No. 1428 20 Aug 2010

Tanzanian Farmers Prefer Improved Pigeonpea and Chickpea

Tanzania ICCV 00305, a farmer-preferred variety both for grain and livestock feed in Tanzania.

Treading the inclusive market oriented development pathway, Tanzanian farmers prefer varieties that provide them food security and cash from the markets of neighboring urban areas. In recent joint visits, ICRISAT-Nairobi and Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) scientists found that farmers from the Northern Tanzania region prefer early maturing pigeonpea to benefit from the prevailing high market price and chickpea varieties that feed the farmer and also serve as fodder for the livestock. The enthusiastic farmers are now gearing up to increase the acreage under these two crops.

Tanzania is one of the countries selected under the Tropical Legumes II (TL-II) and Treasure Legumes Projects for improving productivity and market opportunities for smallholder farmers producing pigeonpea and chickpea. SARI, based in Arusha and serving the Northern Zone of the country is one of the key partners in Tanzania for both the projects.

Ganga Rao and Mohamed Somo of ICRISAT-Nairobi and Rose Ubwe of SARI visited the on-farm and on-station experiments of pigeonpea and chickpea to monitor the progress from 29 to 31 July.

In pigeonpea, 38 Farmer Participatory Varietal Selection (FPVS) trials are being evaluated under TL-II in different districts (Babati-10, Karatu-10) and Treasure Legumes Project areas (Kondoa-10, Arumeru-8) with six long and two medium duration varieties.

Tanzania Rose Fratern Muriang in her pigeonpea field.

In addition to the FPVS, 204 large-scale demonstration plots have been established to create awareness among farming communities about production potentials of high yielding varieties. In order to promote seed systems, seed production was taken up on-station at SARI with farmer groups and individual progressive farmers under a revolving seed scheme.

In chickpea, 15 FPVS trials are being evaluated in Arusha District Council (5), Karatu (5) and Arusha Municipality (5) with two desi and four kabuli varieties under Treasure Legumes Project. On 29 July the team visited Karatu District and monitored chickpea and pigeonpea on-farm trials and found that farmers prefer the early maturing ICEAP 00932 pigeonpea.

The very next day they visited Babati District and monitored pigeonpea on-farm trials. One of the farmers who adopted improved varieties and is reaping the benefits is Rose Fratern Muriang. She is constructing a new house and has been elected as a municipal councilor.

Rose planted over 50 acres of pigeonpea with ICEAP 00053 and ICEAP 00040. She explained that the demand for pigeonpea is very high and that 100 kg of grain was selling at 140,000 to 160,000 Tanzanian Shillings.

Another pigeonpea farmer who adopted ICRISAT pigeonpea varieties in Babati district likes the ICEAP 00936 variety for its heavy pods. On 31 July, the team visited Treasure Legumes project chickpea sites in Arumeru district.

Mzee John on the outskirts of Arusha was selected to be one of the PVS farmers. Despite his background being in livestock rearing, he is happily selecting chickpea varieties that meet the needs of both his food and his livestock. He will expand the acreage of his pigeonpea crop to 5 acres.

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ICRISAT to host Hyderabad Pulses Conclave

ICRISAT and AgriWatch-New Delhi will be jointly organizing the Hyderabad Pulses Conclave-2010 on 4 and 5 September in Patancheru. The Theme of the Conclave is Pulses Production, Research and Beyond. The main objective of this conclave is to bring all the stakeholders in pulses production and distribution under a common platform to introspect, retrospect and chart a future plan of action.

About 200 delegates associated with pulses improvement research and industry (government, non-government, corporate, global trade houses, millers, machinery manufacturers, research institutions, nutritionists, food experts, wholesalers and foreign trade missions) are expected to attend.

The inaugural session will be held on 4 September from 0930 to 1115. Dr William Dar will deliver the keynote address. The Andhra Pradesh Minister for Agriculture, N Raghuveera Reddy, will be the Chief Guest.

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Karnataka farmers visit ICRISAT

karnataka farmers Dr William Dar with farmers from Bijapur district of Karnataka.

It was a poignant moment for the farmers from Karnataka when Director General William Dar told them that his heart bleeds for farmers, especially the poor. The sense of appreciation then broke into an applause when he said he would like to visit and stay in their villages to know them better.

This emotional interaction took place when Dr Dar met a small group of farmers from Markabbinahalli and Kappanimbargi villages in Bijapur district of Karnataka state in India on 17 August in Patancheru. They are part of a big contingent of a 103-member group who are on an educational trip from 16 to 20 August.

Their visit was the first in the series of farmers’ educational tours planned for 18 SAT India villages this year under the Tracking change in rural poverty in village and household economies in South Asia project (in short, the Village Dynamics in South Asia, VDSA, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The group comprised respondent farmers as well as non-respondent but key participants in the project.

Dr Dar said that the VDSA project provided a two-way, effective means of learning to scientists from farmers and vice-versa. The visiting farmers felt extremely fortunate to have interacted with the Director General. They expressed their deep sense of gratitude by wholeheartedly inviting him to visit their villages.

VR Kiresur, with encouragement from Cynthia Bantilan and logistic support from GD Nageswara Rao and two resident field investigators, TS Desai and BY Birukal, organized the visit. In addition to ICRISAT, the itinerary included visits to Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gulbarga; Veterinary University, Bidar; University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur; and Regional Research Station, Bijapur.

CLL Gowda, VR Kiresur and Ashok Alur addressed the visiting farmers and answered their queries in their mother tongue (Kannada) while Murli Sharma, Manager, Visitors and Travel Service, effectively facilitated the visit through video shows, visits to exhibitions, fields and the VLS data bank, as well as through interactive sessions with scientists.

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Watershed Management Training course for policymakers and senior government officials

A course on participatory monitoring, evaluation and impacts of Integrated Watershed Management for 22 senior state government officials was conducted from 16 to 20 August at Patancheru. This course enhanced the awareness of policymakers and senior watershed development officials on integrated watershed management. The participants came from 12 states in India that are implementing integrated watershed management programs.

Training for policymakers Dr Dar addressing the policymakers.

In his inaugural address, Director General William Dar stressed on making watersheds the engines for agricultural development in rainfed areas. He highlighted the need for proper monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment of integrated watershed programs. Moreover, he urged the group to take into consideration the challenges posed by climate change in watershed management.

P Pathak explained the objectives of the program and welcomed all the participants. Faculty members from ICRISAT, IWMI and MANAGE gave presentations during the workshop. Interactive sessions were held on a range of topics such as Impact assessment of watersheds, Impact monitoring (data collection, quality and analysis), Bio-physical and environmental impact assessment, Monitoring and impact assessment using high science tools and socio-economic impacts.

The participants visited the ICRISAT farm and the Adarsha watershed in Kothapally for on-field learnings.

The course was organized by SP Wani and team in partnership with the Learning Systems Unit.

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Kenya holds HOPE planning meeting

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) held a country planning meeting on the project, Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of sorghum and finger millet for eastern and southern Africa on 12 and 13 August at the KARI headquarters in Nairobi.

The meeting organized by the Kenya HOPE country coordinator Chris Oduori was to give the country project team, collaborating partners and key stakeholders an opportunity to understand the rationale of the project and what it promises, to deliver the progress achieved so far and the way forward.

The meeting attracted the major key stakeholders; KARI scientists from the HOPE participating districts, ICRISAT scientists, representatives from Africa Harvest and the private sector. A total of 24 (16 men and 8 women) participated in the meeting.

In his opening remarks, the KARI deputy Director, Joseph Ochieng observed that finger millet, once referred to as an orphan crop, is an indigenous crop of immense benefits and should be promoted. Mary Mgonja, representing Said Silim, Director ICRISAT-ESA, outlined the history of the project and informed the participants that the project uses a new integrated value-chain approach that links market “pull” to technology driven production.

Introducing millet activities in the country, Oduori gave the national production statistics, the current projects on finger millet and some of the achievements. A number of KARI scientists reported the finger millet production status in their respective districts; Franklin Simtowe, Henry Ojulong, Christin Schipmann and Mary Mgonja gave outlines and progress on objectives 1, 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

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ICRISAT participates in ICAR Industry Meet

The Agri-Business Incubator at ICRISAT participated in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Industry Meet 2010 held on 28 and 29 July at the National Agricultural Science Centre complex, ICAR, New Delhi.

ICAR industry meet Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar at the ABI-ICRISAT stall in New Delhi.

The meet focused on showcasing the technologies developed by the ICAR institutes. ABI-ICRISAT, being the mentor of ten Business Planning and Development (BPD) Units established under the National Agricultural Innovation Project, coordinated the activities of BPDs in exhibiting their technologies and in clinching business deals with visiting industries.

The event was inaugurated by Sharad Pawar, the Union Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India. The Minister visited the stalls and interacted with the BPD managers on the technologies developed by various ICAR institutes including seed and planting material; diagnostics, vaccines and biotechnological products; farm implements & machinery, post-harvest engineering and value addition activities.

The inaugural session started with the pleasant welcome address from Rajiv Mehrishi, additional Secretary Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Secretary, ICAR. S Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR, in his brief speech, insisted on agri-business incubation for the agro-industry and farming community.

KV Thomas, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, stressed the need for improving the status of agriculture as a business. Sharad Pawar, while delivering the inaugural address said, “While the technology can be developed in the public sector organizations, the private sector, where the necessary experience, competencies and tools are more readily available, can be associated in commercialization, marketing, and distribution.”

S Mauria, Assistant Director General (Intellectual Property & Technology Management), ICAR, proposed the vote of thanks. During the meet, ABI-ICRISAT generated about 60 business leads to the BPD units in different technological arenas. Three companies have enrolled their firms as members in the BPD-Indian Veterinary Research Institute and three MoUs were signed with BPD-IARI.

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Assistant Director ESA selected

Alistair ESA

Alastair William Orr, Principal Scientist–Economics, Nairobi, is designated as Assistant Director, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), effective 16 August.

We congratulate Alastair and wish him a happy and successful tenure.

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Food Safety body collaborates with ICRISAT

The Chairperson of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), New Delhi, PI Suvrathan, visited Patancheru on 16 August for a better understanding and cooperation with ICRISAT on R&D and other areas involving processed food related ventures.

FSSAI collaborates with ICRISAT Dr Dar welcoming FSSAI Chairperson PI Suvrathan to ICRISAT.

Suvrathan was impressed by the seed business venture model through which rural entrepreneurs were benefitted. He was looking for a similar model in FSSAI for implementation, and discussed the possibility of ICRISAT training their staff members.

Further, he was apprised of the Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubaters initiative of ICRISAT. Kiran Sharma explained the ICRISAT-Department of Biotechnology’s Platform for Translational Research of Transgenic Crops. Saikat Datta Mazumdar discussed the use of sweet sorghum syrup in food products and its merits. Binu Cherian (HarvestPlus), Vijayraghavan (Sathguru Management Consultants) and Rami Reddy (BR Cooking Sprays) were also present for the discussion.

In a meeting with Dr William Dar, Suvrathan discussed the possible collaboration between ICRISAT and FSSAI. While appreciating the work of FSSAI, Dr Dar stressed the need for food safety in the developing countries for better health. He extended the Institute’s scientific expertise and capacity building skills on various fronts, and the aflatoxin detection kit for FSSAI initiatives.

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Seminar on EDP sparks interest in NutriPlus

A National workshop on Entrepreneurial Development Programs (EDPs) in food processing was organized by the National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ni-msme), Hyderabad on 13 and 14 August. K Rajeswara Rao, IAS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, inaugurated the workshop. Speaking at the workshop Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Technical Director, NutriPlus Knowledge Centre, stated that the focus of food processing EDPs should be to equip the prospective entrepreneurs with the relevant technical and managerial skills so as to enable them to meet the challenges of an emerging global Indian food industry. He urged ni-msme to tune their curriculum on EDPs in food processing to address new and innovative opportunities. Chukka Kondaiah, Director General, ni-msme proposed that they explore joint activities in the area of entrepreneur training and development.

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Ashok Alur receives Independence Day Award

The Government of Karnataka has honored Ashok S Alur, Project Coordinator, Global Theme on Crop Improvement, with the Independence Day Award-2010 on 15 August, the Independence Day of India. Dr Alur received the award during a public function organized by the District Administration; Bagalkot in Karnataka The award was presented to him by Govind Karjol, Minister for planning, Minor Irrigation and Statistics, Government of Karnataka in recognition of his contributions to agricultural research and development. Veeranna Charantimath, Member of Legislative Assembly, presided over the function.

Congratulations Ashok, you have done us proud.

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Annual Review Meeting on heat tolerance in chickpea

An Annual Review and Planning Meeting of the project Improving Heat Tolerance in Chickpea supported by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India under the Technology Mission on Oilseeds, Pulses and Maize was held on 17 August at Patancheru.

Chickpea review meeting Participants of the Annual Review Meeting of the project on heat tolerance in chickpea.

The project involves the partnership of ICRISAT (Pooran Gaur, CLL Gowda, Vincent Vadez, L Krishnamurthy, Nalini Mallikarjuna and Rajeev Varshney); Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur (SK Chaturvedi, PS Basu and SK Singh); Panjab University, Chandigarh (Harsh Nayyar); Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University, Jabalpur (Anita Babbar); and Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad (Veera Jayalakshmi).

The project has made excellent progress and identified germplasm breeding lines with high levels of heat tolerance. Some of the heat tolerant lines have produced over 2 tons grain yield per hectare under heat stress (temperatures above 350C).

Efforts are being made to understand the reproductive biology of heat tolerant and susceptible lines. GTL-Crop Improvement, CLL Gowda, in his opening remarks highlighted the importance of research on heat tolerance under the changing scenario of chickpea cultivation. Pooran Gaur (PI of the project), Harsh Nayyar, PS Basu, Nalini Mallikarjuna, L Krishnamurthy and K Suresh also made presentations. The project team also refined the workplan for

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