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10 June 2011

No. 1470

NUI Galway President Dr James Browne (left) and ICRISAT DG William Dar (right) sign the Research and Education Alliance MoU with Paula Kenny, Third Secretary, Hunger Unit, Irish Aid (left, standing) and Prof Charles Spillane, Chair of NUI Galway Plant Science and Head of Plant & AgriBiosciences Research (right, standing) witnessing.

Research-for-development partnership

ICRISAT forms Alliance with National University of Ireland Galway ICRISAT and Ireland’s partnership in recent years has made significant impacts in helping improve food security, nutrition and health of the poorest of the poor in the drylands of sub-Saharan Africa through agricultural development and social assistance.

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levating this partnership to a new level, ICRISAT and the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway have just established an Alliance towards a people- and poverty-focused agricultural research and education initiative. This Alliance will synergize the expertise of both parties to conduct plant and agri-biosciences research for poverty reduction in the semi-arid tropics, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Likewise, the Alliance will strengthen collaboration among research groups within the NUI

Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Cluster and ICRISAT scientists conducting research particularly on the Institute’s mandate crops to improve smallholder productivity and food security. In a visit to NUI Galway on 3 June, DG William Dar met with its President, Dr James Browne to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations. The MoU stipulates joint undertakings in research-for-development, capacity strengthening and related activities; resource to page 2 ...4


mobilization; access to research opportunities and/or degree programs; and exchange of scientific materials, publications and information. In signing the MoU, Dr Dar stated that “NUI Galway has a range of research expertise in the fields of plant and agri-biosciences which is highly synergistic with ICRISAT’s scientific programs and humanitarian mandate. The MoU builds on the existing research links between NUI Galway and ICRISAT in order to forge a more powerful research alliance to advance food security and sustainability goals in the dryland tropics.” Outlining a path through which ICRISAT and Ireland, particularly through Irish Aid and NUI Galway, can better work together, Dr Dar delivered a keynote lecture on Harnessing research partnerships toward a prosperous, food secure and

resilient dryland tropics. His lecture was part of a range of presentations from scientists and experts within the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Cluster. During his visit in Dublin, Dr Dar also met with Frank Flood and Paula Kenny, officials from the Hunger Unit of Irish Aid as well as with Dale Crammond from the Irish Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Dr Dar emphasized that the Alliance with NUI Galway will help further advance the goals of Irish Aid in relation to the Hunger Task Force recommendations to improve smallholder productivity and reduce malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2009, ICRISAT launched the Malawi Seed Industry Development Project with significant support from Irish Aid. Around 395,000 farmers have benefited from the project by having access to certified groundnut and pigeonpea seeds. g

Fourth annual review meeting

Evaluating candidate genes for drought tolerance in chickpea

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he 4th Annual Review Meeting of the project Evaluating candidate genes towards enhancement of drought tolerance in chickpea funded by the National Fund for Basic, Strategic and Frontier Application Research in Agriculture (NFBSFARA) was held on 8 June at ICRISATPatancheru. In his inaugural address, DDG-R Dave Hoisington outlined the importance of the crop improvement project, and acknowledged the contribution and support of the chickpea community worldwide that facilitated the development of genomic resources in the crop. He added that chickpea will be an orphan crop only if the community was unable to apply the genome information.

Prof JP Khurana, Chairman, Internal Peer Review Committee spoke on the essence of collaboration and consortium that was established to dissect the complex phenomenon of drought tolerance in chickpea by using functional genomics, structural genomics and reverse genetics tools, involving three leading research centers in India – ICRISAT, Patancheru; the National Research Centre on Plant 2

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Biotechnology (NRCPB), New Delhi; and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. Further deliberations on the project’s 4th year progress were made by Drs Srinivasan (NRCPB), Rajeev Varshney (ICRISAT), and Bharadwaj and J Kumar (IARI). Drs Bandyopadhyay, JP Khurana and Dwivedi evaluated the project’s achievements identifying issues to be focused on for the remaining one year of the project. The meeting was attended by other co-investigators of cooperating centers and project personnel including Drs PM Gaur, Mainassara Zaman Allah, M Thudi, K Hima Bindu, Trushar Shah, Rachit Saxena, Manish Pandey, Mr Manish Roorkiwal, Ms Sowmya and Ms Deepa. g


Focus on value-chain approach

Tanzania hosts workshop on enhancing commercialization of finger millet and sorghum

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he value chain approach converges social and economic dimensions with crop improvement and production systems and creates opportunities by bringing special attention to postharvest and marketing issues.

market information and credit to improve profitability and efficiency in finger millet and sorghum farming. The sessions also initiated useful linkages between and among the various actors in the value chain.

Recognizing the importance of the value-chain approach, Tanzania’s Department of Research Development (DRD), ICRISAT and the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) project held a training workshop on Enhancing the commercialization of finger millet and sorghum productivity in Tanzania on 1-3 June.

In his opening address, Sostences Kweka, Deputy Director, Selien Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) underlined the importance of using the value chain approach in research and development to achieve improved efficiency and in enhancing the commercialization and adoption of improved technologies.

The workshop was attended by 30 participants, which included 10 women, from farmers’ groups (15), agro-dealers (4) extension and (5) grain processors (2), seed company (1) and research (3) involved in the finger millet and sorghum value chain from Tanzania HOPE project’s mandate districts of Rombo, Singida, Kondoa, Iramba and Kishapu.

One of the major constraints identified by the participants was the insufficient supply of highquality seed. As reported by the proprietor of Nyirefarm, a grain processing company in Arusha, the productivity of finger millet and sorghum is not optimized due to inadequate supply of quality seeds. While most farmers buy their seeds from the informal market, they were willing to pay a premium price for certified seeds. The farmers also expressed interest in acquiring a suitable grain thresher for both sorghum and finger millet. HOPE project promised to follow up on the threshers and certified seeds of improved varieties in order to enhance delivery of quality grain to Nyirefarm and other processors. g

The workshop aimed at empowering participants involved in the finger millet and sorghum value chain segments to: map and carry out business plans, keep records, determine grain prices, form and sustain collective marketing groups, and access

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Stakeholder consultation on adaptation strategies to climate change

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s part of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded project on Vulnerability to climate change: Adaptation strategies and layers of resilience, the Field Crops Research Institute (FCRI) of Thailand and ICRISAT jointly organized a stakeholder consultation on 31 May and a policy dialogue on 1 June in Bangkok, Thailand. Mr Dumrong Jirasutat, DDG, Department of Agriculture (DOA), Thailand inaugurated the stakeholder consultation while MCS Bantilan, MIP Program Director briefed the participants on the scope, objectives and outputs of the project. Dr Seree Supparatit, Managing Director of the Sirinthorn International Environmental Park delivered the keynote address. Presentations on issues related to climatic variability and vulnerability, impact of climate change on rice and cassava, farmers’ perception and adaptation to climate change, modeling the impact of climate change, and policy directives for climate resilient

agriculture were presented by scientists from Thailand and ICRISAT. Various farmers from the study villages of Chokchai and Chatturat districts of Thailand also participated in the discussions and reiterated their needs to address climate variability. Delegates from international agencies such as ADB, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) also participated in the meeting. The policy dialogue was attended by key players from Thailand’s policy and planning organizations. Advisor to Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr Jesada Kaewkullaya, delivered the keynote address. Emerging policy suggestions based on the research findings of the project were likewise presented. ICRISAT was represented in the event by Dr Bantilan, Naveen Singh, Piara Singh, MVR Murty, Nedumaran Swamikannu and Byjesh Kattarkandi.

New publication ICRISAT Annual Report 2010 – Inclusive MarketOriented Development (Order code: IRE 020) 4

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Malawi farmers benefit from improved groundnut varieties

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armers in the Kasungu District of Malawi are experiencing the impact of ICRISAT’s efforts in improving livelihood opportunities in the area through the introduction of improved groundnut varieties. This was observed by the team of CLL Gowda, ES Monyo, Senior Scientific Officer Harvey Charlie, and CARE Malawi Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Clement Bisai at a gathering in Tililimodzi and Tchesa Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) in Traditional Authorities (TAs) Mwase and Kaomba on 21 May 2011.

ICRISAT, in collaboration with the Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere (CARE) Malawi and the Sumader Association of Family CLL Gowda and ES Monyo appreciating the quality of Entrepreneurs (SAFE), implemented a groundnuts produced by Janet Tenganani (right). three-year project Support to vulnerable groups to achieve food security to improve and assistance and for the past two years, have been sustain food security for the poor in three selected harvesting 16 bags of 40-kg each of high yielding TAs of Kasungu District, namely Njombwa, groundnut variety from the same piece of land I Kaomba and Mwase. The project contributed used to harvest only 4 bags with my traditional towards building the capacity of farmers through variety,” said Mrs Janet Tenganani, a 67 year old various interventions ranging from community seed farmer. She added that she uses the proceeds from banks, recommended cultural practices for the groundnut produce to pay school fees for her groundnut production and linking them to markets. two grandchildren. According to her, the high “Since the project started, I have been able to multiply seeds on my own through ICRISAT’s

yielding potential of ICRISAT’s groundnut variety ICGV-SM 90704 (Nsinjiro) has really transformed her life in just a short period of time. ICGV-SM 90704 is a medium duration variety, which yields around 2 t/ha and is resistant to groundnut rosette disease. Village headman Malangano also noted that the introduction of improved groundnut varieties has reinvented groundnut production in his area, referring to ICGV-SM 90704 and ICGV-SM 99568, which are slowly replacing areas planted to local Chalimbana and tobacco.

Participants from Tililimodzi Farmers’ Field School in TA Mwase discussing the project impacts with CLL Gowda.

The visit was primarily aimed at assessing the short- and medium-term benefits of the CARE Malawi/ ICRISATSAFE project that concluded on 31 March. g ICRISAT Happenings 10 June 2011/1470

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Second annual review meeting of HOPE project The 2nd Annual Review Meeting on South Asia-Sorghum component of the project “Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) for sorghum and millets in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA)” will be held on 14-15 June at the Great Lakes Conference Center (#307), ICRISATPatancheru. All interested scientists are welcome to participate in the inaugural session. The meeting will review the progress made during the 2nd year and develop the SA sorghum work plan for the 3rd year (2011) of the project. For more details, please contact Ms Rebecca at 2484. g

(File picture) HOPE project farmer shows off his crop.

Global summit on Green Revolution-II

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he continued growth of the agriculture sector is important in ensuring the food and nutritional security as well as in enhancing the purchasing power of the rural poor. Believing that agriculture is a nation’s engine to transformation, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) with ICRISAT as its knowledge partner is organizing a day-long Summit on Green Revolution-II on 15 June. To be held at Hotel Taj Deccan in Hyderabad, the summit will bring together multi-sectoral stakeholders to deliberate on sharing science and technology resources as well as services to spur growth in agriculture.

business models in fostering public private partnerships and investments in agriculture; identify common areas and priorities for collaboration to strengthen partnerships; reach consensus on collective actions to address sustainable developmental issues; and discuss strategies for achieving sustainable growth.  

The main objectives of the summit are to share technologies and services towards increasing agricultural efficiency; deliberate on innovative

For more details about the summit, please visit: http://assocham.org/agriculture/index.php?section=fo rthcoming&page=global-summit-green-revolution2 g

Congratulations! Team ICRISAT congratulates Dr Ilyassou Oumarou, senior laboratory supervisor at ICRISAT-Niamey, Niger for completing his PhD Degree in Agricultural Science (major in Soil and Plant Analysis) at the School and Engineering of Atlantic International University. Dr Ilyassou has been managing the Analytical Services Laboratory of ICRISAT-Niamey for more than 15 years now. g

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ICRISAT Happenings 10 June 2011/1470


ICRISAT learner-participants bag IFAR fellowships designated as the Ravi Tadvalkar Memorial Scholarship, in recognition his many contributions to the organization as IFAR’s first treasurer and secretary, his commitment to capacity building in developing countries, and his concern about diversity and gender issues. Egamberdieva Dilfuza

R Pushpavalli

Sameera Sastry

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f the 40 qualified applications received by the International Forum for Agricultural Research (IFAR) board for 2011, 13 were awarded with the fellowships based on the panel’s recommendations. Out of 13 winners, 3 awards were received by ICRISAT learner-participants namely: R Pushpavalli (to receive the Ravi Tadvalkar Fellowship), Egamberdieva Dilfuza and Sameera Sastry. Each awardee will get a grant amount of US$ 11,000 including $1,000 for books, journals or equipments. IFAR annually provides small grants to professionals from the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in developing countries. The award given to the youngest woman grantee each year will be

IFAR also manages the IFAR Wilfried Thalwitz Scholarship established in his memory by the family and friends of the late CGIAR Chair for research linked with CGIAR centers. Nominations for these awards must be sponsored by CGIAR Centers, and the work programs proposed by applicants must be closely linked with the program of a specific center. Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with Center scientists when preparing their project proposals for submission to IFAR. This year the nominations were evaluated by an international panel composed of Kanta Mohapatra (Chair) Principal Scientist, Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, India; Manuel Lantin, Scientific Adviser, CGIAR Fund Office; and Harry Palmier, Senior Partnership Officer, Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). g

Visitors’ log 03 June: Mr Mangala Bhagwat and Prawarda from the Horticulture University, Bidar; and Drs YK Jain and SK Arsia, Plant Pathologists from RAK College of Agricultural School, MP.  09 June: 40 trainees of the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) for disaster management from Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Bihar. 10 June: Professor Ajay Jha from the Colorado State University, USA. g Visitors from NIRD at Ragnhild Sohlberg visitors’ center.

New contact details of WCA Regional Hub Related to the transfer of the Office of the Director, ICRISAT - West & Central Africa (WCA) to Bamako, Mali, Dr Farid Waliyar can now be reached at:

Mobile +223 76996051 Direct line: +223 20221343 g

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Mango Show at ICRISAT!

DG William Dar and Mrs Betty Dar along with some ICRISAT senior staff enjoyed one sweet affair during the Mango Show held on 8 June at the mango orchard near RL 26 field. About 24 varieties of mangoes were on display and available for tasting along with some mango delicacies and preparations. Some of the varieties displayed were: Alphonso, Dasheri, Benishan, Langra, Himayat and Totapari.

Thought for the week When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. - Helen Keller


ICRISAT Happenings