Just a decade ago, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) was described as facing a "midlife crisis"  (Sub.). Today, there has been a turnaround: finances are looking up and new plant varieties are being released. In recognition for spearheading this bounce back, the Governing Board of this Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research institute appointed current director general, William D. Dar, a Filipino horticulturist, for an unprecedented third consecutive 5-year term. Dar said he was "excited to take on the awesome challenges that dry-and agriculture faces due to climate change."
The recent achievements of the institute, based in southern India and with half a dozen hubs across Africa, include advances in pea hybrids and commercial production of ethanol from sweet sorghum.
Gurdev Khush, a rice breeder at the University of California, Davis, attributes Dar’s success to his leadership and for having built a highly motivated team of scientists and a strong management team while "establishing an excellent rapport with the donor community." After almost a decade of steadily declining budgets, ICRISAT’s annual budget doubled from $24.6 million in 2003 to $50.5 million in 2008.
"Dar orchestrated a complete turnaround at ICRISAT," says genetics professor Jeffrey Bennetzen of the University of Georgia in Athens, a member of the institute's board.