Feature Story


Millet-based cooked foods win appreciation



Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture for State, Government of Karnataka, inaugurated the ICRISAT stall exhibiting several millet-based cooked foods at a two-day workshop organized by the Government of Karnataka in Bengaluru. A team led by Ms Vani Anamdas, Manager, Housing and Food Service, ICRISAT, participated in the workshop held from 8-9 July to create awareness among people from all walks of life to incorporate millets in their daily diet. Dignitaries who visited the stall included Mr M Krishnappa, Minister for Housing, Karnataka and Mr Priya Krishna MLA. The stall attracted many visitors. The Millet Melodies app featuring recipes shared by ICRISAT was widely reported in the local media.


Dr Bhogireddy Sailaja receiving the medal and certificate from Mr Radha Mohan Singh (second from left). Mr Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (extreme left) and Dr Trilochan Mohapatra (extreme right) are also seen.

Dr Bhogireddy Sailaja receiving the medal and certificate from Mr Radha Mohan Singh (second from left). Mr Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (extreme left) and Dr Trilochan Mohapatra (extreme right) are also seen.

Dr Bhogireddy Sailaja, DBT-Research Associate, Genetic Gains Program, ICRISAT, has been awarded the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Award for P.G. Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Agricultural and Allied Sciences 2016’ in the Biotechnology category. The award recognizes her significant contribution towards the improvement of rice productivity despite high temperature stress induced by climate change. The award was presented by Mr Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, and Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and ICRISAT Governing Board Member, at the 89th ICAR Foundation Day, on July 16. 


New crop sciences research center at NIAB in Cambridge to also focus on legumes and ‘orphan crops’

The inclusion of legumes and the so-called ‘orphan crops’ in the research portfolio of the newly- launched Cambridge Centre for Crop Science (3CS) was hailed as a step in the right direction by the leadership of ICRISAT.

The new center developed by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) is funded by The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). With £16.9m from the HEFCE-managed UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and additional funding from the National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust, the 3CS will focus on impact: working with industrial partners to translate the University’s strong fundamental plant research into outputs for the farmer, processor and consumer.

While 3CS will make significant contributions to the main globally-traded crops such as wheat and rice, there will be a focus on advances in the genetics and agronomy of other UK crops, such as potato and legumes, and so-called ‘orphan crops’: those that lag behind in technological advances but are vital for smallholder farmers across the developing world, said the release from NIAB.

I am delighted and excited by the announcement by the UK Higher Education Funding Council of significant funding for a new Cambridge Centre for Crop Science (3CS) developed by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with NIAB. This will be a major new research and development facility located at NIAB in Cambridge. 3CS will facilitate connectivity and partnerships between scientists, producers and the food industry both nationally and internationally to help sustainably address the global challenges of the role of agriculture in economic growth, food security, hunger and malnutrition.  I am sure it will rapidly develop into a major international centre of excellence for training as well as the delivery of better products and services. Over the last three years ICRISAT, the University of Cambridge and NIAB have been forging closer links and have several active collaborative research programs. As a Trustee of NIAB and Chair of the Governing Board of ICRISAT, I look forward to our partnerships developing and we wish the 3CS every success.

Dr Nigel Kerby,
MBE Governing Board Chair

The delivery of both public goods and economic growth is an essential agenda for today’s plant scientists, with the need to produce sufficient healthy nutritious food without harming the environment being at the top of the international agenda.

Dr Tina Barsby
CEO and Director


3CS innovations will generate new crops and new ways of growing crops for food, fuels, industrial feedstocks and pharmaceuticals.

Professor Sir David Baulcombe
Head of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences and the Project Lead for the University

New Publications

An assessment of yield gains under climate change due to genetic modification of pearl millet

Authors: Singh P, Boote KJ, Kadiyala MDM, Nedumaran S, Gupta SK, Srinivas K and Bantilan MCS

Published: 2017. Science of the Total Environment, 601-60: 1226-1237. ISSN 00489697

Abstract: Developing cultivars with traits that can enhance and sustain productivity under climate change will be an important climate smart adaptation option. The modified CSM-CERES-Pearl millet model was used to assess yield gains by modifying plant traits determining crop maturity duration, potential yield and tolerance to drought and heat in pearl millet cultivars grown at six locations in arid (Hisar, Jodhpur, Bikaner) and semi-arid (Jaipur, Aurangabad and Bijapur) tropical India and two locations in semi-arid tropical West Africa (Sadore in Niamey and Cinzana in Mali). The study shows that drought and heat tolerance in pearl millet increased yields under climate change in both the arid and semi-arid tropical climates with greater benefit in relatively hotter environments. This study will assist plant breeders in evaluating new promising plant traits of pearl millet for adapting to climate change at the selected locations and other similar environments.


Elicitation of resistance and associated defense responses in Trichoderma hamatum induced protection against pearl millet downy mildew pathogen

Authors: Siddaiah CN, Satyanarayana NR, Mudili V, Kumar Gupta V, Gurunathan S, Rangappa S, Huntrike SS and Srivastava RK

Published: 2017. Scientific Reports, 7 (43991):1-18. ISSN 2045-2322

Abstract: Endophytic Trichoderma hamatum UoM 13 isolated from pearl millet roots was evaluated for its efficiency to suppress downy mildew disease. The results indicated that T. hamatum UoM13 treatment induces resistance corresponding to significant over expression of endogenous SA, important defense enzymes, PR-proteins, and HRGPs, suggesting that SA biosynthetic pathway is involved in pearl millet for mounting systemic immunity against downy mildew pathogen.


Risk aversion and willingness to pay for water quality: The case of non-farm rural residents

Authors:  Larue B, West GE, Singbo A and Tamini LD

Published: 2017. Journal of Environmental Management, 197: 296-304. ISSN 0301-4797

Abstract: Stated choice experiments are used to investigate the economic valuation of rural residents living in the province of Quebec for water quality improvements. In Quebec, rural residents played an important role in the setting of stricter environmental regulations. Unlike most stated choice experiments about the valuation of improvements in water quality, this study explicitly accounts for risk in the design and analysis of choice experiments. Risk in phosphorus and coliform reductions is introduced through a three-point uniform distribution in the choice sets. The results show greater support for constant absolute risk aversion preferences than for constant relative risk aversion. Rural residents value coliform and phosphorus reductions and the more educated ones are particularly willing to see the government tax farmers and taxpayers to secure such reductions. As the science improves and risk in water quality outcomes decrease and as the political weight of non-farm rural residents increase, it should be easier for governments to replace voluntary cost-share programs by polluter-payer programs.


Payments for ecosystem services and agricultural intensification: Evidence from a choice experiment on deforestation in Zambia

Authors: Vorlaufer T, Falk T, Dufhues T and Kirk M

Published: 2017, Ecological Economics, 141: 95-105. ISSN 09218009

Abstract: Agriculture is considered to be one of the major drivers of deforestation worldwide. In developing countries in particular this process is driven by small-scale agriculture. At the same time, many African governments aim to increase agricultural productivity. Empirical evidence suggests, however, that win-win relationships between agricultural intensification and forest conservation are the exception. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) could be linked to agriculture support programs to simultaneously achieve both goals. We report from a discrete choice experiment in Zambia that elicited preferences of smallholder farmers for PES contracts. Our results suggest that potential PES recipients in Zambia value in-kind agricultural inputs more highly than cash payments (even when the monetary value of the inputs is lower than the cash payment), highlighting that PES could potentially succeed in conserving forests and intensifying smallholder agriculture. Respondents who intended to clear forest within the next three years were found to require higher payments, but could be motivated to enroll in appropriately designed PES.











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