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The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has announced that it is to retain its headquarters in Patancheru in India.

The decision puts an end to speculation that the institute — one of the 16 international research centres that make up the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) — would move its headquarters to sub-Saharan Africa.

An external review panel set up by the CGIAR recommended in July that the institute relocate in order to focus its research on African problems (see Crop research centre 'should move HQ to Africa').

But at CGIAR's annual general meeting last week in Nairobi, Kenya, ICRISAT announced that it would invest more core resources in sub-Saharan Africa — where it already has three regional stations — while keeping its headquarters in India to sustain the institute's Asian activities.

ICRISAT will also set up a task force to suggest ways to enhance the institute's research programmes and management in both sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

In Africa, the task force will focus on ways to encourage market-driven agriculture, diversify farming systems, apply new science to scale up technologies and harness the power of information and communication technologies. Its focus in Asia, meanwhile, will be on biotechnology and crop improvement.