No. 1450 21 January 2011

Malawi Releases Medium Duration Pigeonpea Variety

Malawi The medium duration pigeonpea variety ICEAP 01514/15.

The Government of Malawi, through its Agricultural Technology Clearing Committee (ATCC), officially released medium duration pigeonpea variety ICEAP 01514/15 for use on 18 January. The variety, the result of long, patient and diligent team work between researchers at ICRISAT-Nairobi, ICRISAT-Malawi and the Chitedze Research Station at Lilongwe, Malawi, will be used for cultivation in intercropping systems of maize, groundnut and soybean in Central and Northern regions of Malawi.

A true product of international cooperation, ICEAP 01514/15 comes from diverse parents – ICPL 87091(of Asian origin, short duration variety with consumer preferred cooking traits) and ICEAP 00068 (a medium duration variety released in Tanzania). It matures in about 151-190 days. Each pod contains 6-7 large white/cream seeds, and the shellability of green pods is excellent, making it highly preferred by farmers. It is also a high yielding variety, with a yield of 7-10 t ha-1 for immature grain and 2.0-3.5 t ha-1 for dry grain.

ICEAP 01514/15 is relatively less susceptible to insects and is tolerant to most common leaf diseases. However, it is less tolerant to Fusarium wilt, and is therefore recommended for less disease prone areas like the Central and Northern regions of Malawi.

Malawi Malawian woman with pigeonpea variety ICEAP 01514/15 in the background.

ICRISAT Country Representative in Malawi, Moses Siambi, said in a message, “I would like to inform you that Dr Kananji (of Chitedze Research Station), who has worked tirelessly the past three years has finally gotten the medium duration pigeonpea variety ICEAP 01514/15 officially released in Malawi yesterday. It has been a difficult task since these types of materials are new in the region and subject to a lot of scrutiny by the Variety Release Committee. This makes it two pigeonpea varieties released within a year; the other variety – named “Mwaiwathualimi” was released at the same time last year.”

This brings to fruition the long road of breeding that was started in Kenya by Said Silim; while the adaptive testing and selection were done in Malawi by Said Silim, Eastonce Gwata, Geoffrey Kananji, Handsome Chipeta, Moses Siambi, Madzonga, and NARS staff who evaluated them for agronomic traits and adaptation.

The breeding work in Malawi was supported by the Kellog and Rockefeller Foundations, while the last two years of on-farm evaluation were also supported by the Government of Malawi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – TLII project.

Congratulations to our pigeonpea team in ESA!

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State Policy Makers Trained on Watershed Management at ICRISAT-Patancheru

Watersheds Participants examine the sediment measuring system during the field visit.

With the new common watershed guidelines in effect, ICRISAT conducted a course on “Integrated Watershed Management for State Policy Makers: Principles and Practices”, from 10 to 12 January at its headquarters in Patancheru.

Twenty-four participants from 13 Indian states implementing the integrated watershed management programs (IWMP) completed the course. The participants also visited the Adarsha watershed, Kothapally and got first hand insights on the community-based integrated livelihood approach adopted since 1999. They also interacted with farmers of the community.

The Chief Secretary-cum-Development Commissioner as well as the Commissioner of Watersheds, Government of Karnataka, attended the course. Learning sessions covered various areas of alternative land use systems, GIS and remote sensing for integrated watershed management programs, impact assessment methods, baseline characterization and data recording along with various soil and water conservation, and crop and pest management options for sustainable farm intensification.

Watersheds ‘Say Cheese’ Participants of the Capacity Building Course on watershed management.

The participants had practical exposure on recording weather parameters, measuring runoff and sediment loss, recording groundwater levels, vermi-composting and other productivity enhancement measures.

The capacity-building course, organized by the dedicated watershed team led by SP Wani, was well-received and concluded successfully.

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Training Course on Research Station Management

RSM Suresh Pillay explains farm machinery and operations to the participants of RSM.

A training course on Research Station Management (RSM) is currently underway at Patancheru. It began on 17 January and will conclude tomorrow, 22 January. This is the second time such a course is being conducted at the station.

As many as thirty-five participants including farm managers, scientists and technical officers from ICAR institutes attended the interactive lecture-cum-field demonstration oriented course. DDG-R Dave Hoisington, Rex Navarro, M Prabhakar Reddy and Rosana Mula inaugurated the course. In addition, several scientists and staff members of ICRISAT along with the Agri-Science Knowledge (ASK) group led by DS Bisht, SK Dasgupta and PM Menon, graced the inauguration.

The course was organized by the FETS and KSI-LSU groups together with the ASK Group, and is designed to equip farm managers with the essential technical and leadership skills for effective and efficient management of farms. The course is intended to create awareness among the farm managers about the sources of errors faced during experiments and how to avoid such errors. The course also equipped the trainees with the technical and managerial skills to meet the challenging demands of research scientists and staff.

RSM Participants of the RSM at ICRISAT-Patancheru.

In addition, the course content also included topics on developing communication skills, motivating employees, team building and managing teams, and harnessing the potentials of information technology. Participants expressed satisfaction of the course content and management of the various activities.

The course will be concluded with discussions on possible follow-up to determine the impact of the training.

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Agri-Business Incubator in KISAN 2010

ABI Visitors at the NIABI stall during the Kisan Mela, Pune, India.

The annual agricultural fair of the Kisan (farmer) Forum of Maharashtra, KISAN 2010, was held in Pune from 15-19 December, 2010. ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) participated in the event and promoted the Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubators (NIABI) to facilitate commercialization of the agro technologies of its NARS partner institutions to potential agripreneurs.

The five-day mela (fair), hosting stalls of 386 companies/organizations, received more than 200,000 visitors. Though the majority of the visitors were farmers, NIABI attracted a good number of young entrepreneurs who were interested in setting up agribusiness ventures. Around 230 people showed interest in NIABI technologies and the support that ABI could offer to potential agripreneurs. The exhibition was mainly of agro machinery companies, banks, government institutions, marketing portals and many other private players from the field of agriculture including participants from China and Israel as well.

NIABI partner institution in the Network, the Business Planning and Development (BPD) unit of CIRCOT also participated in the event for two days. Since Maharashtra is a cotton-growing belt, NIABI received many enquiries on technologies related to cotton and CIRCOT was able to generate nearly 23 leads out of the enquiries. The Seed Business Venture of ABI-ICRISAT also got a considerable number of enquiries. The queries and list of potential incubatees have been passed onto the respective BPD units for further action. During the event, more than 3000 people visited the NIABI stall. The mela helped in generating awareness about the concept behind NIABI and the role of ABI-ICRISAT.

Thanks to Villgro and volunteers from Pune University, Faculty of Management, Pune, who also assisted ABI in the exhibition.

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Global Annual Research Meeting at Patancheru

Kicking off the implementation of ICRISAT’s new Strategic Plan to 2020, a Global Annual Research Meeting (ARM) will be held at ICRISAT headquarters from 24 January to 4 February. This event will involve all senior scientists and key managers from all locations of ICRISAT.

The event will take up planning for the new Medium-Term Plan (MTP) for 2011-13, research priorities, critical focus areas, cultural change initiatives, ICT-KM sessions and individual scientist work plans for 2011. The event will start with a plenary session in the Ralph W Cummings Auditorium at 0900 on Monday. All managers and other interested staff members are welcome to join this session.

Details of the ARM program have been firmed up by the Research Committee (RC) and updates about the meeting can be viewed at the Global ARM section of the DDG-R Office page on the Intranet.

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Participants of 13th IASC Biennial Conference visit ICRISAT-Patancheru

IASC SP Wani talks about common property resources.

A group of participants from the 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for Study of the Commons (IASC) visited ICRISAT-Patancheru and Adarsha watershed, Kothapally, on 13 January as a pre-planned site tour after the conference.

Participants from seven countries visited Kothapally and interacted with the women’s self-help groups and farmers to understand the collective action in the various aspects of watershed management. After the field visit, the participants interacted with SP Wani to discuss topics of collective action, common property resourses and institutions for sustainable management of commons.

IASC Students of Cornell University at the chickpea demonstration plot.

Another group of visitors, 30 students from Cornell University, visited Kothapally and showed keen interest in two aspects. One group was drawn to the women’s self-help groups and learned more about social aspects, while the second group was interested in crop management and water conservation measures. Both the groups, coordinated by Dr Peter Hobs, saw rainwater harvesting structures, gully control structures, well recharge sites, vermi-composting, runoff and sediment sampler measurements as well as crop diversification with high value vegetable crops that uses drip irrigation for enhancing the water use efficiency.

All participants were exposed to the various activities of ICRISAT through the ICRISAT video and a visit to the SatVenture.

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