No. 1558 15 February 2013

ICRISAT Global Planning Meeting 2013
Inclusive market-oriented development needed to improve livelihoods of the poor

Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) is ‘value chain for the poor’. It is a development pathway model in which value-adding innovations (technical, policy, institutional and others) enable the poor to capture larger rewards from markets, while managing their risks. The larger rewards motivate the adoption and impact of these innovations. This strategy enables the poor, particularly women and the youth, to participate, rather than be sidelined in the development process.

A section of the audience listens keenly as Director General William Dar delivers his address at the inaugural program of the Global Planning Meeting (GPM) 2013 at Patancheru.

The power of market opportunities to offer more prosperous lives for smallholder farmers and their families in the dryland tropics was the theme of the ICRISAT Global Planning Meeting (GPM) being held this week (11-15 February) at its headquarters in Patancheru.

Tackling the complexity of challenges in the tropical drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the GPM is attended by about 160 senior scientists and managers from ICRISAT’s locations in India (headquarters), Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), and West and Central Africa (WCA).  
“We should never forget to connect the improvement of our crops to the improvement of the poor peoples’ lives,” said ICRISAT Director General William D Dar in his address at the inaugural program of the GPM.

“We must ensure that our agricultural research for development initiatives, which we implement with hundreds of partners like public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers globally, help the dryland poor move from poverty to prosperity by harnessing markets while managing risks – a strategy we call Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD). We must make value chains truly work for the poor! That is IMOD,” Dr Dar stressed.

The focus on IMOD was discussed at the GPM in the context of how to transition the Institute’s work most effectively into the new CGIAR Research Programs. ICRISAT is leading the CGIAR Research Programs on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals, two of the sixteen multi-Center CGIAR Research Programs and the most comprehensive research-for-development (R4D) efforts undertaken thus far on once ‘orphan’ or neglected crops. ICRISAT is also an active partner in the implementation of five other CGIAR Research Programs on: Dryland Systems; Policies, Institutions and Markets; Agriculture for Nutrition and Health; Water, Land and Ecosystems; and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.

According to Dr Dar, “the best partnerships are those that share a common purpose, with clear roles and responsibilities and sharing of decisions from beginning to end – we call this ‘partnerships with purpose’. Advancing IMOD under the CGIAR Research Programs, our partnerships must uphold the value of mutual respect – we would co-develop and co-deliver the technology to the poor on an equal partner basis.”

ICRISAT’s Global Planning Meeting is held every two years, and convenes the Institute’s senior scientists and managers primarily to discuss, prioritize, and come up with agreed research work plans for all scientists. DDG-R Dr Dave Hoisington explains that this year’s five-day GPM particularly provides opportunities to better understand the CGIAR Research Programs, and have  agreed plans to meet ICRISAT’s targets/commitments to the outputs and outcomes of the programs. It also seeks to promote and internalize team development and cultural change, and to tackle concerns on financial management and strategic communications. Updates on Critical Focus Areas such as data management, molecular breeding, impact assessment, and gender were also presented during the meeting.

The rest of the week was devoted to discussions on the two CGIAR Research Programs that ICRISAT is leading, Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals, as well as on the five other programs it is actively participating in. Agreed work plans, targets by program, and commitment by teams to work together and be aware of their commitments were drawn during the meeting sessions.

Participants from all ICRISAT locations gather for the GPM.

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ICRISAT Global Planning Meeting 2013 in pictures







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Center of Excellence on Climate Change Research for Plant Protection inaugurated

DG Dar leads the inauguration of the Center of Excellence on Climate Change Research for Plant Protection (CoE-CCRPP) facility at Patancheru.

Director General William D Dar, along with Drs Dave Hoisington (DDG-R),
CLL Gowda (Director, Research Program – Grain Legumes) and Stefania Grando (Director, Research Program – Dryland Cereals) led participants of the Global Planning Meeting in the inauguration of the Center of Excellence on Climate Change Research for Plant Protection (CoE-CCRPP) on 14 February.

Diseases and insect pests cause crop losses of over US$8.48 billion annually, and these losses are likely to increase by at least four folds under the climate change scenario. Amid this looming threat to sustainable food production particularly in the dryland areas of India and other developing countries worldwide, ICRISAT and the Department of Science and Technology (DST-Climate Change Program), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (GoI), collaborated to establish the CoE-CCRPP. The first CGIAR Center to have such a facility, CoE-CCRPP at ICRISAT will provide opportunities to public and private research institutions to conduct research on climate change and its impact on diseases and insect pests particularly of grain legumes.

The CoE-CCRPP was funded by the DST-GoI, and its facilities include Co2-incubators, Open Top Chambers (OTC), and Free Air Co2 Enrichment (FACE). During the inauguration, Drs Suresh Pande (Principal Investigator, CoE-CCRPP), HC Sharma and Mamta Sharma briefed the ICRISAT scientists from various locations about the salient features of CCRPP and the ongoing research and development (R&D) initiatives under the center.

M Sharma explains the impact of climate change on plant diseases and pests.   The CoE-CCRPP facilities.

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ICRISAT’s impact assessment initiatives featured at Australian agricultural economics society pre-conference workshop

Participants of the pre-conference workshop held in Sydney, Australia.

Five papers focusing on ICRISAT’s impact assessment and research priority setting activities were presented at a Pre-Conference Workshop on “Impact assessment analysis to support international agricultural research funding decisions: New methodologies and applications” held on 5 February in Sydney, Australia. This was a prelude to the 57th annual conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) on 6-8 February, wherein ICRISAT provided an overview of its economic analysis that supports strategic research choices.

ICRISAT topics featured at the pre-conference workshop included spillover impacts, importance of estimation methods and techniques in the application of Geographic Information System (GIS), adoption and adaptive capacity parameters, and transaction costs in research for development (R4D). Complementary results generated from alternative models were also presented, followed by panel discussions highlighting ex-post and ex-ante impact assessment linkages, poverty issues, linking priorities with resource allocation, exogenous versus endogenous adoption/adaptation, and environmental indicators in impact assessment.

Chaired by Jeff Davis, Distinguished Fellow of AARES, the pre-workshop saw renowned economists Julian Alston, Jeff Bennett, Ron Duncan, Geoff Edwards, John Freebairn, Jenny Gordon, Garry Griffith, Phil Pardey, David Pearce, John Mullen and Debbie Templeton attending. The workshop had valuable comments from Dr Jim Ryan, former Director General of ICRISAT.

Dr Cynthia Bantilan, Director, Research Program – Markets, Institutions and Policies (MIP) led ICRISAT’s team of economists (S Nedumaran, DV Kumaracharyulu, Kamanda Josey, Kizito Mazvimavi and Uttam Kumar Deb) at the workshop.

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Fodder resources management for genetic enhancement

Visitors at ICRISAT’s sorghum field.

With the rising scarcity of fodder (both straw/stover) and the need for alternative fodder resources to meet the demand of growing livestock enterprises, ICRISAT, in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has been conducting exploratory research on genetic variability of fodder (dry and green) yield and quality in sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut and pigeonpea to assess the prospects of genetic enhancement for these traits.

The need for and support to develop high-yielding and high-quality alternative fodder resources is an important component of the Fodder Development sub-mission under the National Livestock Mission in the 12th five-year plan of the Government of  India.

In this context, Dr G Narendra Kumar, Director, Country Relations and Business Affairs, ICRISAT-Delhi facilitated a meeting with Mr Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Joint Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, New Delhi, who visited ICRISAT along with Dr B Singh, Director-in-charge, Regional Station for Forage Production and Demonstration, Hyderabad. 

The visitors were briefed by ICRISAT breeders (Drs Ashok Kumar, KN Rai, HD Upadhyaya and KB Saxena) on genetic improvement of sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut and pigeonpea; and Dr Michael Blummel, ILRI’s animal nutritionist and a key collaborator on the nutritional quality of these crops. They got to see high-yielding forage and sweet sorghum materials and ILRI’s post-harvest fodder quality improvement facility and products.

During the visit, it was proposed that a workshop be held to identify key research-for-development and delivery issues, and develop effective partnerships and action plans on fodder management. It was also suggested that stakeholders dealing with fodder development in central and state governments, directors of the Central Fodder Development Research Stations, State Agricultural Universities, the private seed sector, NGOs, post-harvest fodder enterprises, and a few progressive farmers be invited to the workshop.

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Indian business incubator association awards ICRISAT incubatee

D Parihar (far left) of Bioseed receiving the ISBA 2012 Performance Award.

The Bioseed Research India Pvt. Ltd, an incubatee of the Agribusiness Incubation (ABI) program of ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP), was awarded the ISBA 2012 Performance Award by the Indian Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Parks and Business Incubator Association (ISBA) on 8 February, at Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Bioseed, part of the DCM Shriram Group, does research on agricultural biotechnology to develop superior cotton hybrids. ICRISAT provides scientific support in the form of technology assistance in the use of molecular markers, gene marker identification, and genetic transformation. The company also uses ABI-ICRISAT’s greenhouse space, biotechnology labs and agricultural land to test their material. Dr Dwarkesh Parihar received the award on behalf of Bioseed and Suneel Vemu represented ABI-ICRISAT at the event.

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Tropical Legumes II Program Officer visits project activities in Western Kenya

J Ehlers (Program Officer for TL II), E Monyo (Project Coordinator), CIAT scientists and KARI Kakamega partners evaluate soybean trials.   Listening to farmers recount their success stories and challenges in community seed production.

Soybean research activities under the Tropical Legumes II project being implemented by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and partners in Kenya were reviewed on 25 January. A team comprising of Dr Jeff Ehlers (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Program Officer for Tropical Legumes II), Dr Emmanuel Monyo (Project Coordinator, ICRISAT), Dr Fredrick Baijukya (TSBF-CIAT), and other CIAT, ICRISAT and KARI scientists visited the Lolwe Siaya county on a site managed by CIAT Maseno, where soybean yield potential trials, nutrient omission trials and soybean rust screening have been implemented. Other partners in this joint initiative include the University of Nairobi and The International Plant Nutrition Institute.

Among the material examined were rust-resistant elite lines (such as TGX 1988-5F) capable of producing 1.5 – 2.0 tons compared to the variety Nyala (800 kg ha); elite yield potential lines including varieties currently under Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS); Elite rust-tolerant lines and private sector lines from SeedCo. The nutrient omission line trials revealed P as being the most limiting nutrient to soybean production and productivity in Western Kenya. 

The team visited Mumias District, home to the Mumias District Federation of Soybean Farmers (MUDIFESOF), made up of eight farmer resource centers in the district and over 400 members. MUDIFESOF works with more than 15,000 farmers in Western Kenya and has 50 permanent members, 50% of them women. The resource center is engaged in community seed production and can sell 25 tons of soybean seed and 3 tons of processed products annually as well as offer soybean production and processing technologies.  

Program Officer J Ehlers (right) shares a light moment with Project Coordinator E Monyo.

The resource centers’ three-tiered approach to soybean as an enterprise involves promoting production at household level and using household techniques to improve household food and nutrition security; promoting soybean use at the community level while the surplus goes to the cottage industry; and supporting industry for large-scale processing as the driver for continued production of soybeans. They support farmer groups at the community level in buying processing and storage equipment for the local cottage industry (milk, yoghurt, flour, cakes, crisps and snacks). They also provide members with inoculants, small packs of startup fertilizers and training programs on soybean production.

The team also visited Butere district, where they interacted with farmers engaged in community seed production and the famers shared their experiences, success stories and challenges encountered, such as the lack of machinery to ease labor.

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Knowledge management platform for oilseed crops in the offing

Participants of the workshop on Development of Digital Knowledge Repositories.

ICRISAT and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur will jointly develop a dedicated knowledge management platform for oilseed crops under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) on Agropedia with five oilseed crop institutes as voluntary partners. This was decided at a two-day workshop on Development of Digital Knowledge Repositories organized by the Knowledge Sharing and Innovation (KSI) at ICRISAT-Patancheru on 24-25 January. Twenty participants from 11 Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes on cotton, pulses, small millets, spices, poultry, sorghum and animal nutrition were involved in the lectures, demos and hands-on training in the use Agropedia for development of Digital Knowledge Repositories.

Dr KS Varaprasad, Director, Directorate of Oilseed Research, Hyderabad, thanked the team of ICRISAT and IIT-Kanpur for assisting ICAR in building the oilseeds knowledge management portal. Participants expressed interest in developing/enriching the digital knowledge repositories of their domain fields and the team readily agreed to provide help with technology and capacity building.

The workshop was organized by Prof T V Prabhakar and Ms Tulika Sharma of IIT- Kanpur, and NT Yaduraju, Kiran Yadav, and G Dileepkumar of ICRISAT-KSI.

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