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David Bergvinson Appointed New ICRISAT Director-General

01 July 2014

GLOBAL - The Governing Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has announced that Dr David Bergvinson has been appointed as the next Director General of ICRISAT for a five-year term, from January 2015.

He will replace the current Director General, Dr William Dar who has served the Institute since 1999.

Dr Bergvinson is currently with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA, as Senior Program Officer, Crop Value Chains and Digital Design for Agriculture Development.

He has been with the foundation since 2007 and currently represents the foundation on the CGIAR Fund Council.

“Science should not be an end in itself. Science is a means to mitigate poverty, eradicate malnutrition and provide environmentally sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges faced by the smallholder farmer. ICRISAT can achieve the impossible by forging strong partnerships with the public, private and civil society sectors. I look forward to working closely with all the staff and partners to realize ICRISAT’s vision of a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics,” Dr Bergvinson said.

Prior to joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Bergvinson was a Senior Scientist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) at its Mexico headquarters for over 12 years.

His research background is in crop improvement, plant biochemistry, integrated pest management, and entomology.

Dr Bergvinson will lead the Institute's work programme to advance agriculture in the tropical drylands of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa as well as uptake of its five mandate crops critical for the drylands - sorghum, pearl millet, pigeonpea, chickpea and groundnut, ICRISAT said in a statement.

Dr Bergvinson said he is further committed to enhancing ICRISAT's agribusiness innovation platform, its climate-smart agriculture focus, soil health and watershed management programs, digital technology to support inclusive market-oriented development, ability to create demand for nutri-cereals and grain legumes. Through South-South collaboration, he will strengthen ICRISAT's footprint and impact in both Asia and Africa.

“Working to alleviate poverty in drylands across Africa and Asia is extremely challenging and I believe the Inclusive Market Oriented Development (IMOD) is an exciting and a very important concept to help the smallholder farmers in Africa and South Asia. Integrating IMOD into ICRISAT’s programs will enable poor farmers to translate surplus production into increased income and opportunities for them to realize their full potential,” Dr Bergvinson adds.

Dr Bergvinson holds an B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Masters of Pest Management from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, and his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Ottawa, Canada.

He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in maize biochemistry and pathology.

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