There is a diverse array of products emanating from ICRISAT’s mandate crops chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet — that have been derived from tangible outputs of projects. These are listed under the categories of Germplasm, Genomic resources, Informative markers and and Informatics Application/Tool.
Global warming is inevitable and will have major impacts on climates worldwide. ICRISAT believes that we need to anticipate a drier and warmer climate and join efforts to promote and develop varieties of climate hardy crops that are adapted to hot, dry climates and erratic rains. Among such varieties developed by ICRISAT along with its partners are super-early chickpea, drought-escaping groundnut cultivar ICGV 91114, terminal drought-tolerant stay-green sorghum, pearl millet flowering at >40+oC, super-early pigeonpea and many others.
Ghana News Agency: ICRISAT introduces new groundnut varieties in northern Ghana
ICRISAT Scientists Use Double-defense Biotech Approach to Produce Aflatoxin-free Peanuts
Moving towards the restoration of groundnut pyramids in northern Nigeria
Potential of new improved sorghum varieties boosts farmers’ confidence in Nigeria
Introducing groundnut varieties more tolerant to Rosette disease in Tanzania
Indian smallholder farmers could soon benefit from the growing confectionary peanut market, as the first-ever high oleic groundnut varieties adapted to India are ready for release
Molecular markers for the determination of fertility restorer lines
Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] is an important grain legume cultivated in over 6 million hectares in tropical and sub-tropical regions of developing countries. Cytoplasmic genetic male sterility (CGMS) systems in plants facilitate commercial hybrid seed production because of the following advantages:
The use of CGMS system in developing hybrids is only possible when effective maintainer lines and restorer lines are identified. ICRISAT scientists developed molecular markers that can be used to identify/differentiate fertility restorer lines from non-restorer lines. As part of this invention, ICRISAT scientist developed primers (that can be used to amplify genomic segments associated with fertility restoration in pigeonpea) for accelerating the process of identification of fertility restorer lines of pigeonpea.
Cytoplasmic male sterile gene orf147 of pigeonpea
Pigeonpea hybrid technology with A4 (Cajanus cajanifolius) cytoplasm involving a three-parent system is considered one of the breakthrough technological interventions in pulse breeding. This male sterile source – ICPA 2039 – has been transferred into a number of genetic backgrounds and is highly stable across environments. However, the source of male sterility remained unknown for almost a decade. In early 2018, researchers at ICRISAT identified the mitochondrial locus responsible for cms in line ICPA 2039 of pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan), obtained from ICP 2039, a pigeonpea variety from ICRISAT’s Genebank.
Since those skilled in the art for convenience and commercial benefits are capable of creating variations and make exclusive use of this knowledge to their advantage, it was decided to protect this technology for the benefits of smallholder agriculture communities.
The mini seed pack approach consists of providing packs of improved variety of seed with informative labels in the local language, as well as contact information of the seed producer. Seed quantities are in general between 100 and 500 g per pack which allows testing of the variety over a minimum area of 100 m2.
The model involves the introduction of improved varieties and selection of varieties with farmer participation, and seed multiplication of selected varieties using science-based tools for production of quality seeds, which is stored in the village for their own use. Women in village self-help groups provide breeder seed to other women. The self-help groups can produce, process and provide the villagers/farmers income generating activity and quality seed at an affordable price.
ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) creates agribusiness opportunities for Farmer Producer organizations (FPOs) by providing advice and training for setting up and managing FPOs. This includes providing a better understanding of the gaps and opportunities in agribusiness, best practices, seed production, effective business plan development, fostering technology penetration, networking support, enabling improved access to inputs and services, thereby making their farm operations sustainable and profitable.
The ICRISAT Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program’s Seed Business Incubation initiative develops and promotes rural seed business ventures at village level in order to bridge the demand and supply gap of open pollinated quality seeds through public, private and people partnership. This involves mentoring and handholding such enterprises to develop them into professionally managed seed enterprises, apart from investing in the venture and providing support across the entire value chain — from introducing seed varieties to helping with branding, marketing and promotional activities.
ICRISAT uses a combination of control methods and options – cultural, chemical, biological, physical and the use of resistant crop varieties – to control Striga (Striga hermonthica) or witchweed, the main biological constraint to production of pearl millet and sorghum in West Africa. As a pest it is difficult to control because of complex interactions between the host cereal, the parasite, the soil fertility and the cropping system. The most severe problems with Striga-in terms of yield loss as well as persistence of the weed seem to occur where soils are degraded, agriculture is extensive, fields are continuously cropped with a cereal host, and nutrient inputs (both organic and inorganic) are low.
Watch these striga videos:
Integrated approach against striga
Succeed with seeds
Composting to beat striga
Animals and trees
Storing cowpea seed
Grow row by row
Joining hands against striga
Let’s talk money
The millet head miner (Heliocheilus albipunctella) is a major constraint to millet production in the Sahelian zone. Damage to the crop occurs when the larvae feed on the panicle, leading to 40-85% yield losses. The use of biological control Habrobracon (=Bracon) hebetor Say is effective against the millet head miner. H. hebetor is a larval ectoparasitoid of several species of pyralids which attack stored grains and field insect pests. It is easy to rear in the laboratory and completes its development within 8 days. It is mass reared on the larvae of the rice moth Corcyra cephalonica (Stainton) from wild insects collected in the field. Augmentative release of the parasitoid wasp has led to over 70% parasitism of the millet head miner larvae.
ICRISAT and partners have developed several technologies that can reduce risks of aflatoxin contamination. These technologies included the application of lime, farmyard manure, crop residues and their combinations using aflatoxin-resistant and susceptible cultivars. Several best harvesting and drying techniques such as avoiding damage to pods, harvesting at right maturity, andproper drying of pods can reduce aflatoxin risk.
Approaches such as avoiding moisture stress, minimizing insect infestation and reducing the inoculum potential of the causal fungi, implementing good agricultural practices such as appropriate drying, proper storage facilities and limiting exposure of grain and oilseeds to moisture during transport and marketing can minimize contamination by aflatoxins.
For more information, see http://exploreit.icrisat.org/profile/aflatoxin/8
The African Market Garden is based on a low-pressure drip irrigation system combined with a comprehensive crop husbandry package. It generates income for small producers, contributes to better nutrition and mitigates the effects of climate change. Combined with improved vegetables interspersed between date palms, the African Market Garden is an income accelerator. Vegetables can be extremely profitable when soil fertility and water supplies are improved as in the African Market Garden model – such as selecting varieties of lettuce that will not bolt (flower) too early in the warm tropics; tomatoes that will not drop their flowers because of high night temperatures during the rainy season, when market prices are highest; and high-value onions and peppers, along with date palms that can thrive in the climate of the Sahel.
Microdosing involves the application of small, affordable quantities of inorganic fertilizer with the seed at planting time, or as a top dressing to enhance fertilizer efficiency compared to spreading fertilizer over the field. This is a solution to poor farming techniques, nutrient deficiency and lack of water particularly in Niger and Zimbabwe where there are low crop yields, soil nutrient depletion, low productivity and farmers have little ability to invest in fertilizer.
For more information:
The Decentralized Wastewater Treatment system comprising field scale constructed wetlands is a facility for the bio-treatment of wastewater and reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture. It comprises a solar power-operated water pump to lift the wastewater, an elevated tank to hold the untreated wastewater, constructed wetlands, and a storage tank to store treated wastewater. Field trials are planned with the objective of assessing the impact of wastewater reuse for irrigation on crop yield, quality, and soil health. Low-cost, simple technology and minimal maintenance are features of this system, which is being developed as a business model for rural areas. more on wastewater management
The water impact calculator is a simple, and technically robust Excel-based decision support system to enhance water use efficiency. It helps farmers apply irrigation as per need rather than adopting a calendar-based irrigation system. The calculator acts as a decision making tool to decide the timing and quantity of water to be applied and is essential to optimize available water resources.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2, N2O, CH4) are being quantified from a range of cropping systems (dryland cereal-legume-fallow, rice-post rainy cereal/legume/oilseed-fallow etc.) under semi-arid tropical conditions using an automated chamber sampling system. Sampling chambers located in the experiment are closed and gas samples collected and measured eight times a day in order to capture the highly dynamic emissions of GHG in response to environmental conditions and management of the cropping system. The in situ gas sampling unit normally remains open (image on the left) and closes when measurements of GHGs are made (image on the right). A controller unit and gas chromatograph situated in a small shed adjacent to the trial provide fully automated sampling and measurement.
ICRISAT’s on-station watershed area is where strategic research on rainwater harvesting, conservation management as well as soil conservation and crop production on Vertisols, Vertic-Inceptisols and Alfisols is undertaken. These watershed units provide a logical framework for the management and control of water, a major limiting natural resource in the SAT. The main objectives of long-term watershed research are to increase systems productivity sustainably through the adoption of improved soil, water, crop, nutrient and pest management technologies and to assess the long-term sustainability of agricultural productivity and changes in soil and water quality.
Read more: A journey of innovation: Kothapally watershed 1999 – 2014 (4.51 MB) View Timeline
This soil rejuvenation approach involves the management of soil nutrition, which includes stratified soil sampling, analysis and recording the nutrient deficiency and recommending fertilizer application to boost the strength of the soil. The aim is to increase food production in the existing farmland while minimizing pressure on the environment through efficient management of natural resources.
The Sahelian Eco-Farm is an alley cropping system in which trees and/or shrubs are intercropped with annual crops. It provides simultaneous solutions to the main constraints of Africa’s rainfed agriculture –soil erosion, low soil fertility, low water use efficiency, droughts, insufficient supply of animal feed, low income, and inefficient distribution of the labor force.
A multi-purpose production system that enhances the conversion of degraded crusted soils into productive lands by combining indigenous water harvesting technologies (micro-catchments, planting pits and trenches), application of animal and plant residues and planting high-value fruit trees and annual indigenous vegetables that are resilient to drought environments. It also reduces further land degradation, increases water availability and the productivity of land while bringing economic benefits to farmers.
Agriculture residues and domestic organic waste are converted into value-added nutrient-rich compost using earthworms or recycling nutrients.
Unproductive bunds are used to grow nitrogen-fixing trees like Gliricidia and acacia to
generate valuable organic carbon/nitrogen-rich material or build soil organic matter content in the tropics.
This field arrangement is used to alleviate waterlogging in black soils, enabling the cultivation of soil in the rainy season. It is also possible to cultivate two crops without supplementary irrigation in black cotton soils.
A compact and portable kit based on the lateral flow immunoassay test (popularly known as the strip test like that used to detect glucose in human blood) is a simple non-laboratory-based kit that can be used directly by non-technical people such as farmers, agro-dealers and food processors to detect aflatoxin in groundnuts. It requires limited technical knowledge or training and can be done on location. For example, it can be used by traders to check for contamination before concluding a sale. The rapid test kit is affordable at under US$ 2. The rapid detection is useful for public health authorities to help identify suspected samples in cases of an outbreak of aflatoxin poisoning. It will contribute to managing and reducing the entry of aflatoxins in the food value chains, improving diagnosis for local and export trade and supporting the food processing industry to maintain low exposure levels in food products in our local markets as well as for export markets.
This was developed with funding from the McKnight Foundation and in collaboration with partners including the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Farmers Union Malawi (FUM), Kamuzu Central Hospital and Nkhoma Hospital, Malawi.
ICRISAT scientists developed a simple and affordable aflatoxin testing kit in-house to detect aflatoxins using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies. The test uses a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) to rapidly detect the presence of aflatoxins. The testing kit has drastically reduced the cost of testing crops and can be used with minimal laboratory facilities. A further important advantage of this technology is that most of the required chemicals are locally available in developing countries.
Chickpea is a lifeline food crop for India’s national food security. Rapid detection of pathogens in chickpea is important to facilitate accurate disease diagnosis and surveillance for better management strategy.
Dry Root Rot (DRR) is an emerging threat for chickpea. Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) is a fast, visual and user-friendly plant disease diagnosis device that helps quickly identify an emerging root pathogen that affects chickpea and over 500 other crops globally, including nutritionally and commercially significant crops such as soybean, maize, sunflower, groundnut, pigeonpea, jute, and sorghum.
With the LAMP technique, infection can be detected with the naked eye. It is not just efficient and time saving but is also ten times cheaper than the existing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods, which require specialized and expensive equipment.
ICRISAT’s research demonstrated 100% accurate identification of DRR in chickpea using LAMP.
Download the infographic.
Shelling groundnuts by hand is not just time-intensive; the repeated motion also causes scrapes on fingers. The groundnut sheller can shell 18 times more quantity in one hour than hand shelling. The sheller was further modified to a multi-variety sheller to be able to shell groundnut varieties with different kernel sizes. This was achieved by using different sieve sizes. The hand-operated equipment is suitable for rural areas where no electricity is available and fuel is costly. Moreover it eases the drudgery and labor of smallholder farmers.
Stripping groundnut pods from plants is a labor intensive operation in groundnut production. This has now been mechanized to ease the drudgery and labor of smallholder farmers. The A-frame groundnut stripper strips the pods from the plant and is three times faster compared to hand stripping. The equipment is operated manually and is suitable for rural areas where there is no electricity and the poor cannot afford to buy fuel. The stripper was designed and adapted through a consortium which included Compatible Technology International (CTI), Minnesota; Department of Agriculture Research Services (DARS), Malawi; and ICRISAT.
The mechanized mobile chopper can cut green and coarse dry stover into small pieces leading to efficient and optimum utilisation of crop residues. Mobile, simple to operate, and affordable to farmers, it can be transported around easily with the help of donkey cart/motorbike, and is used through farmer organizations. The technology aims to address key challenges in feed cost, quantity, quality and seasonality and inefficient utilisation of crop residue, and stops stubble burning. The chopper reduces feed wastage and improves options for critical dry and wet season animal feeding.
The Plantix App
An innovative multilingual diagnostic mobile app called Plantix, helps farmers identify pests and diseases on their crops and suggests remedies. Farmers take pictures of the affected crop and upload them on the app. The photographs are analyzed using artificial intelligence algorithms and diagnostic results are returned to the farmer. Critical information on symptoms, triggers, as well as chemical and biological treatments are provided immediately. All pictures sent using the app are geo-tagged, thereby enabling real-time monitoring of pest and diseases. The resulting metadata provides valuable insights into the spatial distribution of cultivated crops and most significant plant diseases e.g., in the form of high-resolution maps. Furthermore, the app encompasses a weather information system specific to the farmers’ location and a community feature that facilitates interaction with other actors interested in plant protection services.
The simplified dashboard with easy-to-use features helps the app take on the role of an extension worker as well.
Plantix was developed by PEAT (Progressive Environmental and Agricultural Technologies), Germany, in collaboration with ICRISAT and the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad.
More on Plantix click here.
The Sowing App
A new ‘Sowing Application’ on mobile phones, combined with a Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard, has been pioneered for farmers of Andhra Pradesh.
The Sowing App helps farmers achieve optimal harvests by advising (via SMS in local languages) on the best time to sow crops depending on weather conditions, soil and other indicators. It utilizes powerful artificial intelligence to interface with weather-forecasting models (provided by USA-based aWhere Inc.) and extensive data (including rainfall over the last 45 years and 10 years of groundnut sowing progress data for Kurnool district). This data is then downscaled to build predictability and guide farmers to pick the ideal sowing week. The goal is to create rich datasets that can be processed to build predictive models for farmers.
The Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard developed by Microsoft provides an instant overview across several environmental factors that determine a healthy crop yield. Data about crops and fields is manually collected and uploaded to a Cloud-based repository, from which using powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tools, this dashboard provides important insights around soil health, fertilizer recommendations, and seven-day weather forecasts derived from the world’s best available weather observations systems and global forecast models. This data is then downscaled for the highest possible accuracy at the village level, to transform how smallholder farmers tackle climate change to drive effective decision-making.
The Sowing App has been made possible through a partnership between ICRISAT, Microsoft and the Andhra Pradesh government.
STARS-One Android app
This application developed by MANOBI S.A., a leading specialist in mobile2web knowledge solutions, ICRISAT and other STARS partners, streams remotely sensed diagnostic metrics on crop performance, soil fertility, and yield gaps for individual smallholder fields.
AgED open courseware platform
The AgED Open Courseware Platform offers a research-infused curriculum targeting students, faculty members, extension agents, smallholder farmers, etc. through open educational resources – anywhere and anytime – in a cost effective manner. Currently, it has 7 ICRISAT courses, 11 Food and Agriculture (FAO) short courses, 1 Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), India learning module, and more than 6300 learner-participants from around 160 countries.
A knowledge delivery system in the local language for farm facilitators.
An agro-advisory platform that delivers voice messages to mobile phones in regional languages to smallholder farmers on weather, market, crop information, government schemes, nutrition and health across the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The Institute conducts face-to-face hands on specialized skill and training courses on new cutting-edge technologies, research methodologies, or other emerging topics from time to time. By gaining these skills, national partners are better able to contribute at the frontlines of the shared research-for-development agenda. Announcements of these courses are sent to national institutions well in advance, allowing them ample time to seek support for their participation.
ICRISAT’s Learning Systems Unit (LSU) facilitates the attachment of scholars, partners and students in various Research Programs and projects in all the locations and laboratories. LSU facilitates scholarly studies and joint project attachments.