7) Pearl Millet Group Meeting
During 14-16 May 2007, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will hold its 42nd Annual Group Meeting of the All India Coordinated Pearl Millet Improvement Project at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. ICAR and ICRISAT have a long and very productive history of research partnership that has led to the development of several high-yielding varieties and hybrids of pearl millet suitable for various agroclimatic zones of the country. Many private seed companies are also involved in pearl millet research and development and are now a major force in hybrid development and seed production. These joint efforts have made significant contributions towards increasing pearl millet productivity by about 65% during the past 20 years. Further, the enormous hybrid cultivar diversity (more than 70 hybrids were under cultivation in 2006) has also reduced the risk of the breakout of downy mildew, the most dreaded disease of this crop in India.
About 150 delegates from the public and the private sector will assemble at the ICRISAT campus for three days of deliberations to review the research and development results achieved during 2006-2007 and develop the work plans for 2007-2008. Scientific presentations from experts on pearl millet research in areas related to fodder yield and quality, alternative uses of pearl millet grains as poultry and animal feed, and in bakery and various types of health food products, and application of molecular marker technology to enhance the precision and pace of pearl millet improvement will also be discussed during this meeting.
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