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Promoting the understanding and appreciation of agricultural research and the vital role it plays in human advancement

23
Jul

Students take virtual route to visit ICRISAT

Many students have been inspired by their visit to the ICRISAT Hyderabad campus in the past; the COVID-19 pandemic has come in as a big disappointment to many students aspiring to do so this year. Digital technology, however, has come Read more...
13
May

Genomics-Assisted Breeding 2.0 for Sustainable Agriculture

  Accelerating genetic gains through genomics-assisted breeding 2.0 approaches will deliver higher produce for smallholder farmers while ensuring sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. Ecological agriculture takes cognizance of the fact that the “symptoms” point to a larger problem facing us Read more...
19
Feb

Build trust, build lives…

“Farmers thought we were coming to steal their money!” Microfinance specialist Lamine Sountoura remembers the first time he tried convincing farmers in Mali to warehouse their produce a decade ago. Sountoura and his colleagues from Soroyiriwaso Microfinance Institute were trekking Read more...
29
Jan

Cues to making crop improvement in Africa gender responsive

A cluster of activities are helping make The Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) Project’s crop improvement efforts gender-responsive. The activities include: Gender responsiveness in product profiling, Youth transitions in the drylands and Read more...
29
May

Crops, pollination, food: Why we need bees

One-third of the world’s crops need pollination to set seeds and fruits, and a majority of them are pollinated by bees. Along with other pollinators, bees are currently endangered by human activity. There is a global decline in bee population, Read more...
24
Apr

Beating drought one text at a time

Scientists, meteorologists, start-ups and Microsoft India are coming together to crunch weather data to help farmers beat climate risks and boost yield and profit. Late nights on the family farm are engraved in Anthony Whitbread’s memory. “I grew up near Read more...
18
Apr

Containing COVID19 impacts on Indian Agriculture

The ongoing health crisis around COVID19 has affected all walks of life. Protecting lives of people suffering from the disease as well as frontline health responders have been the priority of nations. Governments have swung into actions since the Corona Read more...
13
Mar

What’s next for CGIAR

If you don’t know what CGIAR is, stop reading or ask Bill Gates (“you’ve probably never heard of CGIAR, but they are essential to feeding the world”). CGIAR with its 15 research institutions around the world, mostly Global South, is Read more...
13
Mar

Open Data is the gateway to machine learning

Data-driven decisions are one of the key drivers for high-impact research. Usually, the most expensive and time-consuming part of any research study is the design and collection of data. Post collection, quality check and data analytics are the stepping stones Read more...
14
Feb

Goats Against Climate Change

Earlier this year, Cyclone Idai swept across Mozambique. Its powerful winds and heavy rains led to massive floods, hundreds of deaths, and the large-scale destruction of crops and property. An estimated 140,000 people were displaced, and six months later, nearly one million people, including 160,000 children under five, are still facing food shortages and a nutrition crisis...
10
Jan

Actionable policies to make Indian agriculture climate-resilient

Climate change is one of the most extreme challenges Indian agriculture is facing today and will have to deal with in future. There have been overwhelming and growing scientific evidences to establish that the world is getting warmer due to climate change and such increasing weather variabilities and worsening extremes will impact the agriculture sector more and more adversely...
10
Jan

With technology and trust, we can move mountains

If you’re trying to win the trust of a community, you don’t start by building rat houses on their land. But that’s just what some residents living on Ethiopia’s Yewol mountain worried scientists were doing. They saw the slow construction of stone-pile terraces along their mountainside. And they were suspicious...
13
Dec

Decoding the ‘witch weed’ at Kenyatta University

CRP-GLDC team and the partners visit Plant Transformation Laboratory Team members and partners of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (CRP-GLDC) gathered fascinating facts about Striga hermonthica, one of the major parasitic weeds, also called ‘witch Read more...
22
Nov

How long will Delhi gasp for breath?

Delhi is considered one of the most polluted cities in the world. Air pollution is caused due to rising number of vehicles, industrial pollution, construction activities and reducing green cover not commensurate with rapid urbanization. Air quality worsens from mid-October Read more...
23
Sep

Eat Local, Eat Seasonal, Eat Variety, Eat Healthy

A friend in the international nutrition community once narrated me an interesting interaction with few tribals in their project area. While making the villagers aware about the benefits of traditional foods like millets for a healthy living...
23
Aug

The nexus between agri-food value chains and nutrition

Multi-stakeholder policy dialog in Malawi Malawi has prioritized improving food security for its people through maize-oriented policies and investments. This has, however, come at a cost of losing agricultural diversity and the nutrition benefits from diversified diets. Today, with undernutrition Read more...
10
May

Several thousand waiting tons

Balancing pigeonpea interests across two continents Ashish Goswami looks reflectively at the large godown, in Arusha, Tanzania, the white bags accentuating the lines of concern on his face. When the going is good, there would be over 200 people working Read more...
03
May

Farm production: Are we growing enough pulses?

We are moving towards self-sufficiency. The annual pulses production averaged 23.7 million tonnes in the past three years, an 80% increase over the average of the three-year period ending 2003-04. This was led by chickpea, whose share in pulses production Read more...
16
Mar

Why India needs a land leasing framework

Ensuring food and nutrition security and tackling the looming threat of climate change makes land reforms necessary.   PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) is one of the largest income support schemes for small-holder farmers in the world. A targetted Read more...
28
Jan

Misuse of the term ‘empowerment’ in daily conversations

In a world where ‘gender integration’ or ‘gender mainstreaming’ is prioritised and practiced, actors from different backgrounds come together in a ‘marriage’ arrangement of sorts, aimed at a joint objective. One outcome of this endeavor is that  participants start learning new words Read more...
07
Nov

Digital disruption in agriculture

Agriculture in India contributes to about 17% of GDP but employs nearly 55% of the population. There are about 140 m Small Holder Farmers (SHF) in India practicing subsistence farming with limited participation in markets beyond the local level. About Read more...
04
Oct

Fall Armyworm: Nipping a problem in the bud

India has to effectively deal with this new insect that can devastate maize and a host of other crops. This pest has been seen in the Americas since several decades.   The occurrence of a new insect pest, Fall Armyworm Read more...
26
Sep

Plant-based meat – the future of protein

How many of you have heard about plant-based meat? Does it sound strange, maybe yummy 😊 or not sure what? As panel expert for a first-of-its-kind summit on “The future of protein: The new food revolution” co-hosted by The Good Read more...
26
Jul

A thriving community of women seed producers

It started with just three women farmers who were part of a pilot from Pagou village, Burkina Faso, who were trained on improved groundnut seed production in 2015. The three women brought in 180 new members to three multi-stakeholder platforms Read more...
06
Jul

Who are those people we call farmers?

Agricultural interventions should match household aspirations Just about six percent of rural households in Kenya, aspire for their children to become farmers. This is highlighted through a recent study that interviewed 624 rural households from Embu and Kitui in eastern Read more...
26
Jun

Preserving legacy grains: The Persa Jonna story

In Sidam Tulsiram’s village in Telangana state, India, no festivity or ritual is complete without the traditionally revered jowar (sorghum) grains. Whether it is a wedding, a groundbreaking or the sowing of the first crop of the year in the Read more...
08
Jun

Defining India’s Agtech Buzz

  Use of digital technology for creating hyperlocal solutions and value-added services for agriculture is no longer just a blip on the radar of startups. It is an area that is fast gaining traction with tech companies, digital entrepreneurs and startups Read more...
29
May

Climate-proofing Indian agriculture

Climate change has perhaps posed the most extreme challenges that agriculture in India and across the world has to deal with today and in the future. There is now scientific consensus that the world is getting warmer due to climate change and such increasing weather variability and worsening extremes will impact the agriculture sector more and more adversely.
26
Apr

A ‘trash’ course on Ag Plastics

The last time I attended a talk on trash was at the ICRISAT headquarters based in India, where a group had come together to work towards making the campus plastic-free. While I did know of the many dangers of polythene Read more...
28
Feb

Looking beyond the big staples

Improving nutrition through diet diversification and better food systems is key to good health and for this, we need to look beyond the big staples, says Dr Prabhu Pingali in this video blog. “Defining pathways to link agriculture and nutrition Read more...
14
Feb

Resilience over profitability: Could agricultural research deliver on both?

A new study that looked at the recent research strategy vis-à-vis 45-years of research done by ICRISAT shows that distinct objectives of resilience and profitability have emerged. Sometimes technologies evolve in the labs or on farmers fields and what is good for developing resilience of smallholder farmers turns out to be effective in enhancing profitability or vice versa. Thus highlighting the intent to conduct research with clear focus and to have an open mind at the same time.
04
Jul

Like our crops, we have grown

Mid-way through a meeting between local farmers and close to 30 national and provincial level participants attending a three-day country strategy development workshop with ICRISAT in Zimbabwe, someone asks the golden question: “Is this irrigation scheme making money for farmers?” Read more...
07
Apr

Combating Aflatoxin for a healthy world

What you see may not be what you get: The case of peanut butter   Ever wondered what processes the mouth-watering peanut butter you scoop out of a bottle has gone through before landing on your plate? Who judged if Read more...
24
Mar

When cities come closer to villages

“Villages and urban towns are coming closer. Better roads, infrastructure and connectivity, improvement in transport facilities and greater market integration are helping in easily linking villages with urban towns and cities. Mobile phones, television and internet have now become important Read more...
09
Aug

Climate-smart crops for Myanmar’s dry regions

A research study in Myanmar seeks to identify crops with the lowest risk options for intensifying dryland cropping systems. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is one country where vast tracts of rice fields span as far as the eyes can see. The abundance Read more...
08
Aug

Reverse engineering innovation for impact

I recently spent a week talking to scientists at ICRISAT about innovation and how ICRISAT and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial and Research Organization (CSIRO) could form an alliance to understand how we can get better at it. I saw a Read more...
20
Jun

Identifying climate-smart sorghum lines for Mali

I am a PhD student from the Universite des Sciences, des Techniques et des Technologies de Bamako, Mali, working on the integration of crop modelling and crop screening methods to better identify drought-tolerant traits in Malian sorghum genotypes. This will Read more...
20
Jun

On gender and plant breeding

This blog post is one of several in which we aim to tell the story of how plant breeding research and variety development makes a difference to the lives of the rural poor, especially women.  Whilst a majority of the Read more...
06
Jun

Our crops and croplands feed livestock

Can Africa’s growing demand for red meat be met by better utilizing cropland resources and the available feed/forage technologies produced in the mixed crop-livestock systems of the dry Semi-Arid Tropics? The answer came to me when I recently undertook an Read more...
26
Apr

Sinking your teeth into sorghum rotis

Evaluating organoleptic qualities of varieties Crop value is determined not just by grain produced per hectare but also by its nutritional content. Improving the nutrient density of staple crops can play a role in stamping out malnourishment that endangers the Read more...
26
Apr

‘YOU’th are the future of agricultural development

Recently, I had an opportunity to join over 500 delegates at the Third Global Conference of Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) in Johannesburg, South Africa.  I was one of 75 youth delegates and social reporters, who had come together from different Read more...
26
Apr

What do we mean by ‘women’s crops’?

“Women’s crops” is a familiar feature in writing about smallholder agriculture in Africa south of the Sahara. Although not always easy to define, they generally refer to crops grown by women for home consumption rather than for sale. The growth Read more...
26
Apr

STARS-One heralds the überization of world agriculture

This post is from the blog maintained by The STARS project In October 2015, the mayor of Sukumba (Koningue commune, Mali) awarded 50 certificates to farmers who led collaborative fertility trials with ICRISAT[1], AMEDD[2], IER[3], MANOBI[4], UCL[5], UdS[6], WUR[7], and Read more...

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