No. 1388 13 November 2009

ICRISAT and China to further strengthen partnership

CAAS delegation The management group with members of the CAAS delegation.

ICRISAT and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) have pledged to further strengthen their partnership. This was decided at a key meeting between Director General Dr William Dar and senior delegates from CAAS led by Vice-President Luo Bingwen on 10 November. Earlier, the CAAS delegates also had an extensive meeting with ICRISAT’s Management Group.

The enhanced collaboration will cover natural resource management, crop improvement, germplasm exchange, genomics and capacity building. CAAS will also explore opportunities to increase funding from the People’s Republic of China for ICRISAT.

The long-standing partnership between China and ICRISAT was strengthened through the inauguration of a joint Center of Excellence for Dryland Agriculture at CAAS in Beijing on 4 August. ICARDA is also a partner in this initiative.

Dr Dar with CAAS Vice-President Dr Dar with CAAS Vice-President Luo Bingwen.

CAAS, established in 1957, is China’s apex national agricultural research organization and is directly affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture. It has the strategic task of engaging in China’s agricultural and rural development and empowering farmers with science and technology.

CAAS has about 10,000 staff members and 38 research institutes across 17 provinces, national municipalities and the autonomous regions. CAAS is also China’s premier agricultural science academy for international cooperation.

CAAS has about 10,000 staff members and 38 research institutes across 17 provinces, national municipalities and the autonomous regions. CAAS is also China’s premier agricultural science academy for international cooperation.

Wang Shumin, Lin Dingen, Feng Dong and Sun Jingsheng, were part of the CAAS delegation.

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Unemployed youth trained on Decentralized Crushing Unit

Under the National Agricultural Innovation Project’s (NAIP) sub-project on Value chain for bio-ethanol production from sweet sorghum in rainfed areas through collective action and participation, ICRISAT organized a training program on the operation and management of the decentralized crushing unit (DCU) for unemployed educated youth of Ibrahimbad villages in Medak district on 6 November.

unemployed youth of Medak district Belum VS Reddy interacting with the unemployed youth of Medak district.

The training was conducted for 28 participants that included 15 youth and 6 farmers from 7 Ibrahimbad villages, 3 village coordinators of Aakruthi Agricultural Associates of India and 4 research assistants from NAIP.

Belum VS Reddy, Principal Scientist (Sorghum Breeding) and the project principal investigator, inaugurated the training program and welcomed the participants. Citing the country’s youth as the key to its prosperity, he congratulated the young participants on coming forward to learn the operation and management of DCU.

The training program aims to foster public-private-people partnership and increase the livelihood options of rural families by encouraging the production of sweet sorghum and sale of its syrup to distilleries.

Dr Reddy urged the young participants to take advantage of the program and learn to manage the operations of the DCU through a farmers’ association.

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Visitors from Bioversity, Malaysia

Visitors from Bioversity Drs Leo Sebastian and Taek R Kwon with Director General Dar.

Drs Leo Sebastian and Taek R Kwon of Bioversity, Malaysia visited ICRISAT on 6 November. The two-member delegation met Director General Dr Dar and discussed about collaborating with the Rural Development Administration (RDA), a prominent Korean National Institute. Dr Kwon who is a Korean national, said that he will play a key role in forging bonds between the two institutions.


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ICRISAT signs MOU with Netherlands’ PTC+

Abdul Rahman Ilyas with Ben and Michiel Van Mil Abdul Rahman Ilyas with Ben and Michiel Van Mil, Directors PTC+

Stichting, Practical Training Center (PTC+) of Netherlands recently signed a memorandum of understanding with ICRISAT. PTC+ is a premier training center offering short term skill development training modules on agriculture. Its programs focus on all links in the plant-animal production chain and agriculture and food technology.

This MOU is expected to give ICRISAT an edge in agricultural training. PTC+ has already set up two training centers in India, in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

The Agri-Science Park @ ICRISAT has been exploring avenues for strategic collaboration with PTC+ to enhance its expertise. Directors of PTC+ visited ICRISAT in October 2008 and discussed with the DG, V Balaji (KMS) and Abdul Rahman Ilyas (ABI) about future initiatives. On 19 October this year Ilyas visited PTC+ and talked with Ben and Michiel Van Mil, Directors PTC+, about common areas of cooperation. A joint project with the Government of Andhra Pradesh was also discussed.

PTC+ at Stichting, Netherlands a not-for-profit foundation and a member of the Dutch Aeres group, which aims to share its knowledge and expertise with partner organizations. It began shortly after World War II, when the Dutch government wanted to ensure that the Netherlands becomes self-sufficient in food. This meant accelerating the mechanization of agriculture and the intensification of the livestock industry. Since it would have been too expensive to provide each school with its own vehicles and installations, the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Supply, Sicco Mansholt, decided to establish agrarian practical training centers.

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Australian senior scientist visits ICRISAT

Hans Lambers of University of Western Australia
Hans Lambers of University of Western Australia with SP Wani.

Dr Hans Lambers, Head, School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia and Editor-in-Chief, Plant and Soil, visited ICRISAT- Patancheru on 9 and 10 November. Director General Dr William Dar welcomed him and discussed strengthening collaboration between the University of Western Australia and ICRISAT.

DDG-R Dave Hoisington, Peter Nennes and SP Wani along with the Dr Dar briefed Dr Hans Lambers about the possible areas of collaboration. Dr Lambers expressed the desire to undertake joint research projects through the Australian Government fellowships to Indian students, with ICRISAT scientists serving as co-guides for the students. He also visited farm facilities at ICRISAT and Adarsha Watershed, Kothapally to assess potential areas of collaboration. He conducted a seminar on phosphorus nutrition and growth strategies of plants in the world’s most nutrient impoverished environments, which was very well attended.

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NutriPlus seminar on food extrusion technology

An interactive seminar on food extrusion technology was organized on 9 November, at Patancheru by the NutriPlus Knowledge Center, Agri- Science Park @ ICRISAT (ASP).

The focus of the seminar was the use of extrusion technology to develop value added food products. Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Technical Director, NutriPlus Knowledge Center, chaired the discussion and talked about the ongoing extrusion-based product development activities, in developing value added food products from ICRISAT’s mandate crops. He said that NutriPlus is planning to establish a pilot scale food extrusion facility at ICRISAT. This facility can be accessed by entrepreneurs, farmers and partners of NutriPlus and ASP.

Participants of the NutriPlus seminar
Participants of the NutriPlus seminar on extrusion technology at ICRISAT, Patancheru.

A detailed talk titled Twin screw extrusion technology and agri-food applications was presented by Patrice Breillot, Asia Pacific Market Manager, Clextral of France. Clextral is one of the worldwide technology providers in the area of food extrusion.

The participants were exposed to the latest innovations in the area of twin screw extrusion technology, product innovations and technical details of operating and successfully obtaining value added food products using the new technology.

A number of snacks and breakfast cereals prepared using the new technology were evaluated by the participants. MM Krishna, Senior Consultant –Human Nutrition, ASA shared the success story of the “dhal analogue”, a healthy and cost effective soya-based product developed using extrusion technology. A few prototypes of extruded products developed at NutriPlus, based on sorghum and pearlmillet were presented by Poshadri, Scientific Officer, NutriPlus.

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National Conference on marketing rainfed crops

P Parthasarathy Rao at CRIDA
P Parthasarathy Rao delivering the keynote address at CRIDA.

P Parthasarathy Rao of GT-IMPI delivered the keynote address on Marketing of rainfed crops in India at the 23rd National Conference on Agricultural Marketing organized by the Indian Society of Agricultural Marketing (ISAM) and Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) on 12 November.

Rainfed marketing is one of the three technical sessions for discussion at the conference. The other two are on Impact of global markets on Indian agro-markets and Development role of marketing incentive for agricultural produce.

Dignitaries gracing the conference included Abhijit Sen, Member Planning Commission; Radhakrishna, Chairman, National statistical Commission; B Venkateswarlu, Director, CRIDA; VP Arora, Vice-Chancellor C Kumaun University and delegates from the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development and Marketing Departments.

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Training workshop on maintenance breeding

A five-day training workshop on variety identification, variety description and maintenance breeding of sorghum, rice, cowpea and sesame was organized under the auspices of the West Africa Seed Alliance at the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) in Zaria, Nigeria from 26 to 30 October.

The purpose of this workshop was to strengthen the capacity of breeders of the National Agricultural Research Council (NASC) and seed production personnel of private seed companies. IT Tarimu, the director of IAR, inaugurated the workshop and the keynote was given by BY Abubakar, Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria. Abdul Aziz Niane, Senior Seed Specialist from the Seed Unit of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas conducted the training and provided detailed manuals and handouts.

Participants were trained on different breeding methodologies, principles of breeding for self- and cross-pollinated crops, varietal maintenance, breeder seed production, varietal description and their notation, varietal quality assessment, introduction to International Union for the Protection of New Varieties (UPOV) of Plants guidelines for data collection on different crops; introduction to DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) testing and related UPOV guidelines; production of foundation seeds and their post-harvest quality assurance.

The class room interactions were coupled with field visits where trainees were given practical assignments for all four crops on varietal identification and their maintenance. Visits to seed production farms, seed testing laboratories and processing plants were organized to increase awareness of importance of post-harvest technologies involved in seed production and quality assurance.

This national level workshop in Nigeria benefited 40 participants from nine seed companies, National Agricultural Research Station breeders (IAR, NCRI and NIHORT), NASC officials and seed production officers.

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Training course on application of genomics

The sixth training course of the ICRISAT-Center of Excellence in Genomics Application of Genomics Technologies in Plant Breeding sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, will be held from16 to 27 November at the 212 CF Bentley Conference Center in Patancheru. Twenty-nine participants from ICAR Institutes, Government Organizations, State Agricultural Universities, Private Sector, Regional Research Stations and six overseas participants from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania will participate in this two week course.

The DBT is supporting 21 Indian scientists, while 4 African participants are supported by Kirkhouse Trust (UK), HOPE and ICAR Projects are supporting 3 scientists and the lone participant from Nigeria is self supported.

This course will cover experimental design, molecular diversity assessments to gene/trait mapping, association mapping and analysis and marker-assisted breeding. The participants will have hands-on experience on use of several genomic data, analytical tools and software. The course also includes several lectures and demonstrations on genomics technologies and related fields from both external and internal resource persons from the Global Themes Biotechnology and Crop Improvement.

More details about the course can be obtained at or by contacting Rajeev Varshney (2305) or KDV Prasad (2367).

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Agri-Science Park to receive Award

Maryland India Business Roundtable (MIBRT) has selected the Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT for the Global Best Agri-Science Park of the Year Award. MIBRT is a non-profit, public-private partnership organization established in Maryland, USA, to promote business and association between the state of Maryland and India.

The MIBRT Award will be presented to ASP by Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland on 19 November at Greenbelt, Maryland. Members of the MIBRT Board including Senator Brian E Frosh, Attorney General Douglas F Gansler, and Executive Director Elisha Pulivarti will also be present on the occasion.

This award is being given to ASP for its outstanding service in promoting science and technology research. ASP shares ICRISAT’s commitment to attaining the Millennium Development Goals in food security, poverty alleviation and environment protection, through public-private partnerships.

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