01 Aug 2014
No. 1634


Strengthening partnerships with universities and development partners

Dr WD Dar with Alabama peanut farmer Mitch Lazenby (centre) and Dr W Batchelor. Photo: ICRISAT

On a recent visit to universities and development partners in the USA, Drs William D Dar, Director General and CLL Gowda, Deputy Director General-Research identified areas of collaboration and for strengthening ICRISAT’s partnerships with these institutions.

On a visit to the Auburn University, Alabama, during 21-23 July, Dr Dar spoke on “Why invest and partner with ICRISAT”. Dr Dar highlighted the achievements of ICRISAT and outlined possible areas for collaboration. Dr Gowda made a presentation on “Peanut research and development at ICRISAT”.

(L-R) Drs WD Dar, D Bergvinson and CLL Gowda. Photo: ICRISAT

Areas of partnerships were identified during discussions with Dr William Batchelor, Dean, College of Agriculture and the faculty. The areas are: (i) Student internships and MS/PhD thesis research at any of the ICRISAT locations; (ii) Sabbatical leave opportunities at ICRISAT; (iii) Groundnut genomics and breeding for aflatoxin and drought tolerance; (iv) Research on Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for enhancing nutrient uptake, drought tolerance, and disease and pest management (biopesticides); (v) Agribusiness incubation, food processing, food safety and value addition; and (vi) ICT for extension and distance education.

During a reception dinner hosted by the University, several key administrators from the University and Alabama state participated. Dr Batchelor highlighted the past collaboration and indicated future partnerships. In his response, Dr Dar affirmed ICRISAT’s commitment for strengthening its partnership with Auburn University. ICRISAT and Auburn University had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 for research for development collaboration.

Dr CLL Gowda presenting a ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ICRISAT’ flyer to Dr P Anderson. Photo: ICRISAT

Dr Dar was invited by the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago to speak to the students of the Business School on “Transformational Leadership at ICRISAT”. The talk was followed by a lively discussion, as students evinced interest in the IMOD framework and wanted to conduct some case studies on linking farmers to markets. The Social Enterprise Initiative of BSB, in partnership with the Booth-India Club, organized the event. Prof. Cristina Hahchikian, Director of the Social Enterprise Initiative, congratulated Dr Dar and the staff of ICRISAT for building up the institute as a premier R4D institute.

Drs Dar and Gowda visited the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle. They met Drs Pamela Anderson, Director, Agriculture Development Division; Tony Cavalieri, Interim Deputy Director, Crops; Jeff Ehlers, Sr Program Officer, Legumes Value Chain; and David Bergvinson, Sr Program Officer, Digital Design, among others. The discussions centered on Phase 3 of the Tropical Legumes Project. 

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Dr HC Sharma elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of America

First Indian to be conferred this recognition

Dr Hari C Sharma, Principal Scientist – Entomology, has been elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). He is the first Indian to be conferred this prestigious recognition.

Dr Sharma has been bestowed this honor in recognition of his contributions in the areas of insect bio-ecology, natural plant products, host-plant resistance, biosafety of genetically modified crops to non-target organisms and IPM. He has over 250 research papers, 150 book chapters, 10 research/information bulletins and 6 books to his credit.

His work has been recognized earlier by various national and international organizations. He is a fellow of six academic societies, including the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. In addition to his scientific contributions, Dr Sharma has also played a leadership role as Governing Board Member of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS), co-chair of the program on ‘Biological Consequences of Global Change’ of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), and as President of the Council of International Congresses of Entomology (ICE).

Team ICRISAT congratulates Dr Sharma on receiving this honor.

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Women trained on improving farm productivity

ICRISAT has planned a series of trainings in Nigeria for women and youth over the entire agricultural value chain.

To kickstart the collaboration with the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) a one-day training on increasing farm productivity was organised for women groups associated with WOFAN. Over the course of the season further trainings would be provided over the entire agriculture value chain – from production to processing to marketing.

Training was provided on the recommended planting requirements for sorghum, groundnut and cowpea; the use of protective chemicals for seed dressing; and the use of pre-emergence herbicide for weed control.

During the on-field demonstrations the women were shown how to treat the seeds before sowing and the best sowing practices for enhancing productivity.

At the end of the training, improved seeds of sorghum, groundnut and cowpea were distributed. The women appreciated the efforts of ICRISAT and WOFAN for reaching out to them and pledged their commitment to apply what they learnt.

The training was organised at the Dawakin Kudu farm, Kano, Nigeria on 23 July and was attended by 30 women from three women groups. The ICRISAT team comprised Mr Ayuba Kunihya, Scientific Officer, and research technicians Aliyu Adinoyi and Jerome Jonah.

After harvest, the women will be trained on seed dressing and storage for the next season. Later in the season, the women will also be trained on spraying of insecticides, weeding and fertilizer application and youth will be trained on the use of multi-purpose threshers and hammer mill machines.

This was undertaken under the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems.

Earlier on 16 June, ICRISAT and WOFAN had agreed to work together to effectively achieve their common goals of reaching women, the poor and vulnerable groups in the communities.

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Dr Rajeev Varshney recognized in list of 2014 Highly Cited Researchers

Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Grain Legumes and Director, CEG, has been recognized in the Highly Cited Researchers 2014 list. He was recognized for his work with ICRISAT and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico.

This list was first compiled in 2001 by Thomson Reuters, a media and information firm, and updated in 2004 and recently in 2014. The total list of 3,215 researchers can be reviewed and searched by field at HighlyCited.com. http://highlycited.com

Team ICRISAT congratulates Dr Varshney on this achievement.

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Readers’ comments
“One Agriculture-One Science, an initiative taken to reform education system/pattern is a need of the hour, at least in the context of India. The present agricultural education does not satisfy the needs of the Indian agricultural ecosystem – farming community, industry, trade, etc. Anticipate some fruitful results in future.” – Dr JC Rajput, Director R&D, Nirmal Seeds Pvt Ltd