A total of 735 highly nutritious and drought-tolerant crop varieties, developed by using the germplasm and breeding materials from International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), have been released in 78 countries, significantly contributing to increased income and better nutrition of resource-poor people in the dry land tropics.

ICRISAT's substantial contribution to global food security over the last three decades was evident from the recent report on varieties released by National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) worldwide, according to an ICRISAT release here on Friday. It said the collaborative research partnership between India and ICRISAT has been particularly productive as illustrated in the release of 198 improved varieties of sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut, raising incomes of millions of smallholder farmers in the country. ICRISAT and its Indian partner institutions' creation of the world's first hybrid pigeonpea is now making major impacts on the income and nutrition of many poor people worldwide.

These hybrids increase yield by an average of 33 per cent in on-farm trials, adding US $ 400 to the net income per hectare. This will revolutionise production of the high-protein poor people's meat crop in India, Myanmar and China in the coming years, the release added.