International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)




International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

Mailing address:

Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India

ICRISAT’s scientific information:

E-Mail to Dr Anthony M. Whitbread:

Phone: +91 (40) 3071-3071
Fax: +91 (40) 3071


Mission statement

ICRISAT’s mission is to help empower 600 million poor people to overcome hunger, poverty and a degraded environment in the dry tropics through better agriculture.

The environment of the location

ICRISAT’s headquarters are located in dryland south-central India. Six additional locations are in Africa. The regional hub for West Africa is in Niamey, Niger with an additional station at Bamako, Mali. The regional hub for Eastern/Southern Africa is in Nairobi, Kenya, with additional stations in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Lilongwe, Malawi; and Maputo, Mozambique. ICRISAT locations are characterized by tropical semi-arid climates (approximately 300-800 mm annual rainfall) and are located in agricultural areas cultivated by poor, small-scale farmers. Addresses of these locations are available at:

Short history and milestones

ICRISAT was created in 1972 as the fifth of the currently fifteen centers sponsored by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, The CGIAR was created in 1971 by the World Bank and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and now is additionally co-sponsored by the UNDP (UN Development Program) and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development). The CGIAR emerged as an international response to widespread concern during the 1960s/70s that many developing countries would succumb to famine, providing a mechanism for deploying the enormous power of research-for-development in overcoming hunger based on the experiences of the “Green Revolution” discoveries of higher-yielding wheat and rice varieties. Since that time, the CGIAR’s mission has broadened to address environmental sustainability concerns, including dryland degradation (a special focus of ICRISAT), and a wider range of natural resources (including not only crops but landscapes, forests, fish, livestock, and biodiversity).

ICRISAT is a non-profit, nonpolitical, international, organization that works closely with a wide array of national and international partners from both the public and private sectors. ICRISAT receives funding from a diverse array of national and international donors, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector. While an affiliate of the CGIAR, ICRISAT is governed by an autonomous Board. From its seven operational bases, it stimulates partnership-based research-for-development to strengthen developing-world capabilities and actions that help poor agriculturalists achieve a better life.

The ICRISAT team consists of approximately 1,100 staff including 90 Ph.D. scientists. ICRISAT’s annual budget is approximately US$42 million (2008). Approximately 60% of ICRISAT’s research budget is spent in Africa and 40% in Asia.

ICRISAT structures its work according to four global themes:

  • Agro-ecosystems
  • Biotechnology
  • Crop improvement
  • Institutions, markets, policies, impacts


Scientists are affiliated with each of these Themes, headed by a Leader, and also responding to regional needs and partner dialogues, as guided by Regional Directors for each of the three regions (Asia, East/Southern Africa, and West/Central Africa). Overall guidance of the research program is provided by the Deputy Director General for Research, and top leadership of ICRISAT is provided by its Director General with the oversight of the Governing Board.

ICRISAT’s seven locations feature extensive field research areas and modern laboratory facilities, particularly for plant breeding and biotechnology, genetic resources conservation, soil, water and nutrient research, geographic information systems, and related agricultural disciplines. Supporting facilities include advanced greenhouses, libraries, conference and auditorium facilities, training facilities, visitor accommodation and staff housing, information & communication technology infrastructure, and administrative services.