5) ICRISAT wins awards at Mexico (2 November 2004)

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) continued its winning streak this year by bagging two awards at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), held at Mexico City between 25 and 29 October.

ICRISAT was part of the Consortium that won the King Baudouin Award for outstanding research for the collaborative research work with the Rice-Wheat Consortium for the Indo-Gangetic Plains. ICRISAT is a partner in the Consortium, which is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). This is the fourth King Baudoin Award for ICRISAT, which the Institute won in 1996, 1998 and 2002.

For the second consecutive year, ICRISAT also won the CGIAR Young Scientist Award, given to an outstanding scientist, less than 35 years in age. Dr P Lava Kumar from ICRISAT was selected for the Award this year. He is from Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh, and is an alumni of the Sri Venkateswara University.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the awards are recognition of the high-quality scientific research at ICRISAT. “The awards strengthen our resolve to encourage excellence in scientific research and also strengthen partnerships with other international and national research institutions to build synergies for research”
The Rice-Wheat Consortium uses the expertise of international organizations such as CIMMYT, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and ICRISAT, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to diversify cropping and improve agronomic practices in the Indo-Gangetic Plains to sustain the benefits of the Green Revolution in the region.
The consortium is helping farmers to plant different crops such as quality protein maize, pigeonpea, mungbean, chickpea, lentil, faba beans, potatoes and vegetables for increasing incomes and household nutrition security. This in combination with improved practices such as zero tillage resulted in an estimated benefit of US$100 million for India and Pakistan in 2003.

Dr Lava Kumar's outstanding research achievements have resolved vital questions unanswered for more than seven decades. Lava Kumar has investigated pigeonpea sterility mosaic disease (SMD) - a serious threat to pigeonpea production, leading to annual losses exceeding $300 million in India and Nepal alone. SMD has long been considered as a difficult scientific problem. The reduction of losses caused by SMD directly benefits the livelihoods of marginal farmers.
Despite many attempts at several laboratories, the SMD agent vectored by the eriophyid mite, Aceria cajani , remained a mystery, and strategies for effective management of the disease have been ineffective. However, Lava Kumar's research led to breakthrough in identification of the SMD causal agent – the Pigeonpea Sterility Mosaic Virus – leading to a better understanding of one of the most enigmatic diseases of the 20 th century, ultimately paving way for the formulation of strategies for the integrated management of the major pigeonpea diseases. Lava Kumar's study was funded by the Department for International Development of the Government of UK.

His efforts to understand and control the disease have been significant in the development of technologies for enhancing and sustainable pigeonpea production in the subcontinent, where 90% of the global pigeonpea is produced.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) continued its winning streak this year by bagging two awards at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), held at Mexico City between 25 and 29 October.

ICRISAT was part of the Consortium that won the King Baudouin Award for outstanding research for the collaborative research work with the Rice-Wheat Consortium for the Indo-Gangetic Plains. ICRISAT is a partner in the Consortium, which is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). This is the fourth King Baudoin Award for ICRISAT, which the Institute won in 1996, 1998 and 2002.

For the second consecutive year, ICRISAT also won the CGIAR Young Scientist Award, given to an outstanding scientist, less than 35 years in age. Dr P Lava Kumar from ICRISAT was selected for the Award this year. He is from Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh, and is an alumni of the Sri Venkateswara University.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the awards are recognition of the high-quality scientific research at ICRISAT. “The awards strengthen our resolve to encourage excellence in scientific research and also strengthen partnerships with other international and national research institutions to build synergies for research”
The Rice-Wheat Consortium uses the expertise of international organizations such as CIMMYT, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and ICRISAT, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to diversify cropping and improve agronomic practices in the Indo-Gangetic Plains to sustain the benefits of the Green Revolution in the region.
The consortium is helping farmers to plant different crops such as quality protein maize, pigeonpea, mungbean, chickpea, lentil, faba beans, potatoes and vegetables for increasing incomes and household nutrition security. This in combination with improved practices such as zero tillage resulted in an estimated benefit of US$100 million for India and Pakistan in 2003.

Dr Lava Kumar's outstanding research achievements have resolved vital questions unanswered for more than seven decades. Lava Kumar has investigated pigeonpea sterility mosaic disease (SMD) - a serious threat to pigeonpea production, leading to annual losses exceeding $300 million in India and Nepal alone. SMD has long been considered as a difficult scientific problem. The reduction of losses caused by SMD directly benefits the livelihoods of marginal farmers.
Despite many attempts at several laboratories, the SMD agent vectored by the eriophyid mite, Aceria cajani , remained a mystery, and strategies for effective management of the disease have been ineffective. However, Lava Kumar's research led to breakthrough in identification of the SMD causal agent – the Pigeonpea Sterility Mosaic Virus – leading to a better understanding of one of the most enigmatic diseases of the 20 th century, ultimately paving way for the formulation of strategies for the integrated management of the major pigeonpea diseases. Lava Kumar's study was funded by the Department for International Development of the Government of UK.

His efforts to understand and control the disease have been significant in the development of technologies for enhancing and sustainable pigeonpea production in the subcontinent, where 90% of the global pigeonpea is produced.

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