The first meeting of the Groundnut Network Group-Asia (GNG-A) on 30-31 March 2018 at ICRISAT-India brought together 50 groundnut researchers to give a boost to rapid development of new groundnut varieties by enhancing genetic gain and operational efficiency.
The use of modern tools and methodologies to strengthen the breeding, testing and delivery pipelines for groundnut in Asia was the focus of this interdisciplinary meeting. Breeders from six countries – Bangladesh, Laos PDR, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India – are part of the GNG-A. The meeting focused on the need to develop efficient product development, prioritization and advancement pathways to boost groundnut production in the region.
With market demand for certain traits of groundnut on the rise, the GNG-A is expected to be a platform for product design, efficient breeding strategies, partnerships for site testing and adoption by farmers as well as for continuous exchange of knowledge and capacity building.
During the meeting, techniques and advances in phenotyping for seed quality traits, methods to characterize environments for products to adapt to, use of effective storage methods and more were discussed. The key takeaway of this meet was the unanimous agreement among the participants that building convergence for a greater impact on breeding was of highest priority, and this could be best achieved by pooling knowledge, resources and efforts.
It was also a unique opportunity for groundnut researchers from the Asian region to discuss challenges such as requirement for advanced breeding lines with key traits (disease resistance, high oleic acid, fresh seed dormancy), need for farm machines (battery-operated sheller, single plant thresher) and the requisite training and capacity-building of technicians and students. The group worked on development of product designs for target ecologies in the six groundnut growing counties. Besides, a set of activities and/or innovations identified by the collaborators will be implemented in their respective programs, and progress will be reported at the next meeting.
Dr. P. Janila, Principal Groundnut Breeder, ICRISAT, was hopeful that the group will help concentrate the efforts to develop and disseminate varieties with desirable, market-friendly traits that can improve nutrition and enhance incomes in the Asian countries. Dr. Maw Maw Naing, Groundnut Breeder from Myanmar, noted the systematic field layouts and experimental designs at ICRISAT and said that she intended to replicate the same in her home country. Dr. Radhakrishnan, Director, of ICAR-Directorate of Groundnut Research, emphasized the need for assessing genetic gain and urged researchers to use the GNG-A platform to exchange their experiences and feedback.