25 April 2014
No. 1620


Dr Nigel Poole leaves on a high note
Passes the baton as Board Chair to Dr Chandra Madramootoo

(L-R) Prof C Madramootoo, Dr W Dar and Dr N Poole in a show of solidarity for ICRISAT’s mission. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

"My lasting and most pleasing memory will be witnessing how lots of our research staff from Asia and Africa have grown and developed over the years to become the star scientists that they are now." – Dr N Poole

After completing six years on the ICRISAT Governing Board, and with five years as Board Chair, Dr Nigel Poole leaves ICRISAT, handing over the reign to the next Chair, Professor Chandra Madramootoo. 

In a message sent to Dr Poole, Dr Carlos Pérez del Castillo, Chair of the CGIAR Consortium Board, said, “On behalf of the Consortium Board I would like to convey to you our most sincere sentiments of appreciation for your remarkable work as Board Chair of ICRISAT. Your vision of the long-term interests of the CGIAR system and positive attitude contributed a great deal to build the trust and confidence indispensable for successful results. I, as Chair of the Consortium Board, am particularly grateful for your friendship and support.”

“We would also like to welcome on board Professor Chandra Madramootoo and are looking forward to work closely with the new ICRISAT Chair,” Dr Pérez del Castillo added.

“Nigel has brought ICRISAT to a new level of performance, achievements and visibility, leading us to an unprecedented science and institutional health, and inspiring us all with his complete faith in ICRISAT’s ability to develop relevant, practical and sustainable solutions in our quest for better livelihoods for the poor in the drylands,” said
Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General.

Professor Madramootoo, on Dr Poole’s passion to make a difference, said: “Nigel has worked so hard particularly in making ICRISAT’s South-South Initiative build upon the institute’s already strong and successful India-Africa partnerships, scaling up its role as driver of prosperity and economic opportunities in the dryland tropics.”

“I’ll take many good memories with me of my six years serving on ICRISAT’s Governing Board – the new buildings and facilities, stronger partnerships, new initiatives and the CGIAR research programs, global recognition, enhanced impacts, and so many others,” said Dr Poole.

“But my lasting and most pleasing memory will be witnessing how lots of our research staff from Asia and Africa have grown and developed over the years to become the star scientists that they are now,” he emphasized.

Dr Poole will be remembered for being a constant source of guidance and encouragement that has in the last six years fuelled the enthusiasm of a highly dedicated ICRISAT team, particularly in the process of developing and implementing a new, ambitious Strategic Plan to 2020 – one with a full promise of providing scientific innovations designed for the poor, and helping smallholder farmers gain access to market opportunities. Dr Poole joined the Board as member in May 2008, and was appointed Chair in July 2009 until April 2014.

Professor Madramootoo took over as Board Chair effective at the start of the week-long activities (21-26 April 2014) related to the 70th ICRISAT Governing Board meeting currently being held at the ICRISAT headquarters. Professor Madramootoo is Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Quebec, Canada. He joined as Board member in April 2009.

Team ICRISAT is thankful to Dr Nigel Poole for all his contributions and wishes him all the best in his new endeavors. The Team also welcomes Professor Madramootoo as the new Board Chair, and looks forward to a new level of growth and achievements with him at the helm.

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Strengthening sorghum and groundnut value chains in Nigeria

Showcasing agricultural equipment during the workshop. Photo: ICRISAT

With a target to reach one million farmers in Nigeria this year, ICRISAT along with diverse partners and stakeholders will work towards supporting sorghum and groundnut value chains by enhancing capacity building activities, field demonstrations, on-station and on-farm trials, and strengthening breeder and foundation seed production.

Two aflatoxin detection laboratories will also be set up in the country, as agreed upon at the stakeholder consultation and action plan workshop for 2014 activities of the Nigeria Government-funded Sorghum and Groundnut Value Chain Projects.

The strategy developed at the workshop organized by ICRISAT Nigeria in collaboration with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on 9-10 April, also included production of integrated crop management and crop production manuals, and evaluation of the effect of small-scale machineries on farmers’ income and sustainability.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr Martin Fregene, Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, elucidated on the importance the Ministry attaches to the two value chains and expectations from the ICRISAT-led activities. He encouraged all partners to cooperate with ICRISAT in its effort to improve agricultural production through scientific and inclusive market-oriented development.

Dr Segun Ojo representing the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) of Nigeria cited lack of quality seeds of improved varieties and low seed multiplication rate as the major constraints in increasing production and productivity of groundnut in Nigeria, and urged the seed companies, Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) and farmer groups, and research institutes to ensure that NASC is involved in the production of all classes of seeds meant for commercial purposes.

At the meeting, ICRISAT Nigeria Country Representative Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe briefed the delegates on the activities planned by the institute to contribute to the two value chains.

The workshop had breakout sessions wherein participating local government areas from 17 States were selected and appropriate varieties of sorghum and groundnut that could be demonstrated with improved crop management practices were identified. Local manufacturers and processors also used the opportunity to showcase their products and requested for closer collaboration with stakeholders to ensure improved postharvest activities and products.

The 130 participants of the workshop included representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and ADPs; State Directors of FMARD from 17 States; representatives of  sorghum and groundnut farmers’ associations and Women Farmers’ Advancement Network (WOFAN); grain marketers; agricultural equipment manufacturers, processing firms, seed companies, members of the NASC; sorghum and groundnut breeders from the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR); Prof Tunde Obilana (former ICRISAT sorghum breeder), a consultant on sorghum hybrid variety development; representatives from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), SG 2000, US Agency for International Development (USAID)-MARKETS, local media, and ICRISAT scientists.

The projects are being implemented as part of the CGIAR Research Programs on Dryland Systems, on Dryland Cereals, and on Grain Legumes.

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Extension agents and farmers in Nigeria trained on farm machinery use

Farm machinery demonstrations during the training program. Photo: ICRISAT

As part of its mission to help rural farmers adopt farming machinery and improved agricultural technology to realize high yield and reduce cost of pre- and post-harvest operation in the dry Savanna of Nigeria, ICRISAT in collaboration with the Jigawa State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (JARDA) organized a one-day training program for extension agents and lead farmers.

Seventy participants were trained to operate animal- drawn planters, multi-purpose threshers and hammer mills on 7 April at the Jangefe village, Kazaure Local Government Area, Jigawa State.

The occasion also provided an interactive forum for ICRISAT, JARDA and farmers to discuss issues and challenges farmers are facing, and means and ways to overcome them. The use, functionality and comparative advantages of the equipment were explained to the famers by Mr Aliyu Adinoyi from ICRISAT. Farmers expressed readiness to acquire the technology and use them to maximize benefits in their immediate environment.

JARDA Directors present at the training session promised to speed up the acquisition of locally-manufactured machines and extend them to other parts of the State as well. Discussions are on with the Director of Technical Services to monitor the effect of the acquisition and use of these machines on the income and agricultural outputs of the farmers.

Also in attendance at the event were Engr Sani, Director for Planning, Kano State Ministry of Agriculture, representing the Honorable Commissioner of Agriculture; Mr Alh Mohammed Adamu, Director Technical Services JARDA; Mr Mohammed Haruna, Director Engineering Services; Mr Alh Isa Gadama, Director Extension Services; Mr Alh Ibrahim Mohammed Makolla, Director Human Resources; Mr Idris Hamza Hadeja, Zonal Director JARDA Zone IV; Mr Hado Burai Madana, Zone Extension Officer Kazaure; and technicians of JARDA Zone IV.

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