1 March 2013
(Right) Director General William Dar delivers his Opening Address at the Genotyping by Sequencing Workshop, flanked by Drs S Grando and T Fulton (Institute of Genomic Diversity), (left) as participants listen keenly to the proceedings.
Building new and innovative partnerships for a purpose
Genotyping by sequencing workshop held
The best partnerships are those that share a common purpose, with clear roles and responsibilities and sharing of decisions from beginning to end. ICRISAT’s Strategic Plan calls it Partnerships with Purpose,” said ICRISAT Director General William D Dar, in his address at the opening of the Genotyping by Sequencing Workshop held at the ICRISAT headquarters on 26 February – 1 March. “The workshop, which is a collaboration between the Institute for Genomic Diversity (IGD) at Cornell University and ICRISAT, funded by BREAD (Basic Research to Enable Agriculture Development), is exactly the type of partnership that we need,” he added. The main objectives of the workshop held under the National Science Foundation/BREAD project on “Platform, Pipeline and Analytical Tools for Next Generation Genotyping to Serve Breeding Efforts in Africa,” were to familiarize plant breeders with the biological and technical aspects of Genotyping by Sequencing procedures and to discuss ways in which it along with single-nucleotide polymorphism
markers can be applied to crop improvement. The partnership between Institute for Genomic Diversity and ICRISAT builds on the complementary capacities of the two institutes feeding into common goals of both organizations. Reminding the participants of the challenges of declining water resources, climate change, population explosion and land degradation being faced by agricultural researchers, Dr Dar urged them to pursue their research as a challenge to free the world from hunger. He also mentioned that ICRISAT is the only CGIAR Center that has led genome sequencing of its mandate crops (pigeonpea and chickpea). He added that the Institute is looking forward to leading the sequencing of the pearl millet genome in the near future. In her welcome address, Dr Stefania Grando, Research Program Director – Dryland Cereals, emphasized the need to apply new generation technologies to crop improvement, particularly of dryland cereals and orphan crops, as well as to crops where reference genome sequences are not yet available. She said that Genotyping by Sequencing to page 2 ...4
Devising strategies to raise pulse production and productivity in Bihar
tarting the 2012 rainy season (kharif), Bihar Agricultural University (BAU) in Sabour, Bhagalpur district of Bihar state was included in phase II of the Tropical Legumes II project. With a view to reviewing its ongoing activities, the project team visited the villages of Jamsi and Machhipur (Bhagalpur district) and Kotwali (Bhanka district) during 21 to 24 February where chickpea and pigeonpea seed production activities and Farmer Participatory Varietal Selection (FPVS) trials are being implemented.
Fields of lead farmers Nakul Sahadev The project team with farmers in Kotwali in Bhanka district of Bihar. (Jamsi), Jay Prakash Singh (Machhipur village), and Mahendra Kumar and Manoj Kumar chain. The workshop was attended by 85 (Kotwali) were visited and project activities under progressive/lead farmers, scientists, traders and implementation were discussed. Commending graduate students. ICRISAT’s chickpea and pigeonpea varieties for their Delivering the keynote address, Project Coordinator performance in their fields compared to local cultivars, the farmers requested technical assistance Dr ES Monyo emphasized the need to define four areas for successful pulses production and in seed production and storage. A Farmer’s Field productivity in the State, namely the opportunity, Day was also organized in Kotwali village on 22 meaning the important areas planted to different February for 120 farmers on integrated crop pulses by agro-ecology; constraints to production and management technologies incorporating the new productivity enhancement; partners along the seed chickpea and pigeonpea varieties identified in the value chain; and a plan or seed road map. He also FPVS. stressed the need to be objective and transparent At a workshop on “Strategies of improving pulse while recording the lessons learned. A pre-planning productivity for sustainable intensification and meeting for TL II implementers reviewed the progress diversification of production systems in Bihar” made in 2012 and plans for 2013. chaired by BAU Vice-Chancellor Dr ML Choudhary The ICRISAT team comprising of Dr ES Monyo, Dr on 23 February, the Vice-Chancellor pledged his Myer Mula, Dr CV Sameer Kumar and Mr BV Rao total support for the project and its success in Bihar were accompanied by Dr Ravi Gopal Singh (Director State. He likened the project to a transit R&D Research, BAU), Dr PK Singh (Associate Director of program that would transform the lives of Research), Dr RN Sharma, Dr Rafat Sultana and Dr smallholder farmers from poverty to prosperity, and Rakesh Ranjan who explained the project’s progress agreed to support the creation of Problem Solution in on-going research and seed production activities Centers and crop consortiums where expert teams would develop crop-specific solutions along a value in groundnut, chickpea and pigeonpea. g
Genotyping by sequencing....from page 1 would further reduce the cost/data point, and urged the participants to pass on the technology they had learnt during the workshop to their colleagues. Dr Theresa Fulton, Director of Education, Institute of Genomic Diversity, thanked ICRISAT for hosting the workshop and emphasized the impact Genotyping by Sequencing would have on crop improvement. She also informed the group that it was the first international workshop to be held outside USA. 2
ICRISAT Happenings 1 March 2013/1560
Thirty researchers working on cereals, legumes and oil crops, representing ICRISAT, International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT), International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), The University of Queensland in Australia, ICAR research centers, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and agricultural universities attended the workshop. g
Sorghum scientists’ field selection program held
Sorghum Scientists’ Field Selection Program was organized on 21 February at the ICRISAT headquarters to showcase the depth and variability in postrainy sorghum material bred for various traits and nuances under the sorghum improvement program. Four public sector and nine private sector scientists from various institutes in India participated in the activity. Dr Stefania Grando, Research Program Director – Dryland Cereals, acknowledged the scientists in helping the ICRISAT sorghum program make its research objectives, strategy and methodologies more focused and relevant to the needs of India, such as giving more emphasis on postrainy season adaptation.
Participants of the Field Selection Program in a sorghum field at Patancheru.
Dr Grando also cited the work done under the HOPE project in enhancing postrainy sorghum yields (grain yields by 40% and stover yields by 20%) in 25,000 farmers’ fields in Maharashtra state in India, which is now a well-known success story on partnership impacts. She added that the field selection program provides an opportunity to exchange information on new tools, examine the potential and relevance of the various products and technologies in sorghum at ICRISAT, and bring out the needed focus in sorghum research to achieve the set impact readily at farm
Participants were taken to the field to see the sorghum material for various traits. ICRISAT’s A Ashok Kumar, P Srinivasa Rao, Belum VS Reddy and Rajendra Mughate explained the progress of work in various sorghum areas and the organization of material in different fields to facilitate the selection by the scientists. Dr Reddy, in his closing remarks, called on the participants to make use of new information and products developed by ICRISAT in partnership research and work to generate outcomes to help smallholder farmers. g
level. The selection program provides a strong partnership platform for implementing the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals.
ICRISAT gets Best Stall Award at NIRD Rural Technology fair ICRISAT was the recipient of the Best Stall award in the international category at the four-day Rural Technology Mela (fair) 2013 organized by the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) at its Rural Technology Park (RTP) in Rajendranagar, Hyderabad during 21 – 24 February. The Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) participated in this event, in which over 200 exhibitors comprising national and international organizations participated. The mela served as a platform for demonstrating various technology models from the rural areas and to help technology developers, users and Self-Help Groups among others to take advantage of various rural technologies available in different parts of the country. g
Rajesh Agrawal is now Assistant Director General – Finance We are pleased to announce that Mr Rajesh Agrawal, Director-Finance, has been promoted as Assistant Director General - Finance, effective 1 January. Rajesh, as Director-Finance for over 10 years, championed the Institute’s financial stability, growth and excellence. Congratulations, Rajesh! g
Congratulations! Dr TD Peter, Head, Security Services is appointed as Head – Purchase, Supplies and Disposal Services (PSDS), from 1 March. He will also head the Security Services concurrently. Mr VN Somayajulu, Senior Purchase & Stores Officer, PSDS, is appointed as Manager – Purchase, Supplies and Disposal Services, from 1 March in the SMG Cadre. ICRISAT Happenings 1 march 2013/1560
Former staff Sue Hainsworth and DS Murthy pass away We are sad to announce the demise of two former staff of ICRISAT – Sue Hainsworth and D Sreerama Murty. Sue Hainsworth succumbed to cancer on 23 February near her home in Somerset, England. She joined ICRISAT in 1983 as Research Editor. Upto 1999, when she retired as Manager, Editorial Unit, Sue, known throughout her career as ‘SDH’, was an unforgettable personality who seemed to be everywhere at once. As an editor, she was indefatigable and meticulous. She prepared and edited hundreds of issues of this newsletter. As a manager, she was sometimes impatient but never held a grudge against anybody. She was active in several clubs in Hyderabad, most notably the Torn Curtains, a drama group. And of course she wouldn’t
let anyone else score the cricket matches on the ICRISAT playing field! If you needed a costume for a party, an idea for that special birthday, or a word for a speech, you only had to ask. She is survived by her daughter Eugenie, two grandchildren, and countless friends. Funeral arrangements are scheduled for 8 March. Dr D Sreerama Murty, former sorghum breeder and a valuable member of ICRISAT’s scientific team, passed away on 14 February. He joined ICRISAT in October 1973 and was posted as Principal Sorghum Breeder to work in Sub-Saharan Africa from June 1985 to March 1997. Our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families.
Vacancy at IACD The ICRISAT Association for Community Development (IACD) invites applications for an Administrator to be filled in immediately. The responsibilities of the position include supervising 12-15 staff members, record keeping and managing budgets. Candidates should be fluent in both spoken and written English and proficient in computer use (Microsoft Office and financial programs). Applications can be sent to Umadevi Guduru (G.firstname.lastname@example.org). The last date for receiving applications is 7 March 2013.
Visitors’ log 25 February: Fifty biotechnology students from Government City College, Hyderabad; and 72 students from University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad. 26 February: Fifty-five trainees from School of Nursing, Military Hospital, Secunderabad.
27 February: Thirty-three students from Dr PDKV College of Agriculture, Akola- Maharashtra; and 10 farmers from Vellore district through ATMA (Agriculture Technology Management Agency). 28 February: Thirty-two farmers from Beed district, Maharashtra. 1 March: Fifty-nine students from Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad.