No. 1487 07 October 2011

Exploring R4D partnership in WCA
Spanish envoy visits ICRISAT-Sadoré

Spain’s Ambassador to Niger Soledad Fuentes Gomez (center) with ICRISAT staff at Sadoré.

Now we have a clear idea of the importance of ICRISAT‘s research-for-development (R4D) activities in the West and Central African (WCA) region. I hope to have the opportunity to develop joint projects between ICRISAT and partners in Spain in the future,” said Her Excellency Soledad Fuentes Gomez, Spain’s Ambassador to Niger during her visit to ICRISAT-Sadoré on 28 September. The envoy was accompanied by
Mr Gabriel Villarrubia Duret, in charge of Spain’s Food Security projects in Niger and Mr Pedro Pablo Guillene, Coordinator of Spanish Cooperation.

Welcoming the team, ICRISAT-Niamey Country Representative Mahamadou Gandah provided the visitors with an overview of ICRISAT and its activities in Niamey. The group then visited demonstration plots on cowpea, millet and groundnut; crop diversification plots; and crop physiology lysimeter experiments and research facilities. As a symbol of solidarity and commitment, Ambassador Gomez planted a tree at the ICRISAT Friends’ Garden.

Following the visit, discussions between the visitors and ICRISAT staff focused on areas of mutual interest such as seed systems, irrigation, food security, African Market Gardens and capacity building. The Ambassador also expressed appreciation of ICRISAT’s research-for-development in the semi-arid regions of WCA. Mr Duret, in conveying his appreciation of the visit, said that they would explore ways for ICRISAT and scientists from Spain to undertake collaborative R4D activities in the future.

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Hybrid sorghum seed production training at ICRISAT-Mali

Participants of the sorghum seed production training in Mali.

Rather than giving us fish, the training taught us how to catch fish,” is how Oumar of Kiffosso, Mali, sums up the one-day training workshop on hybrid sorghum seed production conducted at ICRISAT-Mali on 29 September. The training was attended by 49 sorghum hybrid seed producers from all over Mali, together with technical staff of farmer and development organizations (COPROSEM, ULPC, AMEDD, CNFA and EUKORD), representatives of three private seed enterprises, and inspection and seed certification agents (Labosem, Secteur Agriculture-Dioila).

Training was provided on basic knowledge and practical information required for successful hybrid seed production. Experience in identifying anther types, familiarity with field layout, control and rouging of off-type plants and pollen shedders, and planting date options to maximize “nicking” were gained by observation and demonstrations in a hybrid seed production field.

Likewise, harvest and post-harvest activities to ensure seed quality, purity and certification, options for the effective organization of seed producers, and field and grain inspection for economically viable seed production and certification were also discussed.

Farmers’ interest in hybrid sorghum seed production is growing dramatically as they hear experiences on how producers are earning money from the sale of hybrid seed and harvesting grain for consumption. Says an enthusiastic Yakuba Konate of Oumaribougou, “we not only learned about regulations and recommended practices but also why they are so.”

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ICRISAT genetic resources research featured on Crop Science Journal cover

The prestigious Crop Science Journal has featured ICRISAT’s research on genetic resources on the cover of its January- February 2011 issue. Of the 40-50 papers published in every issue, only a single research gets to be featured on the cover.

The paper titled “Identification of large-seeded high-yielding stable kabuli chickpea germplasm lines for use in crop improvement” was authored by CLL Gowda, Research Program Director, Grain Legumes;HD Upadhyaya, Principal Scientist and Head, Genebank; N Dronavalli, Visiting Scientist; and Sube Singh, Lead Scientific Officer, Genebank.

The paper describes research on the identification of 65 large-seeded kabuli chickpea germplasm lines using the core collection approach under unfavorable environments. It identifies lines with a 100-seed weight of up to 65 g, high yield potential and stable performance. These genetically diverse lines can be used in breeding programs to develop large-seeded kabuli cultivars and also directly for cultivation after evaluating their performance in large-scale trials.

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Training for winter season crops held under the Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane (Horticulture)

G Pardhasaradhi explaining yield sampling procedure.

As part of the Government of Karnataka-sponsored Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane (Horticulture) project, the ICRISAT-led consortium has begun conducting training courses in each district for farm facilitators since the start of the kharif (rainy season) crops harvesting and as soon as farmers were ready to plant rabi (winter season) crops.

Consortium partners, namely University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot; University of Agricultural Science, Bangalore, Dharwad and Raichur; University of Bangalore; and Indian Institute of Horticulture Research are helping the consortium undertake this training. One such course for 26 farm facilitators was held recently in Bidar district at the Horticultural College, Bidar. Trainers include Md Farooq, SI Hanumshitti, CN Hanchinmani, Arun Kumar and G Pardhasaradhi of ICRISAT, who discussed ginger, onion and cabbage cultivation and pest and disease and control measures. The course was organized by Mr Vishwanath, Deputy Director of Horticulture, Bidar district.

Similar courses, supported by experts from the University of Agricultural Science, Raichur and ICRISAT were conducted during the week in Koppal, Bellary, Gulbarga and Yadagiri districts in which around 75 farm facilitators and horticultural officials participated from each district. Mr LS Jangwad of ICRISAT coordinated the training course. This yearround training is an effective extension mechanism to enable the effective implementation of SBY as well as Bhoochetana programs in Karnataka.

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Inspiring Agribusiness Start-ups
NIABI Best Practices Seminar Series on Entrepreneurship & Innovation

The Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program of the Agribusiness Innovation Platform @ ICRISAT (AIP) is organizing a seminar for entrepreneurs entitled “Inspiring Agribusiness Start-ups” at ICRISAT Patancheru on 12 October, 09:30 hrs. Part of the NIABI Best Practices Seminar Series on Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the seminar will be broadcast live through video conferencing to 10 other agribusiness incubators under the Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubators (NIABI). At the interactive seminar, ABI-AIP-ICRISAT will host three successful entrepreneurs who followed their own definition of success and proved it to the world, “if you can dream it.... you can do it.”

The seminar speakers include: Dr Dinabandhu Sahoo of Project Chilika, a marine biologist who has trained villagers in Orissa on the concept of ‘farm the ocean’ – sowing the seeds of a ‘Blue Revolution’; Mr Satyajit Singh of Shakti Sudha Industries, who shut down his consumer durables business to take on the challenge of commercializing makhana and bringing benefits to many marginalized farmers; and Mr Samar Gupta of Trikaya Agriculture, who led his company from a hobby into a flourishing business, ever expanding the frontiers of ‘what can be grown’ in India.

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