China and CGIAR ramping up joint work in dryland agriculture
A Center of Excellence on Dryland Agriculture (CEDA) already established will now expand to a co-hosted China and CGIAR international conference on dryland agriculture in 2020 in China. Further discussions are underway for a web platform – eDAR for dryland ag research – which aims to be an e-network forum for the global research community in the drylands.
Increased collaboration between China’s research institutions and CGIAR institutes was seen as critical to drive sustainability in global agriculture, especially in improving soil health in drylands and increasing water-holding capacity of soils through measures like mouldboard ploughing, subsoil manuring and fertilizing subsoils.
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and ICRISAT have a joint MoU for CEDA located within the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture (IEDA) under CAAS. Under CEDA, CAAS provides ICRISAT and ICARDA with annual funding to hold workshops and host CAAS staff. Under ICRISAT’s collaboration with CAAS, a joint laboratory for groundnut aflatoxin management has also been established.
An ICRISAT delegation led by Director General, Dr Peter S Carberry, toured facilities in China’s agricultural universities to cognize research capacities. The delegation also learnt the revolutionary impact of plastic mulching on agriculture in China. Mulching using biodegradable sources could help in enhancing the productivity and resilience of smallholder farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A visit to the Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAS) helped the delegation explore opportunities for strengthening research collaborations. At the Gansu Agricultural University (GAU), Lanzhou, University President Prof Zhao Xingxu bestowed Adjunct Professorship on Dr Carberry.
GAU researches agriculture on the Loess Plateau, a landscape crafted by massive erosion along the Yellow River in central China. The delegation also visited GAU’s Rainfed research station in the town of Lijiabao, Gansu Province, and interacted with GAU post-grad students, including three from Ghana.
The ‘International Workshop on Dryland Agriculture Development’ organized at Shenyang, China, saw participation by multiple CGIAR centers, including ICRISAT, ICARDA and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), besides institutions of CAAS.
Dr Carberry, along with Dr Pooran Gaur, Research Program Director-Asia; Dr Mamta Sharma, Theme Leader, Integrated Crop Management (ICM); Dr Hari Sudini, Principal Scientist (Groundnut Pathology); and Dr Shalander Kumar, Principal Scientist, Innovation Systems for the Drylands, presented ICRISAT’s work at the workshop.
Hosted by Prof Mei Xurong, Vice President, CAAS; Prof Zhang Yanqing, Director General, IEDA; and Prof Hao Weiping, Deputy-Director General, Department of International Cooperation, CAAS, the workshop featured a presentation on the revolutionary impact of plastic mulching on agriculture in China.
A working group was constituted for the 2020 conference’s planning in which ICRISAT’s Dr Shalander Kumar will represent ICRISAT.