Happenings In-house Newsletter
25 October 2013 No. 1594
Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Director General WD Dar speaking at the launch of the two legumes projects at ICRISAT headquarters. Also seen are (L-R) Drs CLL Gowda, JS Sandhu and RK Varshney.
Legumes projects to develop improved varieties and disease management to benefit poor farmers in India
wo comprehensive, four-year, US$2-million legumes projects were launched recently to develop and identify improved varieties of chickpea and pigeonpea along with best practices in crop production and management. The overall goal is to enhance production and productivity of the two crops to benefit resource-poor, smallholder farmers in India. The projects “Developing chickpea cultivars suited to mechanical harvesting and tolerant to herbicides” and “Addressing Phytophthora blight disease: an emerging threat to pigeonpea production and expansion” are funded by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM). “Synergies and convergence of efforts and resources are essential to achieve greater heights in production
and productivity. Partnerships in research for development are the only way in which we can enhance the food and nutritional security and income generation of underprivileged farmers,” said Director General William D. Dar during the launch of the projects at the ICRISAT headquarters on 16 October. Also speaking on the occasion, India’s Agriculture Commissioner, Dr JS Sandhu said, “I am very pleased about this partnership between NFSM, ICRISAT and other organizations within the national agricultural research system – a partnership that will lead to the improvement of productivity and production of chickpea and pigeonpea, the main sources of protein for more than a billion people in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.” He also highlighted NFSM’s mission and objectives to increase pulse production in India. to page 2 ...4
Legumes projects to develop improved ....from page 1
Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Participants of the projects’ launch.
Welcoming the participants, Dr Rajeev K Varshney, Research Program Director – Grain Legumes appreciated the much needed initiative to enhance chickpea and pigeonpea productivity. Dr CLL Gowda, Deputy Director General – Research, thanked Dr Sandhu for his commitment in improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, particularly those in the drylands of India. Project coordinators Drs Pooran Gaur and Mamta Sharma presented the overview of the chickpea and pigeonpea projects, respectively. Work plans for the first year activities of the projects were also finalized.
The projects’ implementation partners include: ICRISAT, Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Punjab Agricultural University, Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, University of Agricultural Sciences – Dharwad, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Banaras Hindu University, and Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University. These projects will be undertaken under the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes. g
Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) 2014 to be held in Abu Dhabi
or the first time, the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) 2014 to be held in Abu Dhabi on 3-5 February 2014 will present the world’s largest collection of game-changing sustainable agriculture innovations and bring together experts, investors and suppliers to show how thinking out of the box and thinking big can feed the world. ICRISAT is a partner in this endeavor. Hosted by the city of Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the forum with the theme “Driving innovation for an agricultural revolution” will demonstrate how agriculture matters and how big ideas can be used to substantially increase food production in both arid and semi-arid climates and solve the world’s ever increasing food needs. The three-day event will have sessions devoted to how innovation transforms agriculture, agriculture as big business, big ideas, the big investment debate, the e-agriculture revolution, Africa as the frontier for arid farming, the NGO revolution, among others. 2 ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 25 OCTOBER 2013 1594
Among the leading speakers at the event will be Dr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Dr Frank Rijsberman, Chief Executive Officer of the CGIAR Consortium; and His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union. The Forum will have presentations on innovations, a demonstration zone, incubator zone, exhibitions, investment meetings, case studies, seminars and workshops, and technical tours. For details, see http://www.innovationsinagriculture. com g
ICRISAT participates in climate change symposium, explores collaborative opportunities with Sri Lanka
he current status of agriculture, risks of climate change, and strategies for sustainable agricultural development in Sri Lanka figured prominently at the 15th Annual Symposium of the Department of Agriculture (ASDA), held at the Plant Genetic Resources Center, Gannoruwa, Kandy in Sri Lanka on 7-8 October. “Science-led innovations are vital in tackling climate change risks through sustainable natural resource management, crop improvement, and empowering farmers through the Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) approach,” stressed Dr CLL Gowda, delivering the keynote address on behalf of Director General William D. Dar. Dr Gowda also presented an invited paper on ICRISAT’s grain legume research, highlighting the need for legume improvement in view of increasing climate risks. He focused on resilience building through a crop improvement strategy and stressed on the combination of adapted cultivars, improved crops and natural resource management practices, and access to inputs and finance for enhanced productivity and income. ICRISAT’s Dr KH Anantha, Scientist (Watersheds) presented a paper on integrated watershed management and the Bhoochetana model for sustainable natural resource management and productivity enhancement. Dr KB Saxena, Principal Scientist (Pigeonpea), also attended the symposium. Two ASDA 2013 awards, the Best Researcher and Best Agriculturist, went to two ICRISAT alumni, Drs Hemal Fonseka and Wasantha Chitral, respectively. Drs Gowda and Saxena also had detailed discussions with officials and staff of Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture on possible future collaboration. Among the topics discussed were the re-introduction of pigeonpea in the northern and eastern provinces of the country which has a large Indian population that consumes pigeonpea dhal; testing of short- to medium-duration lines in different agro-ecologies; testing of Maruca-tolerant lines; processing and value addition and linking farmers to markets; testing heat-tolerant, short-duration chickpea varieties (desi and kabuli) in northern Sri Lanka in the dry season; strengthening current collaboration in groundnut improvement, mainly the medium-seeded confectionery types; fodder sorghum varieties; evaluating short-duration, blast-tolerant finger millet
Photo: HK Anantha, ICRISAT
DDG-R CLL Gowda delivering the keynote address.
varieties; and arrangements for Sri Lankan students to conduct their MSc and PhD studies at ICRISAT. Dr Saxena also visited research stations in Killinochhi, Maha Illupallama, and Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka where the development of agriculture is high priority and technical support from ICRISAT has been sought. Dr Gowda visited the Grain Legumes and Oilseeds Research Center in Angunakolapelessa in the southern province to review the groundnut improvement program and interact with the scientists. This year’s ASDA saw about 1,000 research and extension staff from Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture and some scientists from other countries attending. Among those who attended were Dr RRA Wijekoon, Director General of Agriculture; Mr W Sakalasooriya, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture; Mr Wasantha Yapa Abeywardena, private secretary to the Minister of Agriculture; and current and former Vice Chancellors of universities and government staff. g
Photo: HK Anantha, ICRISAT
Dr Hemal Fonseka (an ICRISAT alumnus) receives the Best Researcher Award from Dr CLL Gowda. ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 25 OCTOBER 2013 1594 3
Building capacity to develop climate resilient agriculture
ith a view to help empower highly vulnerable rural communities manage the risks associated with climate variability, an international training course was conducted for 14 national agricultural research system participants from the Democratic Republic of Congo and India on 7-18 October at the ICRISAT headquarters.
Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Dr WD Dar speaking at the valedictory program, while (L-R) Drs R Kaur, AVR Kesava Rao and CLL Gowda look on.
Topics covered during the training included: climate resilient agriculture, vulnerability and adaptation strategies, measurement of greenhouse gases in agriculture, climate change impacts on crop pests, climate projections and downscaling techniques, adapting agriculture to climate changes in east Africa, crop-growth simulation modeling, Integrated Agromet Advisories, crop insurance, ICT and abiotic stresses. Welcoming the participants, Course Coordinator Dr AVR Kesava Rao stressed the need to assess the impacts of climate variability on agriculture and to identify and promote suitable adaptation strategies. Course Director and Acting Research Program Director â€“ Resilient Dryland Systems, Dr SP Wani discussed the importance of building resilience through adaptation and mitigation strategies. He underlined the urgency of sharing technologies and experiences and building partnerships to build resilience citing the Bhoochetana and other watershed projects in India, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Philippines as examples.
Learning Systems Coordinator Dr Rosana P Mula in her address encouraged the participants to share their knowledge and explore opportunities for fellowships, student exchanges and internships with ICRISAT. Resource persons for the training included faculty staff of the Madras School of Economics, Chennai; Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru; Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi; Qatar Meteorological Department, Doha; Agricultural Insurance Corporation of India, Hyderabad; Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad; Directorate of Soybean, Indore; National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management, Baramati; India Meteorological Department, New Delhi; International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and ICRISAT at Patancheru and from Ethiopia. Director General William D. Dar and Deputy Director General â€“ Research Dr CLL Gowda attended the valedictory program. In his message to the participants, Dr Dar emphasized the need to understand the mind of the farmers and to bring in the social dimension to research. He presented the certificates of completion to the participants. g Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Participants of the international training course. 4 ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 25 OCTOBER 2013 1594
Research Management Committee on Dryland Cereals meets to devise strategies and work plans for 2014-15
embers of the Research Management Committee of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals met for the first time at the ICRISAT headquarters on 21-22 October to brainstorm and devise work strategies for the 2014-15 research activities and Phase II of the program. The Committee is part of the governance and management structure of the program, and will Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT lead its research portfolio. The Dr WD Dar speaking at the inaugural of the meeting. Also seen are Dr Committee is composed of seven Shoba Sivasankar (left) and Mr Serge Braconnier. Product Line Coordinators, Director of the Sorghum and Millets Innovation Lab, and a designate of the Director, Centre de emphasized the need to discuss research for coopération internationale en recherche agronomique development in the current phase of the project pour le développement (CIRAD), France. within the context of building towards the next phase. Throughout the two-day session, she Speaking during the inaugural of the meeting, reiterated that the seed for the basic research for the Director General William D. Dar emphasized the second phase should be built into the ongoing first importance of delivering the targets aspired for. He phase. also underlined that dryland cereals, apart from being a major source for calories, are also gaining While putting together the ideas and work plan for importance for their nutritional value, which would the next phase of the program, the members took serve as a critical selling factor for these crops. “It is stock of the progress and gaps. The committee also impacts that bring prosperity to the dryland farmers, brainstormed on the Intermediate Development and these impacts will determine whether we have Outcomes, Gender Strategy, and the Monitoring and succeeded or not,” he added. Evaluation Strategy that the program should adopt and follow. Chairing the discussions, Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals Mr Serge Braconnier from CIRAD actively participated in the meeting. Mr Ndiaga Cisse from the Centre d’Etude Regionale pour l’Amélioration de l’Adaptation à la Sècheresse (CERAAS), Senegal and Mr Ramesh Verma from ICARDA, Morocco – Product Line (PL) Coordinators for PL1 and PL5, respectively – participated in the meeting. g Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Participants of the meeting. ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 25 OCTOBER 2013 1594 5
Progress on climate change data collection evaluated
pproximately two years of data collection from eight project sites in Africa is coming to a close. The data collection process which began in January 2011 uses the ‘temperature analogue site’ approach to investigate what may happen to crop production in the future if temperatures rise. It has collected data from four pairs of sites, two in Kenya and two in Zimbabwe; each site in a pair with similar rainfall but different mean temperatures (by 2-3 Photo: ICRISAT degrees Celsius). So in theory, crop performance at the hotter site of the pair Participants of the CALESA project meeting held at Naivasha, Kenya. should reflect what the cooler site will be after the climate changes. Data from on-station trials, The meeting’s objectives were to evaluate progress household surveys and participatory exercises can be made in data collection from eight project sites and used to analyze actual crop performance, model to finalize tasks, responsibilities and a timetable for future yields under a range of predicted climate the production of the final report and ancillary change scenarios, and link these to farmers’ current publications and materials. and likely future strategies, disaggregated by gender, Project partners from ICRISAT Bulawayo, Addis Ababa for dealing with the effects of climate change. and Nairobi offices; the Kenya Agricultural Research The CALESA project (Adapting Agriculture to Climate Institute; Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Change: Climate Analogue Locations in Eastern and Germany; and Midlands State University, Zimbabwe Southern Africa) funded by GIZ held its end-of-project attended the meeting. g meeting on 16-18 October at Naivasha, Kenya.
ICRISAT and Agrinnovate explore collaboration on soil/ water and tissue testing laboratories and seed/farm centers
CRISAT and Agrinnovate are exploring the possibility of collaborating in the areas of setting up soil, water and tissue testing laboratories in Nairobi, Kenya; an Agricultural Seed Production-cumDemonstration Center in the Republic of Rwanda; and Farm Science Centers, as part of efforts to implement three approved proposals under the ICRISAT South-South Initiative (IS-SI) platform.
of External Affairs (Government of India) have identified the location of four sites in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Liberia and Burundi. ICRISAT’s South-South Initiative provides a platform for focused and systematic international relationships critical for a more effective and inclusive development cooperation between India and Africa. g
A meeting was held recently between Dr Dileepkumar Guntuku, Coordinator, IS-SI and Global Leader, Knowledge Sharing and Innovation; Dr G Narendra Kumar, Director, Country Relations and Business Affairs; and Dr Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, Agrinnovate on moving the proposals forward. Agrinnovate is interested to partner with ICRISAT, given the latter’s presence in the regions, in implementing the proposals. Under the project, eight Farm Science Centers are to be set up in different regions of Africa. The African Union and the Ministry 6 ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 25 OCTOBER 2013 1594
Dr Dileepkumar handing over the IS-SI brochure to Dr Pandey, with Dr G Narendra Kumar.
Training on the use of GPS Juno for biomass assessment
he GPS Trimble Juno 3D is an efficient and effective way of controlling data quality and data entry errors in emergency responses and other scenarios which require the real-time picture of any given situation. Under the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems, a training program on the use of the GPS Trimble Juno 3D was conducted in Niger and Nigeria to ensure that implementing teams from these countries are well-equipped in the use of the protocol to standardize procedure and collect data. The training program was held on 15-16 Photo: ICRISAT September in Zango Daura (Katsina), Nigeria, for Field testing of the data collected using the data dictionary. partner representatives from Bayero University of Kano, ICRISAT Niger, and the Institut National de la Yagtuori (Ghana). A Farm Household Survey and a Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN). Full Biomass Assessment have to be completed in those sites by the year end. The participants were trained in data entry using a “data dictionary” created in Juno Trimble GPS. The During the Inception Phase of the program in 2012, a sessions consisted of presentations on procedures Full Biomass Assessment Protocol was developed and approaches developed in the protocol document containing guidelines pertaining to procedures and based on a case study of Kani site (Mali). A field test approaches for conducting a Rapid Rural Appraisal, was organized in Ishiyawa (Nigeria) where data was annuals biomass assessment, perennials biomass recorded using a GPS. This was followed by assessment, landscape-based sampling design, and discussions and observations from participants, data collection sheets. The protocol was tested in which were used to revise and finalize the protocol. some localities like Oumarbugu in Mali and Tolon Kumbugu in Ghana from October to November 2012. The year 2013 activities of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems are being implemented The training on the use of the GPS Trimble Juno 3D in four of the five targeted action sites, namely Kani was conducted by ICRISAT Scientific Officers Ibrahim (Mali), Ishiyawa (Nigeria), Gourjia (Niger), and Maikano and Manda Sissoko. g
Ms Kanika Singh, Research Fellow, Knowledge Sharing and Innovation, received a fellowship for early stage researchers and students from the Max Planck Society and Right to Research Coalition. The fellowship will allow Ms Singh to participate in the first-ever satellite conference to the Berlin 11 Open Access meeting on 18 November in Berlin, Germany. The meeting brings together leading voices in the Open Access community for discussions around the current state of Open Access and the unique challenges and opportunities students and early stage researchers may face in the transition to Open Access. g
New assignment Ms K Sai Lakshmi, Administrative Officer, Research Program – Grain Legumes, has been transferred to the CGIAR Research Program Director’s Office effective 21 October. She can be contacted at ext # 2084.
Badminton for women - winners Singles Winner: G Sunita Runner up: G Alekhya
Doubles Winners: P Sri Lakshmi and C Jyothi Runners up: G Sunita and R Ragini ICRISAT HAPPENINGS 25 OCTOBER 2013 1594 7
Welcome Dr Bakary Djaby, a Burkinabe national, joined as Senior Scientist, Dryland Systems and Livelihood Diversification (WCA), Niamey, Niger, on 14 October. He has a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Liege, Belgium. Prior to joining ICRISAT, he was Researcher in the same university, where he worked on crop growth modelling with remote sensing applications, setting up CGMS (JRC tools), development of yield forecast models and MSG land SAF evapotranspiration integration on crop growth models.
Dr Hailemichael Shewayrga Desmae, an Australian national, joined as Scientist – Groundnut Breeding, in the Research Program – Grain Legumes, Bamako, on 15 October. He has a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics from The University of Queensland, Australia. Before joining ICRISAT, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Quantitative Genetics and Crop Improvement at the University of Queensland, responsible for developing and managing database as well as methodologies and analysis for multi-environment trials (MET) data.
ICRISAT welcomes Bakary and Hailemichael and their families to ICRISAT!
Visitors’ log 21 Oct- 25 Oct: A nine-member group from the Development Academy of the Philippines visited ICRISAT. Their main interest is supply-chain analysis of identified agricultural commodities in six countries including India. 21 October: Sixty-four students from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur- Karnataka; 6 students from Karuna High School, Sangareddy; 32 trainees from the School of Nursing, Military Hospital, Secunderabad; and 46 students from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Rampur, Nepal.
Photo: MM Sharma, ICRISAT
22 October: Fifty-two students from Matrusri E & L School, Hyderabad; and five science teachers from the International School of Hyderabad (see picture).
24 October: Fifty students from Rita High School, Miyapur and 67 students from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur.
23 October: Thirty-five students from Dr D Rama Naidu Vignana Jyoti Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad.
25 October: Forty students from Kerala Agricultural University and 30 farmers from Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh.
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