No. 1528 20 July 2012

Ensuring that research knowledge and products benefit the poor
ICRISAT hosts CGIAR Consortium Legal/IP Network meeting

Director General William Dar speaking at the inaugural session of the CGIAR Consortium Legal/IP Network meeting held in Patancheru. Also seen are (L-R) Hanumanth Rao, Senior Manager-IP, ICRISAT; Sean Butler, Consortium IP Consultant; and Elise Perset, Consortium Legal Counsel.

“We have to keep the bigger picture in mind – to ensure that CGIAR’s work can most benefit people on the ground and continue to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in developing countries,” said Director General William Dar at the inaugural session of the Annual Meeting of the CGIAR Consortium Legal/IP Network hosted at ICRISAT-Patancheru this week, 17-19 July.

With the CGIAR reform process in its final stages, Dr Dar stressed the importance of intellectual assets management, and how this will be a key issue to upscale and commercialize products, and not to block their utilization with excessive administrative hurdles.

In fact, this is a key consideration of the Legal/IP Network in drafting the guidelines for the implementation of the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets (CGIAR IA Principles). As is often the case, ‘the devil is in the detail’: so a significant amount of time was set aside during the three-day meeting for extensive discussions on these implementation guidelines.

The Annual Meeting program was led by Ms Elise Perset, Consortium Legal Counsel, with representation from Bioversity, CGIAR Consortium, CIAT, CIFOR, CIMMYT, CIP, GCP, ICARDA, ICRISAT, ICRAF, IFPRI, ILRI and ACIPA (the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture). The participants were a mixture of lawyers, grant managers, senior managers from genetic resources, communications and corporate services, and other professionals who deal with legal and/or IP issues on behalf of their Center.

A visit to PTTC.

The CGIAR IA Principles are unanimously supported by the Members of the CGIAR Consortium (Centers), and were approved by the Consortium and the Fund Council in March 2012. Issues covered include: international public goods, partnerships, farmers’ rights, genetic resources, intellectual property rights, limited exclusivity agreements, and reporting/ auditing requirements.

The immediate task for the CGIAR Consortium Legal/IP Network is to produce a set of guidelines to put the principles into operation. Increased reliance on partnerships and engagement with the private sector present particular challenges and these are issues which were discussed extensively during the meeting.

ICRISAT has been working with the private sector for over 13 years, including some 70 private sector institutions, and has set up the Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program under the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) to further promote this cause. Private sector involvement will increase utilization of ICRISAT products – a particular example is the Hybrid Parents’ Research Consortium (HPRC). Working with civil society, the private sector and universities is vital in order to benefit the billion poor in the world.

During the meeting, participants enjoyed a tour of the ICRISAT campus, including the PTTC facility, the Genebank and the AIP. Dr CLL Gowda met the group and presented ICRISAT’s HPRC.

For the CGIAR IA Principles and other legal/IP documents relevant to CGIAR, please visit:

Participants of the meeting at Patancheru.

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Policy dialogue on accelerating agricultural growth in Odisha held

Participants of the policy dialogue held under the auspices of the “Village Dynamics
in South Asia“ project.

A policy dialogue on “Priorities and Possibilities of Investment for Accelerating Agricultural Growth and Reducing Poverty in Odisha” was held on 6 July in Bhubaneswar, Odisha under the auspices of the project “Village Dynamics in South Asia (VDSA). The dialogue was jointly hosted by the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), New Delhi; the Directorate of Water Management (DWM), Bhubaneswar; and ICRISAT. Several partners of the VDSA project in East India and in other parts of the country also participated in the policy dialogue.

Dr DP Ray, Vice Chancellor, Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar was the chief guest, while Principal Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Food, Government of Odisha, Mr RL Jamuda was the guest of honor. Dr Ashwani Kumar, Director of DWM, Bhubaneswar, welcomed the participants.

Dr Cynthia Bantilan, Program Director of RP-MIP, highlighted the VDSA project activities in South Asia and its importance for understanding the dynamics of rural poverty in East India (Odisha state, in particular), the semi-arid tropics of India, Bangladesh, and South Asia in general. She shared insights from VDSA project activities in the region, and how the findings from the village level studies can provide valuable information and knowledge base for investment priorities for pro-poor agricultural development. Dr Ramesh Chand, Director of NCAP-New Delhi elaborated key issues and concerns on agricultural growth and development, and investment priorities in Odisha. He also highlighted the importance of household and village level information from VDSA surveys in planning for agricultural and rural development sectors.

The dialogue was participated in by the Senior Secretary, Government of Odisha; Head of Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack; heads of Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, Horticulture and Fisheries; Director of NABARD; Director of the Institute of Rural Management in Odisha; representatives from several regional agricultural organizations; and representatives of development NGOs, farmer cooperatives, and the private sector.

Senior advisory committee members of VDSA, Dr Mruthyunjaya and Dr SS Acharya also attended the dialogue. From ICRISAT, P Parthasarathy Rao, Uttam Dev, Madhusudan Bhattarai, and Anjani Kumar and other partners from VDSA-East India component (RKP Singh, Prabhakar Nanda and Mukesh Singh) also participated.

The discussions during the dialogue brought out several emerging investment priority areas and key issues critical to further investment initiatives in the region. The outputs and findings from the VDSA project are expected to be useful for state government and other regional agencies in planning for agricultural growth and development investments in the state of Odisha.

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In-country training on rainfed agriculture held in Mindanao, Philippines

The fourth in-country training under the Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Research, Development and Extension Program (PhiRARDEP) was held at the Grand Regal Hotel in Davao, Philippines on 8-13 July. The training was hosted by the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) with support from ICRISAT and the Philippines’ Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The series of in-country training under the PhiRARDEP aims to capacitate partners, specifically the DA regional field units (DA-RFU), state universities & colleges (SUCs), and local government units (LGUs) in implementing a vigorous rainfed agriculture research, development and extension program to enhance food, nutrition and energy security, improve livelihoods and empower communities in the country’s rainfed areas.

The training was attended by 44 participants from 6 regions of Mindanao representing 6 DA-RFUs, 9 SUCs, and one LGU. President Jesus Antonio Derije of USM in his welcome address stressed the potential of ICRISAT’s mandate crops in rainfed areas of Mindanao, and pledged his support to champion rainfed development in the areas. Dr Rex Navarro, ICRISAT’s SMCO Director, underscored innovations in knowledge sharing for community mobilization for sustainable agriculture, while Mr Joel Lales of BAR expressed DA’s increasing priority to develop less-endowed areas like rainfed farms.

The technical experts and topics presented/discussed include: Dr Myer Mula (pigeonpea, chickpea, and the importance of community-based seed system); Dr Heraldo Layaoen (sweet sorghum); Dr Thelma Layaoen (pest management in sweet sorghum); Dr Jocelyn Bernabe (Philippine pigeonpea production); Dr Fernando Gonzales (Philippine chickpea production); Ms Norma Nerona (Philippine groundnut production); Dr Rosana Mula (community watershed); Engr Teresita Sandoval (soil & water conservation); Dr Karen Barroga (knowledge management & sharing); and Dr Rex Navarro (innovation in knowledge sharing for community mobilization).

The training was highlighted by the presentation and enhancement of the regional capsule proposals by the participants and the resource persons/ consultants, for submission to BAR for further evaluation and ultimately funding support under the PhiRARDEP program.

Participants of the in-country training course held in Mindanao, Philippines.

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ABI-ICRISAT guides in setting up UniBRAIN agri-incubator in Mali

SM Karuppanchetty (2nd from left) and S Aravazhi (extreme right) with team WAARI.

ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) program in partnership with the Universities Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation (UniBRAIN) of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is setting up six Agribusiness Innovation Incubator Consortium (AIIC) in five African countries through the initiative of the Africa Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark. Each AIIC consists of a university, a business and a research partner.

UniBRAIN and ABI-ICRISAT will support the AIIC in business planning, management, and governance of the incubator and training of its staff, including refining of each AIIC business plan and sensitizing the leaders of the institutes in the consortium about agribusiness incubation.

On 29 June, ABI-ICRISAT’s Mr Karuppanchetty and Mr Aravazhi visited the West African Agribusiness Resource Incubator (WAARI), Mali, to carry out a preliminary field study and refine the business plan along with all its partners. The sensitization meeting was attended by Dr Bonny Ntare of ICRISAT, Mali; Mr Ibrahim Togola of the Agro Industrie Development SA (AID-SA); Mr M’Pie Bengali of Institut d’Economie Rural (IER); Ashley Heacock of AID-SA; and Mr Fafri Samake of the Rural Polytechnic Institute (IPR/IFRA).

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