No. 1413 7 May 2010

Global Grain Legume Production to Improve

CLL Gowda CLL Gowda addressing the IFLRC on-behalf of Dr William Dar in Antalya, Turkey.

Over 400 grain legume scientists from all across the globe met at the 5th International Food Legumes Research Conference (IFLRC V) and the 7th European Conference on Grain Legumes (AEP VII) in Antalya, Turkey, on 27 April to put forth concrete steps that will greatly enhance production of grain legumes for the next 25 years.

ICRISAT was a co-sponsor of these conferences along with other international centers. The 10-member strong ICRISAT delegation to the conferences was headed by CLL Gowda, Global Theme Leader, Crop Improvement, who is also a member of the International Steering Committee and Scientific Committee of IFLRC V.

Director General Dr William Dar in his keynote address on Food and feed legumes - the next 25 years (presented by CLL Gowda), called for policies to increase the competitiveness of legume crops by providing subsidy to the producer and by strengthening the support structure. Other recommendations include:

  • Overcoming constraints of supply through generation and diffusion of right technologies
  • Strengthening crop improvement research
  • Developing cultivars tolerant to climate change
  • Putting in place efficient seed systems for dissemination of improved varieties
  • Promoting technical interventions, and
  • Improving conservation and water use efficiency.

Describing food legumes as a relatively inexpensive source of protein for the poor in the semi-arid tropics, Dr Dar’s address pointed out that legumes not only fight malnutrition, but also improve soil fertility and contribute to sustainable agricultural production. He attributed the reduction in production of pulses to drought, foliar diseases, aflatoxin contamination, limited adoption of improved technologies, and poor seed multiplication and distribution technologies. The limited role of the private sector and skewed domestic and international trade policies also contribute to the problem, he said.

Presenting the outlook to 2050, he said that poverty will remain the root cause of hunger and malnutrition. He forecasted that world population will reach the nine billion mark and the smallholder farmer will dominate agriculture in the developing world. Accordingly, he presented the pathways out of poverty that lead the farmer from an agricultural economy to urban economy through a period of transition. Enlisting ICRISAT’s support to the farmers, he explained the stages of transition experienced by some countries in Asia and Africa.

Other members of the ICRISAT delegation included: SN Nigam, KB Saxena, HC Sharma, S Pande, V Vadez, Pooran Gaur, HD Upadhyaya, Mamta Sharma and RK Srivastava.

Pooran Gaur was nominated (replacing CLL Gowda) as member of the International Steering Committee for IFLRC VI (to be held in 2015), representing ICRISAT. He was also elected as the Chair of the Scientific Committee for IFLRC VI.

back to top Back to top

Chinese Ambassador visits ICRISAT-Niamey

His Excellency Xia Huang His Excellency Xia Huang planting a sapling with Farid Waliyar.

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Niger, His Excellency Xia Huang, visited ICRISAT’s Sadoré research station, Niamey on 29 April. In his welcoming words, Regional Director Farid Waliyar reminded the visitor of the close relations between his country and the CGIAR, and recalled his association with China and the various conferences he had attended in that country.

Ambassador Xia Huang showed special interest in ICRISAT’s genebank, nursery, jatropha plantation, the vegetable breeding project and the school garden close to the research station.

He shared his detailed observations with Farid Waliyar on ICRISAT in general and West and Central Africa in particular. He emphasized that his learnings about ICRISAT have made him reflect on integrating the institution’s major works with China’s future activities in Niger.

A tamarind tree planted by His Excellency in front of the main entrance will stay as a reminder of his visit and possible strong collaborations in the future.

back to top Back to top

CGIAR Story Development Workshop in Rome

story developers of the CGIAR meet in Rome Story developers of the CGIAR meet in Rome.

Communication gurus of the CGIAR centers gathered in Rome last week to take part in a Story Development Workshop organized and sponsored by the CGIAR office and hosted by Bioversity International.

The objectives of the workshop were to

  1. Identify and develop story ideas from the CGIAR Centers for active promotion with international and national media,
  2. Develop tailored media plans for each Center’s outreach efforts, and
  3. Share knowledge, experiences and best practices on using social media for outreach and advocacy purposes.

The tightly packed agenda was developed in close collaboration with Burness Communications (an international media organization), and included a lively session with a journalist panel comprising representatives from Bloomberg, Associated Press, and Hurriyet (a Turkish news agency). Other important sessions included, What are the stories hiding in the CGIAR Centers? Findings versus Message; What goes into promoting a study? and “Pitching” Stories (complete with role playing and healthy criticism of each other’s stories with recommendations for improvement).

Participants included representatives from the CGIAR centers, the CGIAR Fund Office, Burness Communications and GFAR. Lydia Flynn, Senior Editor-in-Chief, represented ICRISAT. Of the three story ideas she presented (Heat Tolerant Chickpeas, Solar Powered Pumps in the African Market Garden, and Pomme du Sahel), the story on solar powered pumps won the consensus for further promotion in 2010.

back to top Back to top

Morocco explores collaborative research with ICRISAT

Mohammed Badraouil Mohammed Badraoui, SA Patil and A Ashok Kumar with DDG-R Dave Hoisington.

Mohammed Badraoui, Director General of the National Agriculture Research Institute (INRA), Morocco, along with SA Patil, Chairman, Karnataka Krishi Mission, visited ICRISAT Headquarters on 4 May, to explore opportunities of future collaboration between ICRISAT and INRA, Morocco.

The team interacted with CLL Gowda and Ashok S Alur, and later met DDG-R Dave Hoisington. The delegation included Fatiha Charradi, a representative from GROUPE OCP (the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of a Phosphate fertilizer exporting firm).

SAT venture The visitors appreciate ICRISAT’s work at the SAT Venture.

Badraoui appreciated ICRISAT’s research achievements and impacts and expressed interest in exploring possible collaboration with ICRISAT, both in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. SA Patil talked about the two collaborative project proposals between ICRISAT and the Government of Karnataka for the promotion of pulses in selected districts of Karnataka. The visitors were on their way to Gulbarga, Karnataka, where they are planning a few agricultural development projects.

An estimated 80% of Morocco’s arable land is arid or semi-arid. Morocco joined the CGIAR in 2002, and provides official support to the CGIAR through INRA. ICARDA, a sister CG Center, has a regional office in Rabat, Morocco.

The other visiting members included NV Ramana and S Chandra from the Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals, and Poonam Madan from Genesis Burson-Marsteller, a consulting firm.

back to top Back to top