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President Of InangLupa Movement
Dr. William D. Dar is a champion of the poor especially the small farmers and fisherfolks. Earlier in 1988, he was awarded the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines. Recently, Dr. Dar was awarded The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award in cognizance of his servant-leadership, was instrumental in transforming the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) from a struggling institute to one of the top performing centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). In his 15 years of outstanding achievements as Director General of ICRISAT, he championed and institutionalized an overarching strategy called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD), in which the farmers become active participants for their own welfare. While at ICRISAT, he was elected Chair of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2007-2009 with sterling performance, and was an active member of the UN Millennium Task Force on Hunger in 2004-2006. On February 17, 2017, ICRISAT named the facility housing its agribusiness and innovation platform to William D. Dar Agribusiness Center.
Some notable accomplishments of ICRISAT under his stewardship are: (1) The formulation of a new, more dynamic institutional strategy known as Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) which shifted ICRISAT’s focus towards enabling poor farmers to harness markets for poverty escape; (2) Establishment of Centers of Excellence for genomics, transgenic research, climate change research for plant protection, and information and communications technology (ICT) innovations for agriculture; (3) An inclusive and technology-based entrepreneurship and agribusiness strategy – the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform – through public-private partnerships to bring science-based technologies and products to the market for the benefit of marginal farmers; (4) Scaling out a sustainable natural resource management model called Bhoochetana (land rejuvenation), which uses soil analysis as an entry point, that has brought prosperity to resource-poor farmers in India; and (5) Establishment of the ICRISAT Development Center (IDC) to undertake large-scale uptake of science-based technologies for the benefit of marginal farmers.
Dr. Dar has transformed ICRISAT into one of the best agricultural research institutes in the world in terms of innovative research programs, impact to clienteles, and financial health and stability. Further, through his strong leadership and governance, he has quadrupled the income and investments poured into ICRISAT since he took over in 2000, from US$ 21 million to US$ 85 million in 2014.
Prior to his international stint, he taught with distinction at Benguet State University (BSU) with the rank of Professor 6 and served as its Vice President for R&D in 1985; was the founding Director of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in 1987-1994; served as Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) in 1994-1998, and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture under President Joseph Estrada in 1998-1999. Under his watch, the Philippine agriculture achieved a remarkable 9.6% growth, which has never been equaled until today.
In 2014, he founded the InangLupa Movement that advocates and calls to action agricultural modernization and rural industrialization anchored on four pillars: inclusiveness, science-based, resilient, and market-oriented development. He champions agripreneurship and encourages the youth to become farmer entrepreneurs.
Dr. Dar crafted a ‘Framework for Modernizing & Industrializing Philippine Agriculture 2016 and Beyond’. This is a roadmap for developing the whole of agriculture for the country, with Vision, Mission and guiding principles for inclusive development. The goals are: economic security, food security, nutritional security, and environmental security.
Concurrently, he serves as the strategic adviser for global expansion of Prasad Seeds Private Limited, which operates a seed processing facility in Pangasinan, and engages in contract growing of hybrid rice and corn seeds with farmers’ groups.
As part of his advocacy to inform the Filipino people about various issues in agriculture, Dr. Dar joins the pool of columnists of The Manila Times – a major daily broadsheet in the Philippines. His every Friday column ‘Ways of the Oasis’ tackles different topics and concerns in the Philippine agriculture where he gives insights based on his vast experiences as head of different local and international agricultural institutions.
Dr. Dar obtained his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education from the Mountain State Agricultural College (MSAC), now BSU, in 1973; Master of Science in Agronomy from MSAC in 1976, and Doctor of Philosophy in Horticulture from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños in 1980. Cognizant of his leadership and laurels, he was awarded eight (8) doctorate degrees honoris causa by various higher educational institutions in the country.