No. 1456 4 March 2011

ICRISAT inks agreement with Birsa Agricultural University

BioAsia 2011 Dr Dar and Dr NN Singh signing MoU for collaboration in R&D for legumes and other crops.

ICRISAT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Birsa Agricultural University (BAU), Jharkhand, India, on the promotion of science-based agriculture on 28 February. Director General William Dar and BAU Vice-Chancellor Dr NN Singh signed the MoU. The signing culminated a 2-day visit by the Dr Dar along with Program Director of the Grain Legumes Research Program CLL Gowda and Principal Scientist Suresh Pande.

Through the MoU, ICRISAT and BAU agreed to collaborate on: (1) the advocacy on the importance of dryland agriculture R4D in Jharkhand; (2) sharing dryland agricultural innovations; and (3) strengthening the capacity building of agricultural scientists and students.

Addressing the faculty members of BAU and journalists from Jharkhand attending the ceremony, Dr Dar said, “ICRISAT is trying to bring important partners in the development process for enhancing its work in rainfed environments throughout the globe and specifically in enhancing the production and productivity of grain legumes in the rainfed regions of India.” He further emphasized the sharing of teaching and research mechanisms by exchanging staff and researchers and collaboration on basic and applied research.

BioAsia 2011 Dr Dar speaks at the 5th Prof SC Mandal memorial lecture.

Through concurrence with India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST Seed Division), Ministry of Science and Technology, and in partnership with BAU, ICRISAT launched a project on enhancing the income of resource poor farmers through introduction and expansion of improved crop production technologies (ICPT) of chickpea and other crops (lentil, linseed, mustard, and field peas) in rainfed rice fallow lands (RRFL) in Jharkhand.

Almost 80% of Jharkhand's people are farmers. Although it contains 40% of India's mineral reserves, it has some of India's poorest people. In rainy season of 2009, the state was threatened by drought. The project, being planned since late 2010, is geared to improve the livelihoods of the poor farmers, will run for a period three years (2010-2011 to 2012-2013).

On the previous day, 27 February, ICRISAT and BAU conducted a chickpea field day at Village Lapser, Ranchi District. Addressing over 200 farmers, Dr Dar reiterated ICRISAT’s commitment that alleviation of the water crisis in the rainfed drylands can happen with the management of blue water and green water. He pointed out that “the challenge lies in integrating improved crop varieties, timely planting, fertilization, biotic and abiotic stress management, conservation agriculture, rainwater harvesting, supplemental irrigation in smallholder farming systems through active research and extension at the village level”. Dr Dar also honored tribal smallholder farmer representatives from the village of Lapser.

Later, Dr Dar delivered the 5th Professor SC Mandal Lecture titled “Innovation is Key to Agricultural Growth and Prosperity” to a large group of students, faculty, farmers representatives, government officials and the media.


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Climate Change project launched in Kenya

IFAD-ICRISAT Participants of the BMZ-ICRISAT project launch at Naivasha, Kenya..

ICRISAT, in partnership with the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Zimbabwe Meteorological Department (ZMD), Midlands State University (MSU) and Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, held an inception meeting for the project on 28 February and 1 March in Naivasha.

The project is entitled Adapting agriculture to climate change: Developing promising strategies using analogue locations in Eastern and Southern Africa (CALESA – Climate Analogue Locations in Eastern and Southern Africa).

The 3-year project (BMZ-ICRISAT) is funded by Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ).

DDG-R Dave Hoisington in the presence of Dave Harris, Principal Scientist, welcomed the participants and the Project Coordinator chaired the meeting.

The project has been designed to critically test ICRISAT’s hypothesis of hope, that the negative effects of climate change on resource-poor farmers can be mitigated and reversed by re-deployment of existing germplasm. In addition, it also aims at more widespread adoption of simple soil, water and crop management technologies, complemented through a series of modeling exercises and trials at four pairs of sites, each differing only in their mean temperature.

A complementary exercise through participatory interaction with farmers at the eight sites seeks to identify further the needs of farmers and the likely constraints on adoption of new technologies. By the end of the project, ICRISAT and its partners will be able identify effective climate change adaptation strategies and the principles necessary for their success.

After two days of lively and constructive discussions, the meeting agreed on criteria for site selection, work plans for the research and a series of action points and milestones for partners to achieve the objectives of the project. As part of an agreed information and communications strategy, a website has been developed ( where project information will be continuously updated.

The project is partnership based from design to implementation and each partner has skills that complement each other.

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ICRISAT to host Global Conference on Agribusiness Incubation

Geostatistical Analysis of Environmental Data course

For the first time ever, ICRISAT will host a three-day Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubation Conference (NIABI 2011), from 8 to 10 March at Patancheru. The mission of the NIABI is to enhance agribusiness development and impacts on agriculture through business incubation.

For the first time ever, ICRISAT will host a three-day Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubation Conference (NIABI 2011), from 8 to 10 March at Patancheru. The mission of the NIABI is to enhance agribusiness development and impacts on agriculture through business incubation..

Co-sponsored by the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and ICRISAT, NIABI 2011 aims to create global awareness, build competencies on agribusiness incubation among entrepreneurs, and establish global partnerships. Likewise, it will promote start-up agribusiness ventures for the benefit of farmers by establishing agribusiness incubators. In addition, it also aims to enhance the capacity of at least 60 incubator managers and enlighten policy makers and funding agencies on the roadmap for funding and support for the NIABI network. An exhibition featuring startup ventures will also be held throughout the conference.

Participation at NIABI 2011 will be by agricultural entrepreneurs, agribusiness incubators, agricultural research institutions, funding agencies, venture capitalists, entrepreneurship development organizations and government organizations from various countries.

The conference will highlight panel discussions by eminent speakers, experts, agricultural entrepreneurs and investors including networking opportunities with global leaders in agribusiness incubation and funding agencies.

Emphasizing the importance of the conference, Director General William Dar said, “The conference will serve as a platform for outlining the process and sharing experiences in incubating agribusiness ventures for agricultural development. It will also help promote agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations through partnerships, technology exchange, business development and funding. We expect important outcomes from the conference such as capacity building for agricultural entrepreneurs.”

The conference will also mark the launching of the Global Agribusiness Incubation Network (GABI), which will be spearheaded by ICRISAT and ICAR.

More details can be found on

International Women’s Day at Patancheru

As part of the three-day Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubation Conference (NIABI 2011) from 8 to 10 March at ICRISAT, a special session on women entrepreneurs in agribusiness and their role in agricultural development will be held on 9 March. The session will look at how to engage women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups to set up agribusiness ventures.
It will discuss their issues and requirements and how to develop solutions for them. The occasion is a good opportunity to promote inspiring stories of women in agriculture, demonstrating their entrepreneurial qualities in rural areas.

Women’s Day this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of Women’s rights, and this year’s theme is, “Equal access to Education, Training, Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent work for Women”.

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