No. 1476 22 July 2011

Two per cent farm growth rate necessary to ensure food security
Prime Minister Singh calls for India’s second green revolution

ICAR Prime Minister Singh with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at ICAR’s 83rd Foundation Day (Source:, underlining the need for a second green revolution to ensure food and nutritional security and improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers.


India produced record levels of food grain in 2010-2011 but would still need a second green revolution to feed its growing population, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on 16 July. Addressing the 83rd Foundation Day of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research in New Delhi, the Prime Minister underlined the necessity for a steady growth rate of 2% per annum in food production through the current decade to meet the projected need of 280 million tons by 2020-21 and to ensure food security.

Dr Singh saw the task as enormous, looking back at the fact that farm production had grown by just 1% each year from 1997 to 2007. Although farm production had regained momentum by growing at 3% in the 11th Plan period, this was below the 4% target. Congratulating scientists on ensuring self-sufficiency in food grains through a record 241 million tons in 2010-11, Dr Singh nonetheless said that the unmet targets in recent years had resulted in unacceptable levels of food price inflation.

Expressing concern over the plateauing of agricultural productivity over the years, the country’s dependence on imports for pulses and edible oils, and the prevalence of under-nutrition among women and children, Dr Singh said the country needed a more broad-based, inclusive and sustainable second green revolution and urged agricultural scientists to meet demand without depleting resources further.

Dr Singh suggested increasing the expenditure on agricultural research and development from the current 0.67% of the agricultural GDP to at least 2-3% by 2020 and re-examining the architecture of agricultural extension services. Dr Singh said the success of the second green revolution would hinge on management of water and climate changes. Underlining the critical role of rainfed agriculture, he said it was important to explicitly embrace dryland farming and integrate watershed development projects with new technologies.

“Our scientists must therefore work intensively to accurately assess the needs of our country, and develop new methods, new technologies and new knowledge for better soil and water management practices, improved cropping systems and better crop management,” he said.

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Partnership towards food and nutritional security
ICRISAT and ICAR to focus on India’s self-sufficiency in food grains

ICAR (Left to right) ICAR DG S Ayyappan, ICRISAT DG Dar and Dr Prabhat Kumar, ICRISAT Business and Country Relations Director during the meeting in New Delhi on 16 July.

The vigorous and enduring research partnership between ICRISAT and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) offers a synergistic response to the big challenge of providing adequate food, nutrition and source of livelihood to millions of poor households in India.

The 83rd Foundation Day celebration of ICAR held in New Delhi on 16 July set forth more opportunities to further strengthen ICRISAT-ICAR partnership. During this occasion, ICRISAT Director General William Dar met with ICAR Director General S Ayyappan to further strengthen collaboration on basic and strategic research in pulses, oilseeds, climate change and water management.

During the meeting, Dr Dar emphasized the need for increasing support to ICRISAT to strengthen its help to the Government of India’s (GoI) efforts towards self-sufficiency in pulses and oilseeds, and potentially dryland cereals. He pointed out that with the effective and efficient implementation of ICRISAT research programs in partnership with the Indian NARS, the gap between demand and production of pulses and oilseeds and dryland cereals in the country can be easily met.

Dr S Ayyappan, on the other hand, acknowledged the contribution of ICRISAT in India’s food grain self-sufficiency through improved crop varieties. He added that dryland agriculture will be GoI’s top priority in its 12th Five-Year Plan which will enhance support to ICRISAT’s research programs.

The meeting also identified focused targets for the ICRISAT-ICAR research partnership:

  • Make India self-sufficient in pulses, oilseeds and major dryland cereals;

  • Enhance the income of dryland farmers; and

  • Strengthen basic and strategic research on climate change, warming temperature, water scarcity and pests and diseases.


ICRISAT part of ICAR’s new Rice Knowledge Management Portal

ICAR portal

On the eve of the 83rd Foundation Day of ICAR on 16 July, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the Rice Knowledge Management Portal (RKMP), a flagship initiative under ICAR’s National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP). The portal, developed by the Directorate of Rice Research (Hyderabad) with eight consortium partners, is meant to help strengthen communication and provide a platform for collaborative action and information sharing among various key players and stakeholders in India’s rice sector. ICRISAT is one of the key partners in the consortium and has made significant contribution to the development of the portal.

Partnering with IIT-Kanpur, ICRISAT provided technical support in building the architecture and in capacity building of the consortium partners. Built on Web 2.0 standards, the portal caters to location-specific information needs of stakeholders through IP-based customization on 24x7 basis. Another striking feature of the portal is that it currently provides content in six local languages. You can visit the portal at


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Niger Minister of Agriculture visits ICRISAT-Niamey

Niger Niger Minister of Agriculture OUA Saidou being shown around the crop experiments at Sadoré accompanied by ICRISAT’s Niger Country representative, scientists and staff.

Niger’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr OUA Saidou, visited ICRISAT-Niamey on 19 July. He was accompanied by Dr Mahamadou Abdoulaye, DG of INRAN and Mr Haougui Adamou, DG of Plant Protection Services.

Welcoming the Minister and guests on behalf of DG William Dar and Regional Director Farid Waliyar, ICRISAT’s Country representative Dr Mahamadou Gandah gave an overview of the Institute and its Sahelian center in particular, its governing system, research programs, staff and the changes within the CGIAR system.

Niger (Right)The Minister planting a tree. (Left)ICRISAT staff with the Minister of Agriculture during his visit.

Describing ICRISAT’s new strategic plan for the next ten years with its focus on IMOD  that allows producers to move beyond subsistence farming to surplus production, Dr Gandah went on to describe the various activities underway at Sadoré and their contribution to Niger’s agricultural development.

In his speech, the Minister of Agriculture explained the purpose of his visit with regard to changes within ICRISAT, and expressed a keen desire to know about the ongoing research at Sadoré, and the linkages with national and regional priorities.  On the occasion, the Minister planted a tree and was shown around the crop physiology experiments on drought and low P tolerance of millet, sorghum, cowpea, and groundnut varieties; the crop diversification activities; and the gene bank.

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Pursuing public-private partnerships
DG visits the Genome Valley of Hyderabad

Genome valley Dr Homi Bhedwar (right), DKC Director, giving an orientation- briefing of the Dupont Knowledge Center.

Director General William Dar visited the Genome Valley located in Shameerpet near Hyderabad on 19 July to get a first-hand impression of the state-of-the-art biotech cluster in India for Life Science Research, Training and Manufacturing activities. The visit was upon the invitation of the DuPont Knowledge Center (DKC) located within the ICICI Knowledge Park (IKP) in the Genome Valley and which houses three major Centers: (1) Biotechnology Research Center, its first integrated agricultural and industrial biotechnology laboratory operated by DuPont outside the US; (2) Material Research & Application Development Center, focusing on customized application development in the areas of safety, protection, transportation and construction for India and the ASEAN markets; and (3) Engineering Center that supports the global DuPont engineering competency by providing integrated engineering procurement and construction services to DuPont global businesses.

DKC is the sixth of the seven DuPont global R&D Centers outside the US and currently employs over 400 scientists, engineers and other employees. Dr Dar accompanied by Dr Kiran Sharma, ICRISAT-PTTC Director and AIP CEO, were hosted by Dr Homi Bhedwar, Director of DKC and key senior managers and scientists. Several areas including agricultural biotechnology, bioinformatics, seed production and biofuels were identified as possible collaborative projects of mutual interest.

Dr Dar was also introduced to various facilities of IKP which is one of the successful model knowledge parks in India. Besides leasing of space for established companies, IKP also runs an incubator that supports start-up companies and new entrepreneurs in life sciences by providing laboratory space and common facilities and business development. Various potential areas of collaboration between IKP and the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform of ICRISAT were identified for future discussions.

Genome valley Dr KV Subbarao, Country Head, Dupont Pioneer, introducing DKC’s programs and facilities.

The final leg of this tour included a visit to the facilities of Bharat Biotech India Limited (BBIL) hosted by its Founder and Managing Director, Dr Krishna Ella. Dr Ella made a presentation on the activities of BBIL and its related six companies dealing with various aspects of health care and agriculture. BBIL is one of the most successful health care companies specializing in the development of affordable vaccines, especially for the neglected diseases of the developing world. One of the sister companies of BBIL, RCC Laboratories India Private Limited is an OECD GLP contract research organization that offers its services in safety toxicology testing for pharmaceutical, Biotech, Agro Chemical, Tobacco, Cosmetic & Medical Device Industries for pre-clinical research. RCC undertakes studies as per the OECD principles of GLP and houses state of the art facility catering to global clientele. The discussions were focused on developing closer links between RCC and ICRISAT-PTTC for carrying out biosafety studies on genetically engineered crops.

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WASA-SP holds coordination and planning workshop

WASA At the WASA-SP Coordination and planning meeting (L to R): Mr Eric Shutler (Deputy Team Leader, USAID/Mali AEG), Dr Farid Waliyar (ICRISAT Director WCA) and Dr Ram Shetty (Chief of Party of WASA-Seeds Project).

The West African Seed Alliance (WASA) – Seeds Project held its 2nd regional coordination and planning meeting at ICRISAT-Samanko, Mali on 12-14 July. The workshop was attended by 28 participants from ICRISAT Mali, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), Institut du Sahel (INSAH), and project country coordinators and regional team members from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana and Nigeria. It aimed at drawing major lessons from the past three years’ activities and identifying key elements for future activities under the USAID’s Feed the Future (FTF) and ICRISAT’s Innovative Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) strategies.

In his opening address, Mr Eric Shutler, Deputy Team Leader, USAID/Mali - AEG (Accelerate Economic Growth), detailed FTF’s goals, objectives and principles, the four value chains to be supported in Mali, and key activities comprising water efficiency, support to research institutions, development of strong seed systems and support to the foundation seed unit.

While thanking USAID for its continued support, Dr Farid Waliyar, ICRISAT-WCA Director, described how ICRISAT’s IMOD approach fits with USAID’s FTF strategy and urged for the strengthening of partnership among institutions. Dr Ram Shetty, Chief of Party of WASA – Seeds Project provided an overview of the key activities, achievements and way forward to strengthen seed systems in West Africa. This was followed by presentations from Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal describing their seed system, constraints to the establishment of a viable seed industry, project interventions and achievements and future activities towards developing a sustainable seed system.

Presentations from Ghana, Niger and Nigeria were followed by an overview of the project’s performance monitoring and evaluation system by the M&E specialist. Key regional  achievements were  highlighted through  discussions on seed policy, seed agribusiness, rice seed system, vegetable seed system (AVRDC), sorghum, and millet seeds system (ICRISAT-PROMISO and HOPE projects), and legumes seed system (ICRISAT-TLII, CORAF/AusAID). AFSTA and INSAH also presented their ongoing activities.

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Cutting-edge research programs to boost global food security
CGIAR approves six new CRPs


CGIAR has approved six new research programs aimed at improving food security and the sustainable management of the water, soils, and biodiversity that underpin agriculture in the world’s poorest countries. The six CGIAR research programs (CRPs) will target regions of the world where recurrent food crises – combined with global financial meltdown, volatile energy prices, natural resource depletion, and climate change – undercut and threaten the livelihoods of millions of poor people.

“More and better investment in agriculture is key to lifting the 75% of poor people who live in rural areas out of poverty,” said Inger Andersen, CGIAR Fund Council Chair and World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development. “Each of these CGIAR research programs addresses issues that are fundamental to the well-being of poor farmers and consumers in developing countries. Supporting such innovations is key to feeding the nearly one billion people who go to bed hungry every night.” CGIAR Fund members include developing and industrialized country governments, foundations, and international and regional organizations.

Each of the CRPs is working on a global scale by combining the efforts and expertise of multiple members of the CGIAR Consortium and involving some 300-600 partners from national agricultural research systems, non-governmental organisations, advanced research institutes, civil society organisations, farmer organisations, and the private sector.

The following new programs (in addition to the five approved earlier) will each have an initial three-year budget  and will be implemented by a lead center from the CGIAR Consortium:

Wheat will create a global alliance for improving productivity and profitability of wheat in the developing world, where demand is projected to increase by 60% by 2050 even as climate change could diminish production by 20 to 30%.

Meat, Milk and Fish will increase productivity and sustainability of small-scale livestock and fish systems to make meat, milk and fish more available and affordable for poor consumers. The program also aims to reduce poverty through greater participation by the poor in animal-related enterprises.

Aquatic Agriculture Systems will identify gender-equitable options to improve the lives of 50 million poor and vulnerable people who live in coastal zones and along river floodplains by 2022. The program will explore the interplay between farming, fishing, aquaculture, livestock, and forestry with efforts focused on linking farmers to markets for their agricultural commodities.

Policies, Institutions and Markets will identify policies and institutions necessary for smallholder producers in rural communities, particularly women, to increase their income through improved access to and utilisation of markets. This initiative seeks to produce a body of new knowledge that can be used by decision makers to shape effective policies and institutions that can reduce poverty and promote sustainable rural development.

Roots, Tubers and Bananas is designed to improve the yields of farmers in the developing world who lack high quality seed and the tools to deal with plant disease, plant pests and environmental challenges.

Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health is designed to leverage agriculture improvements to deal with health and nutrition problems. The program, based on the premise that agricultural practices, interventions, and policies can be better aligned and redesigned to maximize health and nutrition benefits and reduce health risks, will address problems of under-nutrition and ill-health that affect millions of poor people in developing countries.

“These programs mark a new approach to collaborative research for development,” said Carlos Perez del Castillo, CGIAR Consortium Board Chair. “They bring together the broadest possible range of organizations to ensure that research leads to development and real action that improves peoples’ lives,” he added.  “The approach advances the CGIAR’s vision for reducing poverty and hunger, for improving human health and nutrition, and enhancing ecosystem resilience through high quality international research, partnerships, and leadership.”


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Cornell’s Food Technology Farm keen on tie-up with ABI

Cornell Mr Aravazhi (right) of ABI-ICRISAT during his visit to CY Farms, USA.

The food and agribusiness sector faces numerous challenges, calling for knowledge sharing, developing innovative strategies and exchange of resources. Against this backdrop, Cornell University, USA and the Sathguru Management Consultants, India organized a two-module “Food & Agribusiness Management Program (AMP 2011)” in Chennai, India (20-24 June) and New York, USA (6-14 July). The program was designed to fill in gaps in the experience of executives as they seek to augment their professional roles and prepare for new and competitive ones in the agriculture and food industry.

As part of the NAIP-Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubators (NIABI), Mr Aravazhi from ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubator and staff from the Business Planning & Development (BPD) Units – Dr PG Patil from the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technologies (CIRCOT), Dr Sunil Nahatkar from Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (JNKVV), Dr RV Vyas from Anand Agricultural University (AAU) and Dr BN Singh from Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) participated in the training program.

The program served as a platform for NIABI to exhibit ICAR technologies as well as initiate discussions with US companies to help them enter the Indian market through soft-landing support from NIABI. Ms Susan Noble, Executive Director, Food Technology Farm, Cornell University, was impressed with the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) of ICRISAT, especially its AIB program, and explored the possibility of setting up an agri-business incubator in their facility to help start-ups.

Twenty four high-level policy planners, food industry CEOs, academic faculty and heads of government organizations from India and abroad attended the course, which included eminent trainers from Sathguru, Cornell University and industry and was focused on cross-cultural and cross-enterprise learning through case studies, panel discussions, brainstorming sessions and debates with the public sector, private sector, NGO and academic representatives of the Integrated Food Chain. The Chennai module focused on global food systems and regulations, novel process technologies, food marketing, consumer trends, IPR and supply chain management. The US module highlighted the current food security crisis and mitigation strategies, opportunities in the food market, competitive advantages for bioenergy, strategies for product development, and exposure visits to various facilities.

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