No. 1522 08 June 2012
Science-based sustainable agricultural development
ICRISAT and Government of Karnataka sign MoU on GoK-CGIAR Initiative
Director General William Dar with Karnataka Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda and Agriculture Minister Umesh V Katti during the MoU signing in Bengaluru..

The Bhoochetana program in Karnataka, India, adopts the principles of consortium, convergence, capacity building and collective action in improving rural livelihoods by enhancing productivity of rainfed crops in 30 districts of the State. It is a farmer participatory model based on ICRISAT’s scaling up of strategic on-station natural resource management research in collaboration with the Government of Karnataka (GoK).

Seven members of the CGIAR Consortium (ICRISAT, IRRI, ILRI, IWMI, CIMMYT, IFPRI and ICARDA) have joined hands to provide technical support in establishing learning sites in four revenue divisions of Karnataka, based on the success of the Bhoochetana program, as the State’s flagship initiative on science-based agricultural development.

Dr Dar exchanging the signed MoU with Mr Kaushik Mukherjee, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, GoK.

This convergence was sealed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICRISAT (representing the seven CGIAR Centers) and the GoK in implementing the initiative on “Improving Rural Livelihoods through Innovative Scaling-up of Science-led Participatory Research for Development in Karnataka” on 6 June at Vidhan Soudha, Bengaluru. The MoU was signed by Director General William Dar and Mr Kaushik Mukherjee, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, GoK in the presence of Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda and Agriculture Minister Umesh V Katti.

The MoU signing culminated a series of discussions by the ICRISAT team led by Dr SP Wani (Principal Scientist – Watersheds) with the partner CGIAR Centers and GoK officials. Under the MoU, the consortium will operationalize scaling-up models in partnership with GoK to demonstrate integrated participatory research in rainfed and irrigated areas. It will also build the capacity of agriculture-related institutions, state research organizations and universities in enhancing the impact of development programs through science-based support systems.

“We will fulfil the expectations raised with the success of Bhoochetana in the State,” said Dr Dar. “This new scaling-up initiative will be a boon to farmers and in turn to the state government by providing science-based solutions for sustainable agriculture and intensification,” he added.

In response, Chief Minister Gowda expressed his government’s appreciation to ICRISAT for bringing together six CGIAR Centers as partners in increasing the overall productivity of agriculture towards improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the State.

Chief Secretary SV Ranganath, on the other hand, expressed confidence that the initiative will be a game changer in the State in terms of benefiting smallholder farmers and achieving sustainable agricultural growth. Agriculture Minister Katti, meanwhile, highlighted that through Bhoochetana, Karnataka has received recognition in the country, and that GoK is proud to be working with ICRISAT. Dr KV Raju, Economic Advisor to the Chief Minister, called the initiative a bold step forward in harnessing the strengths of the CGIAR Centers to benefit the State’s smallholder farmers. Drs CLL Gowda and K Krishnappa also joined the ICRISAT delegation during the MoU signing and various discussions with GoK officials.

Under the Bhoochetana initiative, more than 3 million smallholder farmers in the last 3 years have benefited from technical backstopping by the ICRISAT-led consortium in Karnataka. Increased crop yields within the range of 21-63% for crops like chickpea, groundnut, sorghum, maize, pearl millet, finger millet, pigeonpea, green gram, black gram, sunflower, soybean, rice and cotton. In 2011 rainy (kharif) and post-rainy (rabi) seasons, the total area covered under Bhoochetana was 3 million ha.

Dr Dar, Chief Minister Gowda, and Agriculture Minister Katti during the MoU signing. Also seen in the picture are: Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner K Mukherjee, Chief Secretary SV Ranganath and Drs SP Wani and CLL Gowda (ICRISAT).

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ICRISAT-Niamey participates in international agriculture and agri-food fair

M Gandah showing seed packets to First Lady of Niger at the ICRISAT exibit stall.   With Niger Minister of Agriculture O Saidou.

ICRISAT-Niamey participated in the first international agriculture and agri-food fair held on 28 May – 1 June at the Palais du 29 juillet, Niamey.

Niger’s First Lady, Dr Malika Issoufou and the Minister of Agriculture Oua Saidou inaugurated the fair, participated in by various institutions, NGOs, banks, businesses and producers. It was an opportunity for farmers and research institutions from ECOWAS countries to meet and share their experiences in the agriculture, agribusiness and pastoral sectors. Several panels on breeding, cultivation and food were organized to discuss challenges and perspectives particularly on security and trade issues.

First Lady Issoufou paid tribute to rural women as a major component of the Nigerien population. Minister Saidou, on the other hand, expressed confidence that the fair will contribute to the promotion of agricultural products and enhancement of agricultural production in the country. He also stated his support to the agricultural policy of Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou dubbed as the 3N (Nigeriens Nourish the Nigeriens).

ICRISAT participated with a big exhibition stall extensively showing ICRISAT activities through publications, seeds, plants and poster displays. As part of the exhibition Dr Mahamadou Gandah (ICRISAT country representative) gave a presentation on ICRISAT’s 30 years of activities in West and Central Africa, and granted interviews to two local TV stations. ICRISAT won the best exhibition stall award during the fair.

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CRP 1.1 Dryland Systems ‘District’ workshops held

Workshop session at CAZRI for dryland systems in Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaiselmer districts.

Three workshops were held in the last nine days with CGIAR CRP 1.1 partners, research institutes, SAUs, Departments of Agriculture and other line departments, and NGOs as preparation for the CRP 1.1 Inception Phase workshop in Dubai later this month. The objectives of the workshops were to prioritize production systems, identify drivers of change and major constraints, select research sites, and identify partners. The first workshop was held on 29-30 May at CAZRI for dryland systems in Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaiselmer districts. The second and third workshops were held at ICRISAT on red soil systems in Kurnool and Anantapur Districts (4-5 June) and black soil systems in Bijapur District (6-7 June).
The information and discussions will inform decisions about sites and hypotheses for CRP 1.1 in South Asia.

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ICRISAT-Patancheru hosts women’s leadership and management course

Women scientists, managers, and program officers from different centers and partner institutions during the training course at Patancheru.

As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, ICRISAT is currently hosting the CGIAR-Gender and Diversity 24th Women’s Leadership and Management Course at ICRISAT-Patancheru on 3-9 June. Hosting this course demonstrates ICRISAT’s commitment to the advancement of women scientists, gender specialists and managers particularly in the area of research-for-development.

This course is designed to reinforce the
skills needed to build leadership and managerial effectiveness of women scientists and professionals who work in the CGIAR Centers and other development organizations. Gender and its implications are woven throughout the course, but there is also focus on specific skills areas, including: sustaining team performance, managing conflict, and building alliances to achieve research and business results

A total of 31 women scientists, managers, and program officers from different centers and partner institutions namely FAO, ICRAF, IITA, CIMMYT, Bioversity International, CIFOR, IRRI, ICRISAT, ICIMOD, Nepal, IFAD, RUFORUM, Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology and CSIR are taking part in the course. ICRISAT is represented in this activity by Chanda Goodrich, Rosana Mula and Shivali Sharma. Rachael Lee Wilcox, Joni Cee Herman, Monica Kapiriri and Pamela Yieke serve as workshop facilitators.

The course aims to: use information gained from skills and style inventories to strengthen the participants’ leadership and managerial effectiveness; use essential communication skills such as feedback and facilitation to enhance their leadership effectiveness; build and sustain effective team performance; constructively manage interpersonal conflict; develop strategies to influence and build alliances; increase awareness and understanding of gender implications in their personal and professional development; and increasingly draw upon their network of colleagues for personal and professional support, guidance and assistance.

HRO Director Hector Hernandez gave the opening remarks on behalf of the Director General during the inaugural session on 3 June at the PTTC Conference Room. Overall coordination and logistical arrangements were provided by HRO’s Ms Umadevi, with support from the Housing and Food Services (HFS) and the Farm, Engineering and Transport Services (FETS).

Participants of the Women’s Leadership and Management Course with Dr Dar and HRO Director Hernandez.

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TRIVSA Project groundnut workshop held at ICRISAT

ICRISAT Research Programs on Markets, Institutions and Policies (MIP) and Grain Legumes (GL) jointly conducted a one-day workshop on “Tracking Adoption of Improved Groundnut Cultivars in India”at ICRISAT-Patancheru on 30 May.

P Parthasarathy Rao makes a point during the workshop. Also seen in the picture are SN Nigam and CLL Gowda.

The main objective of the workshop was to identify the important groundnut cultivars in six major states of India, assessing cultivar-specific adoption estimates and preferred traits. Around 41 participants attended the workshop that included scientists from DGR, All India Coordinated Research Project on Groundnut (AICRPG) centres (Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan), SAUs, BARC, Mumbai and SFCI, Hyderabad, and ICRISAT economists and groundnut breeders.

P Parthasarathy Rao, Assistant Program Director, RP-MIP and CLL Gowda, Director, RP-LG welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of this workshop both for the national partners and for ICRISAT. During the first session, D Kumara Charyulu made a presentation about the TRIVSA project, particularly on the groundnut research progress while SN Nigam and P Janila gave a presentation on “Peanut Breeding – Global Prospects and Opportunities.” JB Misra, Director, DGR, Junagadh also spoke about “Current Indian Perspective and Future Prospects in Groundnut Breeding.”

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 was devoted to open discussions on critical issues on adoption of improved groundnut varieties, seed replacement rates, policy issues etc. led by Drs Misra, Gowda and Nigam.

Participants of the workshop at ICRISAT-Patancheru.

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Accession of new countries to the Consortium International Organization (IO)

The Agreement establishing the CGIAR Consortium as an International Organization (IO) is held by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs which, as host country, acts as its custodian. Countries can become parties to the Agreement by acceding to it. When a country accedes to the Agreement, it is bound by its terms. To date Hungary, Denmark and Benin have signed it.

The accession of a new country can take the form of a signature of the Agreement or the deposit of a separate instrument of accession. Both require that all prior procedures imposed by the national law of the country have taken place (e.g., parliamentary approval, etc.).

By acceding to the Agreement, a country demonstrates its support to CGIAR and reinforces its ties with the System. In particular, this would facilitate and strengthen scientific exchanges between the scientific community of the country and the System. It also sends a strong political signal that the signatory country is committed to the improvement of livelihood conditions, locally and internationally, and positions the country on the international development and agricultural research scene.

Either the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister for Foreign Affairs signs the Agreement directly; or, more frequently, another person (typically an ambassador at the country’s ministry in Paris) signs the Agreement on behalf of one of the three authorities mentioned above.

If a country is willing to accede to the Agreement, their Foreign Affairs Minister must send a formal notification of his/her intention to sign through a letter addressed to the Consortium Board Chair, Carlos Perez del Castillo. Once this is received, the French Foreign Ministry will be notified, which, on its basis, will send an official request to the relevant government and the diplomatic process for signature arrangements will start.

For further questions, contact the Consortium Office (Elise Perset and Vinciane Koenigsfeld).

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CLL Gowda receives 2012 International Service in Crop Science Award

Dr CLL Gowda, Research Program Director – Grain Legumes, has been selected to receive the 2012 CSSA International Service in Crop Science Award by the Crop Science Society of America, joining a distinguished group of award recipients.

Dr Gowda extends his most sincere gratitude to Director General William Dar, the Management Group, the Research Committee, and the whole Team ICRISAT for the support and for giving him the opportunity to serve the international community all these years.

Team ICRISAT congratulates Dr Gowda for this prestigious recognition!

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Syngenta to expand presence in Africa, contributing to the transformation of agriculture

Syngenta announced on 18 May in Basel, Switzerland a commitment to build a $1 billion business in Africa over the next 10 years. This commitment reflects the company’s belief that Africa has the resources not only to feed its growing population, but also to become a major world food exporter.

Mike Mack, Chief Executive Officer, said “Africa has become one of our strategic growth regions and our aspiration is to contribute to the transformation of African agriculture. We will deploy our leading portfolio as part of a system-wide approach linking people, land and technology, with the aim of increasing productivity sustainably and thereby reducing poverty. This engagement has been catalyzed by the encouraging steps taken by a number of African governments to stimulate investment, and we intend to play a leading role in public-private collaborations which will be essential to making a planned transformation actually happen on the ground.”

Syngenta will make cumulative investments of over $500 million in support of this undertaking. These include the recruitment and training of over 700 new employees with a high level of agronomic specialization. In addition, the development of distribution channel networks, logistics and local production facilities, in collaboration with local partners, will increase access to technology for both smallholders and large-scale farms. The target over the 10-year period is to reach over 5 million farmers and to enable productivity gains of 50 percent or more, while preserving the long-term potential of the land.

Mack continued, “We can bring the knowledge, tools, technology and services farmers need whatever the size of their field or the type of cropping system. Africa needs a fully integrated approach to crops because there is no single technology solution.”

Mack made this announcement in conjunction with the G8 Summit that took place in the United States on 18-19 May.

Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 26,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to the purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. For more information about Syngenta, please visit

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