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2 August 2013 No. 1582

In-house Newsletter

ICRISAT file photo

A model seed system facilitated by a Seed Consortium will mean more produce, greater incomes and enhanced livelihoods for farmers growing postrainy season sorghum in Maharashtra.

Seed Consortium promises sustainable seed system for postrainy sorghum in Maharashtra, India For the past 25 years, attempts to disseminate seeds of improved sorghum cultivars to farmers in Maharashtra State of India have been met with low adoption rates and consequently low productivity. A newly formed Seed Consortium combining the expertise of ICRISAT and private and public partners promises to bring hope to smallholder farmers in the State and make available improved sorghum seed for the postrainy season.


uly 23 was a significant day in the lives of smallholder farmers in Maharashtra. It marked the formation of a Seed Consortium that will develop a sustainable seed system for easy access and availability to farmers of improved sorghum seed for the postrainy season. It will also pave the way for the development of a consensus roadmap to enhance the adoption rate of improved varieties by ensuring greater seed production, procurement and marketing.

The formation of the consortium was the highlight of the workshop on “Sustainable postrainy sorghum seed systems development� held in Pune, Maharashtra. In his opening address during the workshop, Mr RB Deshmukh, advisor to the Dryland Agriculture Mission, Government of Maharashtra commended efforts by ICRISAT and partner institutions in transferring improved cultivars and management technologies to over 33,000 farmers in the last four years, leading to a 40% increase in production. to page 2 ...4

Seed Consortium promises ...from page 1 In Maharashtra, hybrids are the cultivar of choice in the rainy season and adoption by farmers reaches up to 95%, while open-pollinated varieties are preferred in the postrainy season. About 2.9 m ha is sown to postrainy season sorghum with average productivity being as low as 0.5 t ha-1. The major Photo: Aundekar, MAU seed source for postrainy Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Maharashtra; State season sorghum is the farmer’s Agriculture Universities; and ICRISAT who participated in the workshop. own saved seed of cultivars and local landraces like Maldandi, Barshizoot and Dagadi. The workshop recommended the development of a Private and public sector seed companies are not model seed system with private-public seed sector interested in production and marketing of improved partnership to produce and disseminate improved open pollinated cultivars due to economic seed varieties to meet the requirements of 3 m ha in considerations. three years. The Department of Agriculture agreed to extend support to the Seed Consortium to sustain During the workshop, private and public sector seed the seed mission within current government companies shared their views on production of schemes. different varieties of seed and their future plans. Seed produced by the private sector meets less than The workshop was organized by the CGIAR Research 10% of the State’s seed needs; the major share being Program on DrylandCereals, ICRISAT and its partners, that of the age-old variety M35-1. the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV), and the Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth (MKV), ICRISAT’s Ch Ravinder Reddy (Coordinator, Seed Maharashtra. The Seed Consortium will comprise of Systems) presented the way forward with concrete ICRISAT, the Directorate of Sorghum Research, MPKV, action plans for developing a postrainy season seed MKV, private and public sector seed companies, the system for Maharashtra, emphasizing on the Commissioner of Agriculture (Department of denotification of obsolete varieties, an increase in Agriculture), Government of Maharashtra, and seed replacement ratio, and calling for a greater role farmer representatives. This activity is part of the for public and private sector partners in the HOPE project which falls under the CGIAR Research multiplication and marketing of improved varieties. Program on DrylandCereals. g Presentations were also made on existing seed systems in Maharashtra and seed availability and access by the farmers (SR Gadakh) and HOPE project outcomes and partnership for scaling up and early adoption studies (BVS Reddy, A Ashok Kumar and N Nagaraj). Mr SS Adsul, Director of Extension and Mr JN Deshmukh, Director, Seed Quality Control, Government of Maharashtra, responded positively to the proposed action plan, recommended the denotification of obsolete varieties, and suggested that the state seed corporation (Mahabeej) work with State Agriculture Universities to obtain breeder/ foundation seed of improved varieties for seed production and distribution.


Photo: Aundekar, MAU

Ch Ravinder Reddy presenting the action plan for seed systems in Maharashtra.

Zinc Field Day highlights soil-plant-human nutrition link

It is estimated that the combined economic loss due to deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine in India would be 2.5% of the GDP. A similar study in China has shown that while the cost of solving the problem of iron and zinc deficiency would be less than 0.3%, Photos: PS Rao, ICRISAT the failure to solve this problem Dr WD Dar addressing farmers, researchers, policy makers and private could result in loss of 2-3% of the company representatives on Zinc Field Day. GDP. Hence, the need to achieve Bhoochetana project experience in Karnataka, where more nutritious food through micro-nutrient food production on 3.7 million hectares had increased supplementation and food fortification,” said Director by 20 to 66% by adopting soil test-based nutrient General William D Dar. management options, improved cultivars and soilwater management practices. He also stressed the Dr Dar was addressing farmers, researchers, policy importance of new and challenging scientific makers and private company representatives who developments such as nano fertilizer technologies and were participating in the Zinc Field Day organized increased bioavailability of plant nutrients through jointly by ICRISAT and Sabanci University, Istanbul, gluconated formulations using micro-organisms. Turkey on 1 August at the ICRISAT headquarters. The occasion was meant to enhance awareness among Dr Levent Ozturk from Turkey presented a paper on farmers and other stakeholders about the role of zinc “Why plants need zinc”, highlighting the importance and other micro- and secondary nutrients in of zinc in many enzymes involved in metabolic sustainable agriculture, and to assess the research and processes and brain development in human beings. development gaps for achieving food and nutritional Scientists from the Central Research Institute for security through sustainable development. Dryland Agriculture, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Directorates of Oilseeds, Pulses and Rice, Stressing the need for a holistic solution to National Institute of Nutrition, Harvest Plus, micronutrient deficiency in food produce, Dr Dar Department of Agriculture, India Zinc Program of the said, “Genetic improvement alone cannot solve the International Zinc Association, and ICRISAT problem of micronutrient deficiency. We need to participated actively in the presentations. ensure that there is sufficient availability of these nutrients in the soils to be taken up by the improved Farmers had a number of queries on the cultivars through genetic enhancements for presentations and had the opportunity to interact increased micronutrient uptake.” with the scientists. The farmers also visited field experiments and other facilities on the campus. In a Welcoming the participants, Dr Suhas Wani, Assistant separate interaction between scientists, research and Research Program Director and Principal Scientist development gaps were identified and it was agreed (Watersheds) described the link between soil to develop a framework to address human nutrition nutrition, plant nutrition, animal nutrition and human through holistic development of soil, plant and animal nutrition for sustainable development. “Adopting science-based interventions through balanced nutrient nutrition. One hundred and seventy farmers and thirty three scientists, extension officials and private management is critical to producing more and better company representatives participated in this event. g food,” Dr Wani underlined. He also elaborated on the

Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

Participants of the Zinc Field Day at the ICRISAT headquarters. ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 2 AUGUST 2013 1582 3

Modern genomics for greater crop productivity and nutritional security

Today, about 70% of the food-insecure population lives in developing countries, mostly as small-scale and subsistence farmers. To achieve global food security, the development of crop varieties that Photos: PS Rao, ICRISAT produce high yields in Dr WD Dar delivering his inaugural address at the training course on Modern harsh climatic conditions genomics for crop improvement held at ICRISAT headquarters. will be a key strategy,” said Director General William Dar, inaugurating the 10th Course coordinator and Director, Centre of course on “Modern genomics for crop improvement” Excellence in Genomics, Dr Rajeev Varshney, being held at the ICRISAT headquarters from 22 July introduced the course: “This training course will not to 9 August. train participants in data generation, instead, it will offer hands-on-training in data analysis for leading “Plant breeders can apply genomics tools for modern genomics and breeding approaches, developing superior varieties in order to ensure namely marker-assisted backcrossing, markerincrease in productivity and nutritional and food assisted recurrent selection, genomic selection, security,” added Dr Dar, underlining the importance genotyping-by-sequencing and genome-wide of capacity building in modern genomic tools. association studies.” Welcoming the participants, Acting Deputy Director The course is being attended by 30 participants General for Research, Dr CLL Gowda, said, “Our from 15 countries namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, success will be measured by the success of our Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, partners. Therefore, it is important to empower our Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Egypt, Philippines, Brazil partners in modern science tools.” and India. It is jointly sponsored by ICRISAT for its partners in the CGIAR Research Program on Dr Stefania Grando, Research Program Director DrylandCereals and CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals, highlighted the importance of the GrainLegumes, and by the Department of training course and underlined how modern Biotechnology, Government of India for NARS genomics tools need to be part of national crop partners from India. g breeding programs.

Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

Participants of the training program.


ICRISAT Nigeria trains women groundnut oil processors


ime and labor consuming farm activities are the bane of every farmer. Hence new technologies that can eliminate drudgery as well as reduce costs and boost production are always welcome. ICRISAT Kano in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMA&RD), Abuja, conducted a training workshop for 25 women processors and 7 men artisans on 8 July on the use and Photo: H Ajeigbe, ICRISAT maintenance of one such A woman processor trying her hand at the oil milling machine. technology, the small-scale affordable, and linking processors with groundnut oil milling machine fabricated by Eng. manufacturers. Wada Dandago. Welcoming the participants, ICRISAT’s Country Representative for Nigeria and System Agronomist Hakeem Ajeigbe announced that ICRISAT is close to signing an agreement with FMA&RD to promote groundnut value chain development in the country. He emphasized the need to bring together input suppliers, producers, processors, marketers, and consumers supported by machine fabricators, adding that the training was a step towards reducing time wasted in processing, increasing production, encouraging manufacturers to come up with more high-tech machines to make processing more

Eng. Dandago demonstrated the machine’s use and gave maintenance and troubleshooting tips. He said that it would take about 10-15 minutes to extract the oil with the machine compared to two hours by manual extraction. The machine costs about N70,000 (US$443) and its spare parts are easily available since they are fabricated locally. It was agreed that more farmers and processors should be made aware of the use and availability of the new machine. Two women groups deposited an advance towards the purchase of the machine while others promised to source funds for the same. The Head of the Department of Tsanyawa Local Government Area said arrangements are being made to purchase 20 machines to be distributed to women groups in the area and requested ICRISAT to assist with training.

Photo: H Ehidiamhen, FMA&RD

An artisan demonstrates how to handle the machine.

Among those who attended the training were Henry A Ehidiamhen (Senior Agricultural Officer), Groundnut Value Chain, FMA&RD; Head of Department of Agriculture of Tsanyawa Local Government Area, Kano State; Hasfat S Ibrahim, leader of the Gurum Women Groundnut Processors; and Hajia Maimuna Mohammed El-Labib representing the Women Farmer Advancement Network. g ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 2 AUGUST 2013 1582 5

Protocols for regional integrated climate change assessment in AgMIP Project reviewed and refined


he South Asia Regional Project mid-term workshop carried out as part of the project on “Enhancing capacities of AgMIP South Asia regional projects through capacity building activities and knowledge sharing platforms” held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 22-26 July, was an exercise in reviewing the progress made and in building cohesiveness within and among regional AgMIP teams.

Photo: SV Prasadrao, ICRISAT

Releasing the “Handbook of climate change and agroecosystems” at the workshop.

Protocols for regional integrated climate change assessments were reviewed and refined, and specific plans were developed to carry out integrated assessments during the project. Discussions were held with stakeholders on the integrated assessment and Representative Agricultural Pathways (RAPs) and decision frameworks.

During the workshop, the AgMIP leadership team reviewed the fast track site results and protocols for the regional integrated assessment among the teams, and set goals for a regional training program dubbed as “AgMIP Home Stretch Sprints”. On-going activities were reviewed, future work plans discussed, and the need for a project extension and talks with the donor was explored. Sixty-eight participants from USA, Australia, France, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka took part in the deliberations. Stakeholders were invited for the first time to orient them on the project and explore the possibility of project outcomes contributing to policy recommendations to strengthen national agriculture development plans. Among the stakeholders who attended were the

Deputy Director General (Education), Indian Council of Agricultural Research; progressive farmers from Pakistan; Chairman, Sugarcane Research Institute, Sri Lanka; Director General, Ministry of Sciences, Government of Nepal; and other officials and representatives from NGOs in Nepal. The workshop was conducted by ICRISAT together with the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). A handbook on climate change and agroecosystems was also released during the workshop. A field trip-cum-exposure visit was organized to the Village Development Center of Chittalpole village in Bhaktapur district to familiarize the participants with local farming systems. Among those who spoke during the workshop were Dileepkumar Guntuku and Peter Craufurd (ICRISAT); Cynthia Rosenzweig, Jim Jones, John Antle, Peter Thorburn and Carolyn Mutter (AgMIP Leadership Team); Arvind Kumar (ICAR); and Yubak Dhoj (Ministry of Sciences, Government of Nepal). Other participants from ICRISAT included Drs Chukka Srinivasa Rao, Sumanth Kumar, Nedumaran, Piara Singh, Mr Prasada Rao, and Mr Venkateswara Rao. g Photo: SV Prasadrao, ICRISAT

Participants of the AgMIP South Asia workshop held in Kathmandu, Nepal. 6 ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 2 AUGUST 2013 1582

Chinese delegation explores groundnut production opportunities in Malawi to benefit smallholder farmers


team of academics and engineers from the People’s Republic of China visited ICRISAT-Lilongwe in Malawi on 17 July for a briefing on the status of groundnut production in the country. The visit was Photo: O Patrick, ICRISAT Photo: W Munthali, ICRISAT on the request of the Office The Chinese delegation with ICRISAT Visitors touring a groundnut rosette of the President, staff at Malawi. screening plot at ICRISAT- Lilongwe. Government of Malawi, to ICRISAT and the Department of Agriculture, seeking between China and Malawi, and Flopower. According to establish new partnerships to support extensive to the business proposal, the investment would investments in groundnut production and processing expand opportunities for up to 10,000 people along for Malawi’s local and export markets. the groundnut value chain. The Chinese delegation was led by Mr Zeng Zhao Xiu, Manager, Flopower (Ningde) Industry Limited and Prof Tang Zhao Xiu of the Fujian Academy of Sciences, along with some businessmen. The investment plan seeks to process up to 1 million tons of groundnuts, incrementally increasing it to 150 tons annually. Production would be based on a tripartite system involving smallholder farmers (for production), research and development partnerships

The visitors met both the Legumes Program Team in ICRISAT Malawi, and among others discussed opportunities for supporting the investments. The discussions identified four ICRISAT-bred but locally released varieties in Malawi to support the new industry, to be evaluated under irrigation this winter season. The team also discussed opportunities for exploiting existing seed systems in the country as well as postharvest processing and storage technologies. g

Doctoral thesis on ICRISAT’s groundnut mini core collection wins 2012 Jawaharlal Nehru Outstanding Award


thesis titled “Genetic variability and mapping of nutritional quality traits in groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.)” submitted by Dr Ganapati Mukri, based on the groundnut mini core collection developed at ICRISAT, has bagged the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Agricultural and Allied Sciences. Instituted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, this prestigious award is meant exclusively for doctoral thesis related to agricultural sciences from an Indian University. Dr Mukri was working under the supervision of Drs HL Nadaf (UAS, Dharwad), Hari Upadhyaya (ICRISAT) and MVC Gowda (UAS, Dharwad). Dr Mukri identified 18 accessions with higher nutritional traits such as protein content, oil content, oleic acid and oleic (O) to linoleic (L) acid ratio with superior agronomic traits in the groundnut mini core collection. On the basis of higher nutritional and agronomic traits, 11 diverse accessions of subsp.

fastigiata and 10 of subsp. hypogaea were identified with more than two desirable trait combinations for use in groundnut breeding programs for genetic enhancement of nutritional traits. Dr Mukri constructed a linkage map for nutritional and oil quality traits using RILs of TAG 24 X GPBD 4 developed at UAS, Dharwad. g

Photos: ICAR

Dr G Mukri (left) receiving the award from Mr Tariq Anwar, Minister of State for Agriculture, Food Processing Industries, Government of India (far right). Also seen (2nd from right) is Dr S Ayyappan, Director General, ICAR. ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 2 AUGUST 2013 1582 7


Ms Oli Tooher-Hancock, a British/Irish national, joined on 29 July as Head of School (Principal), International School of Hyderabad (ISH). Oli has a Master’s degree in Education for International Schools from the Oxford Brookes University, and is nearing completion of her PhD in Educational Leadership with the Lehigh University (USA). She has extensive work experience in international schools and has worked in UK, Spain, China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Peru. Prior to joining ISH, she was Assistant Superintendent of the American School of Lima, Peru. She has worked extensively with diverse senior leadership teams, boards, teachers, and parent associations. She contributed to the IB for over 20 years, and is also an IB examiner.

Dr Murali Krishna Gumma, an Indian national, joined as Scientist, Geographic Information System/ Geospatial Science, on 1 August. Gumma has a PhD in Spatial Information Technology (Remote sensing/GIS) from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India. Prior to joining ICRISAT, he was Collaborative Research Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). He has expertise in mapping and spatial modeling in the fields of agriculture, water resources, natural resources and environment, which helps in characterizing spatial and temporal patterns of the effects of drought stress and other abiotic stresses. He had also worked at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) offices in Colombo, Sri Lanka and in Patancheru, India (2003-2010). Dr A N Rao, an Indian national, joined on 26 July, as Visiting Scientist, Research Program – Resilient Dryland Systems and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), at Patancheru. We welcome Oli, Murali and Rao to ICRISAT!

Sporting events for women

Visitors’ log

In the coming weeks, the ICRISAT Staff Recreation Club (ISRC), Patancheru will conduct Track & Field (50m, 100m 400m-relay, shotput and walking), badminton, table tennis, carroms, chess, bicycling and rangoli competitions exclusively for women. Participants may register their names via email to by 9 August. g

30 July: Eight students from the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot, Karnataka. 31 July: A five-member delegation led by Ms Xian Shaowen, Deputy Director General, Department of Agriculture, Guangdong Province, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. 1 August: Sixty students from Pragati Vidya Niketan, Pragatinagar, Hyderabad. 2 August: Sixty students from Pragati Vidya Niketan, Pragatinagar, Hyderabad.

ICRISAT-Patancheru (Headquarters) Patancheru 502 324 Andhra Pradesh, India Tel +91 40 30713071

ICRISAT-Liaison Office CG Centers Block NASC Complex Dev Prakash Shastri Marg New Delhi 110 012, India Tel +91 11 32472306 to 08

ICRISAT-Nairobi (Regional hub ESA) PO Box 39063, Nairobi, Kenya Tel +254 20 7224550

ICRISAT-Bamako (Regional hub WCA) BP 320 Bamako, Mali Tel +223 20 709200

ICRISAT-Niamey BP 12404 Niamey, Niger (Via Paris) Tel +227 20722529

ICRISAT-Bulawayo Matopos Research Station PO Box 776 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Tel +263 383 311 to 15

ICRISAT-Lilongwe Chitedze Agricultural Research Station PO Box 1096 Lilongwe, Malawi Tel +265 1 707297, 071, 067, 057

ICRISAT- Kano PMB 3491, Sabo Bakin Zuwo Road Tarauni, Kano, Nigeria Tel: +234 7034889836

ICRISAT-Maputo c/o IIAM, Av. das FPLM No 2698 Caixa Postal 1906 Maputo, Mozambique Tel +258 21 461657

ICRISAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium

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