No. 1535 7 September 2012

Water and food security
ICRISAT participates in World Water Week

Community watersheds, one of the topics discussed at the World Water Week 2012 session on the theme Rainfed Agriculture, are lifesavers in the marginal environments of the semi-arid tropics.

Agriculture is the thirstiest sector by far, accounting for 70 percent of all global freshwater withdrawals. Feeding the world population requires large volumes of water and land – resources already under increasing pressure from all sectors of the global economy.

Last week, over 2,000 CEOs, politicians, scientists and leaders of international organizations from 153 nations gathered in Stockholm, Sweden for the 22nd World Water Week. Organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), this event’s central theme focused on how water-smart agriculture can help feed the world. ICRISAT was represented by Dr SP Wani, Principal Scientist (Watersheds).

With about 60 topics in parallel sessions, the convening experts discussed and showcased solutions to ensure that the world’s limited water resources can meet the needs of growing economies and support a healthy global population. A number of seminars focused on promoting water integrity and transparency, climate change uncertainty and adaptation, micro-irrigation for food security, and capacity development for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

ICRISAT along with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Energy Agency (IEA), Chalmers University, and UNCCD co-convened a seminar on 30 August on Water for Bioenergy: Assessments and Policies to Support Improved Governance. Dr Wani delivered a presentation during the session on “Jatropha for Rehabilitation of Wastelands, Improving Livelihoods and Downstream Consequences” attended by 70 participants who deliberated on various topics on bioenergy.

SP Wani (2nd from left) during the panel discussion on the implications of water for biofuel.

Dr Wani also participated in a number of sessions on the theme Rainfed Agriculture, sharing ICRISAT’s research-for-development initiatives on rainfed agriculture for rural poverty alleviation, integrated agricultural landscapes, rainfed production under growing rain variability, and closing the yield gap.

The Government of Karnataka (GoK)-ICRISAT initiative on Bhoochetana was highlighted by Dr Johan Rockstrom, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center (SRC) in his plenary lecture during the rainfed workshop. In her summary of the week-long event, Dr Malin Falkenmark, SIWI Senior Scientific Advisor, spoke of the challenge of meeting water scarcity and the importance of
rainfed management for achieving food security.

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Rainfed agriculture R4D for inclusive change

The Philippine delegation interacts with ICRISAT scientists.

“ Investments in research-for-development (R4D) must be made on top of the Philippine government’s agenda as the key to national food security and improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers,” according to a seven-member delegation from the Philippines consisting of presidents of state universities and colleges (SUCS) and research staff of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 3-7 September.

The group with Director General WD Dar and senior staff of ICRISAT.
The visit provided the team with the opportunity to interact with ICRISAT scientists and gain first-hand insights into the Institute’s experiences in implementing science-based innovations on rainfed agriculture. Some of the lessons learned by the group include: an inclusive approach not only in research but also in human resource management; up-scaling science-based innovations like the Bhoochetana for the benefit of smallholder farming communities; marketing and communication, knowledge sharing and management; and financial management, particularly cost recovery.

Through this visit, the Philippine team hopes to sustain and improve partnership with ICRISAT through new and ongoing projects under the Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Research, Development and Extension Program (PHIRARDEP) .

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ICRISAT-ABI and TNAU develop action plan to tap domestic and global jasmine markets

GK Arun Sundar Dayalan, Additional Collector, Madurai district (3rd from left) and SM Karuppanchetty at the meeting.

The second consultative meeting on ‘Madurai Malli’ Growers Development was held at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) - Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai on 23 August. Attended by jasmine growers and university experts, floriculture officials, and ABI-ICRISAT’s SM Karuppanchetty and Siva Kumar, an action plan was developed to address issues and concerns, from production to export, in tapping domestic and global jasmine markets.

To implement the action plan, a special incubator and market development council will be set up by the Agricultural College and Research Institute, along with producers/companies, within the Mattuthavani flower market and the jasmine growing areas with support from the District Administration. GK Arun Sundar Dayalan, Additional Collector, Madurai district, attended the meeting and expressed support to the initiative. An allocation of Rs 75 lakh (US$133868) has been proposed, of which Rs 30 lakh (US$53547) would come from the district administration under the Collector’s Innovation Fund.

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HC Sharma re-elected president of International Congress of Entomology

A section of the audience at the Congress.
Inset: HC Sharma delivers his address.

Dr HC Sharma (Principal Scientist, Entomology), who was elected President of the Council of International Congress of Entomology in July 2008, was re-elected to the same position during the 26th International Congress of Entomology (ICE2012) held on 19-25 August in Deagu, South Korea. He, along with the other executive members, will serve as office bearers of ICE until the next Congress to be held in 2016 by the Entomological Society of America. Over 2,500 delegates from 97 countries participated in the ICE2012.

Addressing the participants of the Congress, Dr Sharma highlighted the need to assess the usefulness of genetically engineered organisms in agriculture and industry and their biosafety to the environment; understand the effects of climate change on biodiversity, geographic distribution, pest outbreaks, and food security; and address issues related to invasive species, bio-security, quarantine, and trade.

Dr Sharma also gave the inaugural address at the International Symposium on Insect Bio-Industry: Achievements and Challenges on 18-19 July in Yecheon, Korea.

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Local officials and parliamentarians visit ICRISAT Sadoré

Visitors with ICRISAT staff.

The Mayor of Youri and the Prefect of Kollo visited the ICRISAT Sadoré Research Centre on 27 August, accompanied by two parliamentarians and two chiefs of villages. The delegation had a tour of the ICRISAT genebank, soil laboratories, screen house, crop diversification nursery, seed production facility, and field experiment and demonstration plots.

At the Sadoré School and Sadoré Women’s Association Nursery, discussions focused on farmers’ lack of access to market due to the poor state of roads. In response, the authorities promised to encourage NGOs to visit and buy from the association, and to evaluate and address the problem of road maintenance. At the end of the visit, the delegation acknowledged the importance of ICRISAT as a scientific institution that can help alleviate poverty and hunger problems in Niger.

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