31 Dec 2015
No. 1708

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Working towards release of drought tolerant and disease resistant groundnut varieties in Nigeria

Breeders and extension agents interact with farmers during a monitoring team visit to a groundnut participatory varietal trial site.. Photo: Benjamin, Shiyanbola

With the aim of proposing best bet groundnut varieties for release by the National Agricultural Seed Council, multi-location trials were conducted for the 2015 cropping season at Minjibir, Gumel, Zango and Zaria in northern Nigeria. The screening was for rosette tolerance, aflatoxin resistance, foliar fungal disease resistance and drought tolerance.

Along with national partners, the ICRISAT groundnut breeding team has been working on developing varieties that are early maturing; climate resilient; have high pod, haulm and oil yields; tolerant to biotic stresses such as rosette, aflatoxin, leaf spot diseases; and resistant to aphids, borers and spider mites.

Alongside the recent trials, on-station performance evaluations were held at Minjibir and Zaria managed by a team comprising research staff of the Institute for Agricultural Research and ICRISAT. The trials at all locations, for selection for drought tolerance and disease resistance, consisted of 15 breeding lines and three local varieties as checks. A standard randomized complete block design with three replicates and six entries per block was used with every replicate having three blocks.

Independent exercises were conducted at three of the four sites during the 2015 cropping season. The ICRISAT groundnut breeding team was led by Dr Babu Motagi, Senior Scientist - Groundnut Breeding (Grain Legumes). The participatory varietal selection exercises were initially lead by Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, Nigeria Country Representative and Principal Scientist, Agronomy.

The exercises at the three field sites were led by Dr Vabi Boboh Michael, Country Project Manager, Nigeria, along with groundnut breeding research technicians. Results of pair-wise ranking exercise in the trials indicated the alignment of farmers’ preference with groundnut breeders’ concerns on the development of improved groundnut varieties.


Project: Tropical Legumes-III (TL-III) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Groundnut Upscaling Project.

CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes

Investors: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID

Partners: Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR); extension agents of Agricultural Development Program (ADP), farmers of Minjibir, Zango, Bayero University Kano (BUK) and Gumel Local Government Area.

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New pigeonpea variety release holds potential for doubling production in Andhra Pradesh, India

Ms Madhavi, a farmer and seed producer, grows Amaravathi variety of pigeonpea . Photo: ICRISAT

A new variety (LRG 52) named Amaravathi after the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, India, has the potential to more than double yields from the present levels. It was recently released for cultivation by the State Varietal Release Committee.

For the past six decades pigeonpea productivity in Andhra Pradesh was stagnant at around 600 kg per ha with terminal moisture stress being the main constraint. LRG 52 has yield potential of 2 to
ns per ha under rainfed conditions and 3 tons per ha under irrigated conditions. It reaches maturity in 150 days and is moderately tolerant to helicoverpa, maruca, pod fly, Fusarium wilt and Sterility mosaic diseases. It was readily accepted by farmers, traders and consumers owing to its bold seed and good dal recovery.
Collaborative efforts of ICRISAT with Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) led to the release.

Pigeonpea is an important rainfed crop in the state of Andhra Pradesh cultivated in 200,000 ha. It is an integral component of various cropping systems and is grown sole or as an intercrop with groundnut, millets, cotton and other pulses.

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Phenotyping of water saving traits and its application in breeding drought tolerant crops

Phenotyping of water saving traits for water-limited environments can be applied for breeding drought tolerant crops.

Recent research on the different water use traits of pearl millet focused on limited transpiration under high evaporative demand i.e. plants’ ability to restrict transpiration during the hot and dry parts of the day has identified the contribution of particular water transport pathways among different genotypes contrasting for drought adaptation. Since the limited transpiration trait can be measured across many experimental systems (e.g. hydroponics, pot culture, lysimetric facility) it can be used to pre-screen large number of germplasm and can be incorporated in breeding populations for target drought-prone regions.

These findings were presented by Ms M Tharanya, Research Scholar, Crop Physiology, ICRISAT, in her presentation titled ‘Water saving traits for drought adaptation in pearl millet’ at Tropag2015.

Tropag2015 was organized by Queensland University and Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at Brisbane, Australia, from 16-18 November

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Dr Hari Upadhyaya, Director ICRISAT Genebank, was awarded the Dr Harbhajan Singh Award for the biennium 2013-14 by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources. The award recognizes his scientific excellence, leadership and outstanding contributions in the field of plant genetic resources.
Dr Eva and Dr Fred Weltzien-Rattunde received the Justus-von-Liebig Award for World Nutrition 2015 for their work on improving nutritional qualities of sorghum for human consumption and for fodder and improving resistance to drought, diseases and pests.
Dr Suhas P Wani, Director, ICRISAT Development Center, was awarded the Krishi Sanman Award for his contributions to Indian agriculture. The award was presented by Mr Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, and Mr E Khadse, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Maharashtra.
Deepa Jaganathan Research Scholar, Center of Excellence in Genomics, ICRISAT, has been awarded the Young Scientist Award by Dr KV Rao Scientific Society for her article – Genotyping-bysequencing Based Intra-specific Genetic Map Refines a ‘QTLhotspot’ Region for Drought Tolerance in Chickpea – published in Molecular Genetics and Genomics. This is the third award she has received for her PhD work supervised by Dr Rajeev Varshney.
Mr SM Karuppanchetty, Chief Operating Officer, Agribusiness Incubation Program, ICRISAT, received the Indira Gandhi Sadbhawna Award from International Business Council for outstanding achievements and contributions in agribusiness and incubation development in India. Mr Harikesh Bahadur, MP, Mr BN Singh, Former Governor of Tamil Nadu and Mr Virender Kataria, Former Governor of Pondicherry presented the award.
ICRISAT and SAB Miller received a ‘Special Mention’ Certificate of Good Practice Recognition for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) case study ‘ICRISAT – SABMiller @ Medak’. Ms Lakshmi Pillai, Senior Donor Intelligence Officer, Strategic Marketing & Communication, received the certificate.
Dr Manish Roorkiwal, Special Project Scientist- Grain Legumes, has been selected for the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Faculty Award by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
Dr Hari C Sharma, Principal Scientist – Entomology, ICRISAT, being conferred the Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. Dr Sharma received this honor in recognition of his contributions in the areas of insect bioecology, natural plant products, host-plant resistance, biosafety of genetically modified crops to nontarget organisms and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Dr Peter Carberry, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT, was awarded the 2015 Advance Global Australian Award in the Food and Agriculture Category for his work in the international agricultural sector. Watch Dr Carberry talk about his work and association with ICRISAT https://youtu.be/oCccu-xej0A
The Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program of ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) was recognized in the category ‘Exemplary Contribution in Agriculture’ at the India-Africa Champion in Biz Awards 2015 that was organized by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) on 19 October.
Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director and Director, Centre of Excellence in Genomics (CEG), ICRISAT, was awarded the Thomson Reuters Research Excellence - India Citation Awards 2015. Dr Varshney was also on the 2014 List.
ICRISAT received the Abhinav Puraskar (Innovative Award) in Integrated Watershed Management. The award was received by Dr Suhas P Wani, Director, ICRISAT Development Center on behalf of ICRISAT.
Dr Rajeev Varshney was felicitated by his Alma Mater – Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) for being awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award – 2015. Dr Varshney is the third alumni of AMU who was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award.
Dr Abhishek Rathore, Senior Scientist, Breeding Informatics Unit, has been awarded with the prestigious Dr DN Lal Memorial Lecture Award of Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics (ISAS) for his significant contribution made in the field of statistics, biometrics and bioinformatics.
ICRISAT Development Center (IDC) was recognized in the category ‘Best environmental friendly project’ at the Asian CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Leadership Awards.
Dr Rajeev Varshney was conferred the Fellowship of the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA).
Dr Hima Bindu Kudapa, Scientist (Genomics and Molecular Breeding), was awarded the Medal for Young Scientists-2015 by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) for her significant contribution in development of genomics resources and application of modern genomic tools for understanding the mechanism of stress tolerance in legumes. The award was presented by Prof Raghavendra Gadagkar, President, INSA. In 2015, Dr Hima Bindu also received the The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) - Young Scientist Platinum Jubilee Award.
Dr CL Laxmipathi Gowda, former Deputy Director General - Research, ICRISAT, was elected Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). He was also elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences – a national level body in India devoted to agricultural sciences.
Dr Mohammed Akbar, Visiting Scientist - Entomology, ICRISAT, was conferred the KK Agarwal Gold Medal for the best poster presentation on “Elevated CO2 Levels Influence Metabolism and Development of Helicoverpa armigera in Chickpea” by S Md Akbar and HC Sharma. The award was presented at the International Conference on Climate Change and Sustainability, at the 35th Annual Session of The Academy of Environmental Biology.
Ms Pushpa, Associate (Telephone Operator) FETS, won the “Secretary and Administrative Professional of the year – 2015 (SAP-C)” contest conducted by the Hyderabad Chapter of the Indian Association of Secretaries and Administrative Professionals.

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New publications

Exploring options for sustainable intensification in different farming system types of four Africa RISING countries

Authors: Timler C, Michalscheck M, Klapwijk C, Mashingaidze N, Ollenburger M, Falconnier G, Kuivanen K, Descheemaeker K and Groot J

Published: 2015. In: International Conference in Integrated Systems Research, March 3 - 6, 2015, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Abstract: In sub-Saharan Africa, the identification and dissemination of options for sustainable intensification is hampered by the large diversity within and between farming systems, and their complexity arising from the interactions among different farm components and external factors. This study therefore uses an integrated farming systems approach to identify and assess context-specific improvements that can then be implemented and tested on-farm to foster experiential learning and facilitate adoption. http://oar.icrisat.org/9198/

Impact assessment of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy for suppression of mango-infesting fruit flies in Kenya

Authors: Muriithi BV, Affognon HD, Diiro GM, Kingori SW, Tanga CM, Nderitu PW, Mohamed SA and Ekesi S

Published: 2016. Crop Protection, 81. pp. 20-29.

Abstract: Two waves of data collected from a sample of mango farmers in Meru County in Kenya were utilized to evaluate the impact of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy for controlling fruit flies in mango-production. The effect of five IPM practices were specifically explored including parasitoids (p) and Metarhizium anisopliae-based biopesticides (biop), orchard sanitation (os), spot spray of food bait (fb) and male annihilation technique (mat) on three outcome indicators: farmer pesticide expenditure, farm-level mango fruit yield losses and profit. Difference-in-difference and household fixed effects regression models that account for unobserved heterogeneity across households were considered. Estimates differentiated the impact of the different IPM components, in comparison to farmers' practices as a control group. The descriptive statistics of the study show that application of the IPM strategy resulted in a 48% average increase in mango net income compared to the previous season irrespective of the IPM combination component used. http://oar.icrisat.org/9200/

Identification and Evaluation of Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Allotetraploid Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Based on Amplicon Sequencing Combined with High Resolution Melting (HRM) Analysis

Authors: Hong Y, Pandey MK, Liu Y, Chen X, Liu H, Varshney K, Liang X and Huang S

Published: 2015. Frontiers in Plant Science, 06 (1068).

Abstract: The cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an allotetraploid (AABB) species derived from the A-genome (Arachis duranensis) and B-genome (Arachis ipaensis) progenitors. Presence of two versions of a DNA sequence based on the two progenitor genomes poses a serious technical and analytical problem during single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker identification and analysis. In this context, 200 amplicons derived from expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and genome survey sequences (GSS) to identify SNPs in a panel of genotypes consisting of 12 cultivated peanut varieties and two diploid progenitors representing the ancestral genomes were analyzed. A total of 18 EST-SNPs and 44 genomic-SNPs were identified in 12 peanut varieties by aligning the sequence of A. hypogaea with diploid progenitors. In order to estimate the potential and further applicability of these identified SNPs, 96 peanut varieties were genotyped using high resolution melting (HRM) method. Results showed that SNPs can be identified in allotetraploid peanut with high accuracy through amplicon sequencing and HRM assay.  http://oar.icrisat.org/9191/

Re-designing smallholder farming futures for reduced vulnerability to climate change in semi-arid southern Africa

Authors: Sabine HKT, Katrien D, Patricia M, Arthur CG, Olivier C, Lieven C and Valdivia R

Published: 2015. In: The 5th International Symposium for Farming Systems Design, September 7 - 10, 2015, Montpellier, France.

Abstract: Earlier results from testing climate change adaptation options showed that incremental improvements in fertilizer application rates, use of adapted maize cultivars or introduction of forage production are insufficient for substantial improvement of smallholder livelihoods. In this paper the effects of more transformative system re-design on households’ vulnerability to climate change, farm net returns and poverty rates were explored. The hypothesis that packages tailored to specific farm situations are more effective than blanket recommendations was tested. http://oar.icrisat.org/9206/

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