No. 1514 13 April 2012

Sustaining the groundnut revolution in Anantapur
Economic and knowledge empowerment of groundnut farmers

Participants of the training program appreciating an ICRISAT groundnut variety in the field at Patancheru.

Improved ICRISAT groundnut variety ICGV 91114 has initiated a revolution in the dry, rocky Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in India. About a decade ago, with financial support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and in collaboration with ANGRAU and the NGO Accion Fraterna (AF), ICRISAT piloted farmer-participatory varietal selection (FPVS) through on-farm trials that launched the groundnut revolution in the district and revived the hopes of farmers in the area. An impact assessment study conducted in 2010 has shown that ICGV 91114 provides 23% higher pod yield, 36% larger net returns, and 30% lower yield variability compared to TMV 2, the variety previously preferred by farmers.

Sustaining the gains from years of groundnut varietal trials and seed multiplication, a threeday training program under the IFAD 954-ICRISAT Project on “Harnessing the true potential of legumes: Economic and knowledge empowerment of poor rainfed farmers in Asia” was organized at ICRISATPatancheru on 4-6 April.

The trainees included progressive farmers, newlyrecruited agriculture extension officers and sociotechnical organizers of Accion Fraterna, a nongovernment organization active in Anantapur district and a long-time IFAD project partner. More than 50% of the trainees are newly-recruited women of AF, a testament to the increasing role of women farmers in legume production, marketing and consumption.

Groundnut is the principal crop in Anantapur covering over 70% of the cultivated area. For the district’s farmers, groundnut is a preferred crop since it survives the rough terrain and the uncertainty of rainfall.

AF has been a key partner in popularizing ICRISAT’s groundnut variety ICGV 91114 in Anantapur. Staff training on groundnut varieties, crop management, seed production and seed systems is therefore is vital in AF’s continuous involvement in collaborative groundnut production improvement undertakings in the district.

The training included sessions on watershed management, pigeonpea and chickpea varieties and crop management, as well as visits to the ICRISAT farm, groundnut seed processing facility and Kothapally watershed.

In his remarks, Dr SN Nigam noted that AF has been a strong partner in ICRISAT’s efforts to help groundnut farmers of Anantapur district extricate themselves from the clutches of poverty, and that the training is another step towards furthering this cause.

Inputs from ICRISAT scientists Drs Nigam, KB Saxena, PM Gaur, SP Wani, P Janila, HK Sudini, MM Sharma and scientific and technical officers of various crop divisions contributed to the success of the training program.


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ICRISAT Mali bids farewell to the WASA-SP team

WCA Director F Waliyar presenting mementos to WASA-SP’s SVR Shetty.

ICRISAT-Samanko bid farewell to the West African Seed Alliance-Seeds Project (WASA-SP) team on 11 April. Leading the ceremony, ICRISAT’s Director for West and Central Africa (WCA) Dr Farid Waliyar recalled the project’s significant interventions and thanked the team for their work that had led to a profitable seed sector in the region.

“I enjoyed working with the WASA-SP team, and we are now convincing the partners to keep up the momentum of this project in the region,” Dr Waliyar said. He thanked WASA-SP Chief of Party, Dr SVR Shetty for his role in implementing the project since 2010.

In turn, Dr Shetty thanked ICRISAT and recalled the important moments of the project. He urged the Institute to continue leading the development of the seed sector. Appreciating the dynamism of the WASA-SP team, Assistant Director for WCA Bonny N’Tare noted that Dr Shetty’s work would benefit the entire region even if the project had ended.

WASA was formally started in 2009 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in West Africa (AGRA), the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The contribution of USAID channeled through the Seeds Project was implemented by ICRISAT in partnership with the Seed Science Center (CNFA) at Iowa State University and other partners in Africa.

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TRIVSA Project Chickpea and Pigeonpea Workshops held at ICRISAT

Participants during the TRIVSA project workshop on chickpea.

The Research Programs on Markets, Institutions and Policies (RP-MIP) and Grain Legumes (RP-GL) jointly conducted a two-day workshop at ICRISAT-Patancheru for the project “Tracking Varietal Change for Future Assessment of the Impact of Crop Genetic Improvement Research in South Asia (TRIVSA).” The workshops on “Tracking Adoption of Improved Cultivars in India” for Chickpea and Pigeonpea were held on 10 and 11 April, respectively. Around 32 participants from the Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), All India Coordinated Research Improvement Program (AICRP) on Chickpea and Pigeonpea, state agricultural universities, and ICRISAT economists along with chickpea and pigeonpea breeders participated in these workshops.

Broadly, the workshop aimed to identify major chickpea and pigeonpea cultivars and traits preferred by farmers in major six growing states of India and to assess their extent of diffusion and rate of cultivar-specific adoption. MCS Bantilan, Program Director, RP-MIP and HD Upadhyaya, Assistant Program Director, RP-GL jointly gave the welcome address.

During the first session, D Kumara Charyulu and MCS Bantilan gave detailed presentations on research progress in tracking varietal adoption for chickpea and pigeonpea crops under the project. Pooran Gaur talked about “Adoption of chickpea improved cultivars: constraints, opportunities and success stories” while IM Vales and KB Saxena discussed the “Constraints to pigeonpea technology adoption: a breeders’ perspective.” N Nadarajan, Director, IIPR and SK Chaturvedi, Head, Crop Improvement, IIPR spoke about “Major cultivars and traits for breeding: Indian perspective” on pigeonpea and chickpea.

During the second session, NARS partners gave presentations about preferred traits, cultivar-specific perceived levels of adoption, and constraints in adoption of improved cultivars in their respective states. The last session saw discussions on quality seed production and its timely availability, harnessing the opportunities from private seed companies, seed replacement rates (SRR) and government policies for promotion of technology adoption, marketing and value addition etc.

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Seed inspectors/certification officers trained

ICRISAT-Nigeria conducted a two-day training program for seed inspectors and certification officers at the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) North West, Regional Office Complex, Samaru, on 26-27 March. Organized under WASA-SP in collaboration with NASC, it included 50 men and 5 women seed inspectors and certification officers from NASC, internal quality control officers of private seed companies, seed officers of National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) and Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) of some selected States of the Federation. Resource persons were drawn from NARIs, NASC, seed companies and ICRISAT/WASA-SP.

Participants learn the ropes of seed storage.

The welcome address was delivered by Mr E O Omotosho who represented the NASC Director General, followed by a program overview by ICRISAT Country representative Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe. The topics covered included identifiers and morphological characteristics of popular varieties of maize, sorghum, millet, soybean, cowpea and groundnut in commercial production; field inspection techniques and reporting; seed sampling and seed lot numbering procedures; national minimum seed certification standards; post-harvest seed handling, conditioning, affixation of tags and granting of certificates for seed lots; and roles of internal quality control officers of various seed producing organizations.

Participants were taught various styles of field walks, field counts and recording observations during their .visit to the irrigation farm site of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR). At the Premier Seed Nigeria Limited Factory in Chikaji Industrial Estate, factory procedures on receipt of seed stocks, processing, packaging and storage as well as the internal quality control unit of the seed company to evaluate the ongoing germination tests in the laboratory were explained.

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