9) Australian Foreign Minister visits ICRISAT headquarters

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honorable Stephen Smith, visited the global headquarters of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at Patancheru, near Hyderabad today (10 September).

Hon Stephen Smith was accompanied by Ms Victoria Walker, Counsellor of the Political and Economic section of the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, Dr Christian Roth, Program Officer, ACIAR and Dr Kuhu Chatterjee, ACIAR, who saw the progress made in the collaborative research projects between ICRISAT and Australian organizations. They were also informed about the genotyping services that ICRISAT provides in collaboration with the Diversity Array Technology Pvt. Ltd. of Canberra, and visited the integrated watershed management and crop demonstration plots on campus.

ICRISAT Deputy Director General (Research), Dr David Hoisington, welcomed the Minister on behalf of Director General, Dr William Dar, and stated that ICRISAT’s relationship with Australia has been strong and steady since 1975. Some of the projects in collaboration with Australian agricultural research organizations are:

Re-starting groundnut cultivation in Timor Leste, where ICRISAT is an active partner in the “Seeds of Life” project, initiated by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), to re-construct agriculture in Timor Leste ( East Timor).

Improving groundnut yield in Papua New Guinea and Australia, supported by ACIAR, and using elite groundnut germplasm lines from ICRISAT.

Accelerated genetic improvement of chickpea, funded by the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd of W. Australia, and in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Food of the Australian Government, the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) of the Univ. of Western Australia, and the Punjab Agricultural University in India to develop early maturing, disease resistant, desi chickpea breeding lines.

Increasing grain legumes production in Myanmar, involving farmer participatory selections of improved varieties and crop management practices, including Rhizobium inoculation.

Improving dual-purpose sorghum crop, to increase the productivity and fodder quality of postrainy sorghum.

Improving the quality of pearl millet residues for livestock. Supported by ACIAR, the project is high-priority for ICRISAT, the International Livestock Research Institute, and Indian national programs.

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