14) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister presents ICRISAT groundnut variety to Anantapur farmers

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, presented the groundnut variety ICGV 91114 developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to the farmers of Anantapur district at a function organized at the Patancheru campus of ICRISAT today.

Dr Reddy The Honorable Chief Minister symbolically handed over the seeds of ICGV 91114 to a group of farmers from Anantapur district. Congratulating ICRISAT for developing ICGV 91114, Dr Reddy said that the new variety will help the Anantapur farmers obtain a higher groundnut yield even while withstanding a longer drought. The new variety will improve the income of the farmers of the district, while protecting them from drought risk.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the development of ICGV 91114 highlights the commitment of the ICRISAT scientists to reach the most appropriate seeds to the farmers. “It is a strong example of science with a human face, where the farmer of the semi-arid tropics decides what research product he wants from us.”

Trials conducted by ICRISAT scientists with farmers' participation show that ICGV 91114 yields on an average around 10% (range 5%-26%) more than TMV 2, the variety currently popular in Anantapur and released in the 1940s. The average yield of TMV 2 under rainfed condition during on-farm trials between 2002 and2005 (four years) was 1 ton per hectare. Under good management conditions in the rabi season, ICGV 91114 can yield 2.5 to 3.0 tons per hectare. ICGV 91114 matures early, is tolerant of mid-season and end-of-season droughts, has an average shelling turnover of 75%, has an average oil content of 48%, and has better digestibility for livestock.

ICGV 91114, on average, gives 10% more yield than TMV 2. For the farmers from Anantapur, groundnut is a preferred crop since it survives the rough terrain and the uncertainty of rainfall. Though the average rainfall is around 550 mm per year, some parts of the district have recorded as low as 200 mm in bad years and as high as 900 mm in good years.

Every year, on an average, farmers grow groundnut over 800,000 hectares in the district, and in good years, this can go up to one million ha, accounting for nearly 70% of the cultivated area in the district, and making groundnut cultivation a pillar of strength for the rural economy. The crop can withstand up to 50 days of dry spell, yielding farmers nuts for the market and fodder for their animals.

However, for the Anantapur farmer the choice of variety was limited. Since the 1940s the farmers have been planting TMV 2 since they felt that the improved varieties selected for propagation did not satisfy the very specific needs of the district.

ICRISAT started the process in the reverse. The groundnut breeding team from the Institute worked with the farmers to select the most suitable varieties, and together they selected ICGV 91114. The other partners in the project were the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural Research University and the Rural Development Trust, an NGO.

To strengthen the delivery mechanism for ICGV 91114, the Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at ICRISAT is partnering with Aakruthi Agricultural Associates of India (AAI) – a group of entrepreneurs operating agri clinics – and the Andhra Pradesh State Seed Development Corporation (APSSDC), the state government institution mandated to reach seeds to farmers. The APSSDC has bought 10 tons of breeder seed of ICGV 91114 from ICRISAT for further multiplication and popularization.

ICRISAT has submitted a proposal to the Andhra Pradesh Government to officially notify ICGV 91114 variety for promotion in Anantapur district.

For further information, contact Dr Shyam N Nigam at s(dot)nigam(at)cgiar(dot)org.

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