R&D centers in the Ag-biotech Innovation Center, which has benefited the corporates by reducing their gestation period for R&D and in accelerating business development.

    All the components of ASP are now functioning as Strategic Business Units, thus making ASP self-sustained.

    The prime beneficiary so far has been the state of Andhra Pradesh wherein ASP is located. The Agri-biotech Industry and Seed Industry have benefited the most so far from the ASP. The ASP is now being extended to sub-Saharan Africa.

    Through the Agri-Science Park, ICRISAT is now working towards addressing key concerns of global interest issues such as food security, health and nutrition. The newest initiative, NutriPlus Knowledge Center, will focus on these issues through value-added processing and post-harvest research.

    VisionDr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, affirmed that ICRISAT was the first among all the CGIAR centers to initiate partnerships with the private secto