18 Dec 2015
No. 1706




Research priorities identified for adaptation to climate change in Asian countries

ICRISAT is working on developing climate resilient lines of chickpea with resistance to extreme weather conditions such as drought, high temperature and salinity. Photo: PM Gaur, ICRISAT

Developing legume crops that can withstand climate extremes i.e. both scarcity and abundance of water and rising temperatures topped the research priorities identified at the International Workshop on Promotion of Pulses in Asia.

Other constraints and challenges in legume crops that were identified in the context of climate change include tackling new types of diseases, enhancing crop production with less resources (land, water, etc) and providing farmers access to superior technologies.

To address these issues, the coordinating institutions of Collaborative Legumes Asia Network (CLAN)—The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and ICRISAT shared their work plans in a separate meeting. The participating CLAN countries came up with a plan for undertaking the following:

  • Development and adoption of early maturity and short-duration legume varieties
  • Enhancing tolerance to extremes of water and temperature by using modern breeding approaches in addition to conventional breeding
  • Promoting superior technologies (high yielding varieties) with appropriate agronomic packages in new areas (eg. rice fallows)
  • Promotion of hybrid pigeonpea in select Asian countries
  • Dissemination of knowledge and information on superior technologies using ICT tools
  • Enhancing capacity building of National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) partners and stakeholders in collaboration with the CLAN coordinating institutions.

The workshop was organized by Seoul National University (SNU) in collaboration with CLAN coordinating institutions from 30 November to 3 December.

Steering Committee meeting

Participants of CLAN Steering Committee Meeting. Photo: SNU/ICRISAT

In conjunction with the workshop, the Steering Committee of CLAN also held a meeting coordinated by Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Grain Legumes, ICRISAT. Dr Ashutosh Sarker, Regional Coordinator and Food Legume Breeder, South Asia and China Regional Program, ICARDA, said, “We are glad to see the revival and revitalization of CLAN after a gap of more than 10 years.” Dr Ramakrishnan Nair, Vegetable Breeder-Legumes, South Asia Regional Office, AVRDC, said, “It is great to see a network of like-minded organizations to enhance the productivity of legume crops in Asia.”

The meeting was attended by senior officials representing the Ministry of Agriculture of several Asian countries including Bangladesh, China, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and representatives from AVRDC, ICARDA and ICRISAT.

New mandate crop: The committee approved inclusion of soybean as one of the mandate crops, the others being chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, lentil and mung bean. Black gram, faba bean, cowpea, grass pea and adzuki bean have been included in the ‘Tier 2’ legume crops after detailed deliberation and considering the importance of various legumes in Asian countries.

New countries included: The committee also approved the inclusion of three new countries – Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – on the recommendation of ICARDA. Chickpea, lentil and mung bean are important legume crops in these countries.

The committee adopted and approved the name of CLAN as Collaborative Legumes Asia Network after detailed discussions. Dr Tun Shwe, Director of Food Legume Section of the Department of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar, was elected as the Chair and Dr Zong Xuxiao, Professor and Group Leader of Food Legumes Research Group, Institute of Crop Sciences of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences was elected as the Deputy Chair. The members also discussed their support and collaboration to the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals and Legumes Agri-food Systems (DCLAS) and also capacity building activities in collaboration with APAARI.

Plans are being made to organize a workshop on pulses in Myanmar or China in view of 2016 being declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Pulses. CLAN is co-facilitated by ICRISAT, ICARDA and AVRDC with the support of APAARI.

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COP21: ICRISAT in international media

Will a radical farming shift save drought-stricken Zimbabwe? A call for climate-smart action

This article first appeared in the Thomson Reuters Foundation website, 14 December

Zimbabwe’s slow recovery from years of economic depression has suffered a terrible blow from recurrent droughts halving the expected production of 742,000 tons of the main staple, maize, this year. It leaves 1.5 million Zimbabweans (16% of the population) without enough food to stay healthy, according to the UN World Food Programme. To make matters worse, because of the ongoing El Niño, meteorologists are predicting the upcoming cropping season to be further marred by below normal seasonal rains in the semi-arid southern region of Zimbabwe (FEWS). The Southern Africa Development Community has announced that over 27 million people across the Southern African region will face hunger over the next six months.

Over the last two weeks, political leaders debated how to address global warming during the COP21 talks in Paris. Yet for years many scientists have been warning us about the increase in drought risks around the world. This could lead to more frequent food crises and social unrest if no appropriate adaptation policies are in place. Agrarian countries like Zimbabwe, where over three quarters of the population depend on farming, many of which are poor rain fed smallholdings, will suffer the most.

Though clear that we are facing this enormous and complex threat, policy-makers often say they lack a consistent picture of what climate change will cost and how it will impact in terms of food security and the future of the farming sector.

This is where the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) comes in. This international programme funded by UK aid, in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture, aims to better characterize and quantify the impacts of climate variability and change on the agricultural sector and food security, at global as well as regional scales. AgMIP allows more realistic and intercomparable projections, linking climate, crop and economic models, which ultimately help farmers cope with climate variability and change.

Read more: http://www.trust.org/item/20151214144138-670zj/?source=reTheWire

Letter to the Editor, Guardian, 15 December

We congratulate the leaders of our world on agreeing to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2C or, hopefully, 1.5C – a clear signal to transform our global economy to decrease emissions. We in the agricultural/scientific sectors have a key role in meeting this transformation by finding sustainable solutions to feeding the ever growing population, particularly in the dry tropics of Asia and Africa. For example, new drought-tolerant varieties of chickpea planted by Ethiopian farmers will lift 0.7 million people out of poverty and have a positive environmental impact.

In addition to climate change, these two continents are already facing the additional, but associated, problems of gender inequality, poverty, political instability etc. We need to redouble our efforts to leverage demand-driven innovation, partnerships and policies that ensure the poor can adapt to climate variability. The hard work starts now.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/14/climate-change-and-the-continual-demand-for-economic-growth

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Dr Bergvinson along with participants of the Global Planning Meeting 2015, signing the ICRISAT mission. Over 220 staff from headquarters and other locations took part in the event.
Dr David Bergvinson and Dr Peter Carberry address ICRISAT staff on assuming office as Director General and Deputy Director General - Research, respectively.
Dr Swaminathan at the NGGIBCI-V. Over 300 delegates from 30 countries worldwide deliberated on future collaborations and ways to integrate next-generation genomics into the future of crop improvement.
In a first of its kind, introgression lines using Marker Assisted Backcross Breeding (MABC) for foliar fungal disease resistance have been bred in groundnut. This was achieved in collaboration with Indian National Agricultural Research System partners.
(L to R) Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, Dr Bergvinson and Dr Suhas P Wani discuss the new collaboration between the Andhra Pradesh Government and ICRISAT. ICRISAT is to provide technical backstopping for Primary Sector Mission.
The State Varietal Release Committee (SVRC) of Government of Odisha released its first improved pigeonpea cultivar, ICPH 3762.
Mr Rajesh Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of Odisha, discussed about initiating soil health tests and other natural resource management interventions in Odisha.
Telangana Agriculture Minister Mr Srinivas Reddy, exchanging MoU with Dr Bergvinson for implementation of ICT-based knowledge sharing platforms and other agricultural innovation initiatives. Also seen Mr Rama Rao, IT Minister (left).
Dr Bergvinson with Mr Chandrababu Naidu at the MoU signing with the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India.
Dr Bergvinson in talks with Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh (centre) and Dr Ayyappan (left).
Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka addressing Bhoochetana workshop participants.
ICRISAT was awarded Lead Center status to manage and lead the implementation of the TL-III project for the period May 2015 – April 2019.

Highlights of 73rd Governing Board Meeting

Mr Demba Camara, Second Counsellor, Embassy of Senegal in India and Mr El hadji Ibou Boye, Ambassador of Senegal in India, interacting with Dr Chandra Madramootoo, Board Chair, ICRISAT..
Finger millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.], which figured among the six small millets in ICRISAT’s research portfolio, has now been formally made a mandate crop. This decision was taken at the Governing Board meeting.
Delegates from various African embassies at the session.
ICRISAT Board Members with a partner from Africa.

Field and lab visits


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ICRISAT 43rd Annual Day
Celebrating research achievements, services and partnerships

Year 2015 has been a year of challenge and change. This year’s Annual Awards are all about celebrating people – our strength is the calibre of our people – the quality of our research and committed support staff. In 2016, I look forward to spending more time with the staff and finding ways to best support you. – Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT.

Promising Young Scientist


Resource Mobilization Awards: Major Grant

Dr Jana Kholova, RP-Dryland Cereals.
Dr Rajeev Varshney and Dr ES Monyo - RP-Grain Legumes: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Tropical Legumes III - Improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers: Enhanced grain legume productivity and production in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Outstanding Partnership Award – Asia: Joint Awardees
Shalander Kumar and Anthony Whitbread – Institutionalizing Systems Approaches for Improving Food Security and Agricultural Livelihoods in Arid Western Rajasthan.
Pooran M Gaur, GV Ranga Rao and Srinivasan Samineni – A breakthrough in chickpea production in Myanmar by enhancing adoption of short duration, high yielding cultivars.


Outstanding Partnership Award – ESA

Dr Moses Siambi and Dr Ganga Rao NVPR ¬– Enhanced area and production of pigeonpea through promotion of high yielding wilt resistant, farmer and market-preferred varieties in Mozambique.

Outstanding Partnership Award – WCA

Dr Hailemichael Desmae - USAID supported Groundnut Upscaling Project.

Loyalty Awards 2015
40 years loyalty Awardees
35 years loyalty Awardees

For rest of the awardees follow link : http://goo.gl/ocn7tt

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New publication

The effectiveness and complementarity of field days and small seed packs (SSPs) in delivering Dryland Cereal technologies: a survey of field day participants and agro-vets in Singida and Iramba districts of central Tanzania

Authors: Audi P, Sakwera L, Ziwa R, Letayo E, Ojulong H and Manyasa E.

Published: 2015. Working Paper Series No 61. ICRISAT Research Program Markets, Institutions and Policies. Patancheru 502 324, Telangana, India: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. 40 pp.

Abstract: This paper is about the result of a survey done in the 2014-2015 cropping season of field day participants and agro-vets who were facilitated to market Small Seed Packs (SSPs) and Small Fertilizer Packs (SFPs) in Singida and Iramba districts of Tanzania. The objective of the survey was to determine whether there was any correlation between awareness creation and preferences reported during field days and the demand for technological inputs from the agro-vets. The results showed a strong complementarity between the dissemination of information on improved technologies during field days and the retailing of SSPs and SFPs in agro-vets. The field days help in creating awareness about the benefits and attributes of available improved sorghum and finger millet varieties and associated agronomic recommendations; while retailing of the SSPs and SFPs by the agro-vets not only helps promote the demand for improved technological inputs but also enhances their accessibility as SSPs and SFPs are more affordable to resource poor farmers. Therefore, having field days for awareness creation without improving accessibility of technological inputs through sale of SSPs and SFPs or vice versa is futile and does not lead to enhanced experimentation and adoption of improved technologies by target farmers.


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