Mr Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India, who took on the mantle from Dr SK Pattanayak, is the current ex-officio member of the ICRISAT Governing Board.
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At a brief meeting in Delhi, Mr Agarwal assured his total support to ICRISAT and appreciated its research activities. ICRISAT’s leadership comprising of Drs Peter Carberry, Director General (Acting) and Arabinda Padhee, Director, Country Relations and Business Affairs, welcomed him and reiterated their commitment to agricultural research in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
At the recently-concluded ICRISAT Board meeting, Dr Pattanayak was given a warm farewell on his retirement and was lauded for being instrumental in 2018 being designated as the ‘National Year of Millets’.
ICRISAT’s leadership acknowledged his immense contribution, calling him an ‘incredible supporter’ and a great friend of ICRISAT.
This is to announce that Dr David Bergvinson stepped down as Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), effective 24 October 2018.
Since joining ICRISAT in January 2015, Dr Bergvinson has played a critical role in giving a new direction to ICRISAT’s work in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, leading a demand-driven innovation agenda for the drylands for over three years. ICRISAT wishes Dr Bergvinson success in his future endeavors.
Dr Bergvinson extended his thanks to the talented ICRISAT staff and partners, and the support of donors and governments for the privilege of working with them to make a difference in the lives of millions of smallholder farm families in the drylands of Asia and Africa.
Dr Peter Carberry has been appointed to the Director General position for an interim period of 12 months effective 24 October 2018, while the recruitment of a new DG is undertaken. The Board recorded its appreciation and thanked Dr Carberry for his exemplary leadership in steering ICRISAT during the recent past.
Farmers across Karnataka in India will now be able to combat crop diseases with the touch of a screen. Plantix, an Android smartphone app that can detect pests, diseases and also identify nutrient deficiencies, was launched in the local language Kannada on Monday.
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Speaking at its launch in Bengaluru, Karnataka’s Agriculture Minister N H Shivashankar Reddy said, “Plantix can be a game-changer for agriculture, even in remote corners of the state. It is heartening to see the use of smartphone technology to benefit farmers.”
Plantix, developed by German startup Progressive Environmental and Agricultural Technologies (PEAT), uses deep learning to detect more than 300 diseases, from images of crops uploaded by farmers. Besides diagnosis, the automatic image recognition app geo-tags uploaded images to monitor crop health across regions. Large-scale data is made available to users through maps. Detection is followed by detailed and easy-to-understand diagnostic suggestions. ICRISAT has been working with technology solution providers such as PEAT for profitable and sustainable farming across the value chain, specifically for smallholder farmers.
“The Digital Agriculture team at ICRISAT is constantly looking for a range of innovative solutions that benefit the smallholder farmer, by working with the agri-tech startup ecosystem in India,” noted Dr Anthony Whitbread, Research Program Director at ICRISAT, who also emphasized the potential of technology from diagnosis to marketing. “Plantix is one great example of harnessing the power of the digital agriculture revolution,” he said.
“We are honored that the Government of Karnataka officially launched Plantix. We believe that it is the absolute promise when governments, CGIAR institutions and startups join forces to work together. That is the synergy that can give farmers the support they deserve,” said Simone Strey, CEO, PEAT.
Underlining the importance of the app, Dr Sreenath Dixit, Principal Scientist and Theme Leader at ICRISAT Development Center, said the app would empower smallholder farmers of Karnataka. “Plantix can enable farmers in identifying and managing crop pests and diseases through advisories and weather-related information. An integrated community-level interaction feature in the app will further help us support them better,” he added.
Plantix has grossed 3.8 million downloads and has been rolled out in over 10 languages. The Kannada language version of the app can be downloaded from Google Play.
India’s first FAW live tracking tool and farmer advisories to assist in risk mitigation of smallholder farmers
Over 30 scientists from global agricultural research institutes have joined forces to combat the spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) in India. Equipped with a real-time tracking tool, they are set to take on the highly invasive pest with an early warning system for farmers and policymakers alike.
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The Farmer app Plantix Pest Tracker, receives 20,000 images every day from across India, and the data is used to derive insights by tethering all coordinates to a 10 km radius. Scientific staff from the Progressive Environmental and Agricultural Technologies (PEAT), Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), and ICRISAT, are leading the efforts with support from State governments and other research partner institutions.
With confirmed attacks on Maize, Sorghum, Pearl millet, Finger millet, Little millet and Foxtail millet in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, since July 2018 the FAW is fast emerging as a major threat to food security and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in India. Native to Eastern and Central North America, and South America, it was spotted on the African continent two years ago. Highly destructive of more than 80 plant species it has since cost billions of dollars in crop losses. Along with partners, ICRISAT has been actively involved in global efforts to combat this pest with digital technology the latest addition to this.
“We were able to identify thousands of incidents with a high likeliness – just within the past month. Through our database, we are able to generate an early warning system for farmers who might be at risk. Based on this, we already sent push notifications to nearly 50,000 of our users through our Plantix app,” says Simone Strey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PEAT.
Both Crop Protection and Digital Agriculture teams have been receiving proactive support from Government of Andhra Pradesh with continuous participation from scientists, experts, and the extension workers of the Department of Agriculture in documenting FAW cases via the Plantix app. Furthermore, the shared project between CABI and PEAT in Tamil Nadu also focuses on the occurrence of FAW.
“It is very valuable to have a live tracking system that is freely available for all stakeholders, especially to Governments who coordinate the response to new invasions. This is a logical next step of our ongoing cooperation,” says Roger Day, Program Executive, Action on Invasives, CABI.
“Real-time tracking of the pest is crucial to the fight as infestation levels may increase. We are, therefore conducting further studies on the pest’s biology and their diets under lab conditions at ICRISAT,” says Dr Kiran Sharma, Deputy Director General-Research ICRISAT.
Timely access to quality seeds by smallholder farmers is a major enabler for agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Farmers with the appropriate variety of seeds and related packages can reap substantial rewards in terms of improving food security and reducing poverty. Seed roadmaps play a crucial role in enabling national governments, small seed producers, and the private sector in planning, producing, tracking and delivering quality seeds to smallholder farmers.
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Understanding the crucial role of seed roadmaps, ICRISAT’s Digital Agriculture team as part of the Tropical Legumes III project, recently created an online digital seed catalogue and seed roadmap tool. These provide insights into varietal weaknesses and strengths that inform crop breeding priorities and variety replacement needs to develop crop ‘breeding product profiles’. The tools facilitate planning the availability of early generation seed (EGS) for new crop varieties and variety replacement/recall year.
Training seed systems stakeholders, including national partners, private seed companies, small seed producers, and farmer-based seed producing units in using these digital tools is an important step in operationalizing them. With support from the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (CRP-GLDC) under Flagship 4 activities, two training programs were conducted at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (3-4 September) and Kampala, Uganda (6-7 September) to demonstrate both the tools.
Seventy nine participants representing NARS partners, NGOs, CGIAR centers and the private sector [Eastern Agricultural Development Co’ Ltd (EADCL), Victoria Seeds Limited, Pearl Seeds Ltd, Kitagata Mixed Farmers Coop Society Ltd, CEDO SEEDS, Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE), NARO Holdings Ltd (NHL), Facilitation for Innovations and Sustainable Productivity (FINASP), Equator Seeds Limited and Uganda Seed Trade Association (an association of 27 private seed companies)] included 39 from Ethiopia representing chickpea, common bean, finger millet and sorghum, and 40 from Uganda representing common bean, finger millet, groundnut and sorghum.
The first day of the training focused on identifying, reviewing, trimming and editing the data fields defined in the seed catalogue. As a standard feature, the seed catalogue tool provides 77 data fields for every crop and country. Participants could review the data field list and propose changes for a crop and country. Most teams suggested the inclusion of new fields specific to crops and countries. Data on the seed varieties in the catalogue were reviewed by crop-specific teams, who added new varieties and the associated data in the catalogue.
A live dashboard provided an incentive for the participants to improve the data and track data completeness in the catalogue tool.
How the training fared with data completion in Ethiopia
In Uganda, the data completeness pre-workshop stood at 53% (cropwise break up: Common bean [45%], finger millet [40%], groundnut [71%] and sorghum [54%]) and post-workshop 91% (common bean [86%], finger millet [91%], groundnut [98%] and sorghum [89%]).
The second day saw a hands on training on using the digital seed roadmap tool. While the participants felt the tool was very useful in planning their seed production cycles, they suggested the addition of more crops; splitting foundation seed into Pre-basic and Basic seed categories to better suit NARS parlance; percentage-wise allocating of seed production among the planning units; multiple selection to bring all planning units into a single step; including seed classes (such as C1, C2, and C3 for Ethiopia and Quality Declared Seed (QDS – for Uganda), and mechanisms to handle season-wise production and to tailor the tool for seed companies.
Point of Contacts (POCs) were identified, who will be given login credentials to access both the tools and serve as liaisons between the crop and DAY teams. Feedback on the training through a custom-built online platform revealed a very positive response, with 42% of trainees from Ethiopia and 44% from Uganda ranking the training as very good. Most participants were keen on similar trainings and refresher courses in other countries as well. The Uganda Seed Trade Association has requested a demo of the tool and is keen to explore the possibility of a separate instance of the tool for USTA.
The training was conducted by Ms. Kanika Singh, Project Officer, DAY and supported by Mr. Krishnam Raju of Keansa Solutions, who co-developed these tools with ICRISAT.
The process of selecting crop-specific varietal characteristics
In the initial phase, the seed catalogue comprised of 77 varietal traits, which were common for all the crops in the tool (the example of common bean variety Awash 1 in Ethiopia (image 1). As we progressed with adding data, it was realized that some fields were not applicable for crops individually. This gave an impression of data incompleteness and the need to trim the list of varietal traits, specific to each crop, which was an important part of the training workshop. To conduct this exercise, an online system was created where the participants had to select their respective country and crop and the list of traits was displayed for them. A check box was provided with each trait (image 2). Participants were asked to discuss and uncheck the traits that did not apply to their crops. Upon completion of this activity, the results were displayed (image 3); so only the selected traits were saved and displayed in the seed catalogue. Following the exercise, the common bean team in Ethiopia now has 50 traits in the catalogue with 87% of data completeness.
Data collection in agriculture research fields is all set to become cheaper, rapid and more precise with the foray of drones. Worldwide, agri-researchers are increasingly opting for modern tools to speed up efforts to feed a growing planet and meet the Global Goal of ‘No hunger’ by 2030.
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The future of drones in agriculture is a subject undergoing intense study. In line with it a working group formed by the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture gathered in Zanzibar, Tanzania, for a brainstorming session cum hands-on workshop on how to use drones for breeding and other crop data collection applications.
The working group discussed use cases to help real-time monitoring of crop health and farming operations, spraying or dusting pesticide, fertilizer application, crop monitoring, recording of morphological traits such as plant height and flowering, etc. Ideas discussed included crop surveys ranging from weekly/daily to hourly based on research needs and how the information can be used to prepare a time-series animation i.e. imagery that can show changes in the crop, revealing trouble spots or opportunities for better crop management.
The hands-on exercises were on two different kinds of drones, namely fixed wings (senseFly – eBee) and quadcopter (DJI- Phantom). eBee has the ability to cover a long flight path and give an overall view of the field in a very short time, whereas DJI-Phantom can fly low and give greater crop details.
The CGIAR Big Data Platform and Excellence in Breeding Platforms are continuously working to bring direct application and use case of drones to agricultural research fields and ICRISAT is actively engaged and coordinating with these platforms. At the meet, Dr Abhishek Rathore, Theme Leader – Statistics, Bio-Informatics & Data Management, ICRISAT, emphasized the need for a smart data ecosystem for drones, which can store, clean, analyze and feed data to the breeding data management system through application program interfaces. Most institutions agreed and are also planning to bring such systems and platforms into routine use.
The event held in September was assisted by WeRobotics and Tanzania Flying Lab. Several experts and participants from various CGIAR institutes, agriculture research institutes and universities attended.
CGIAR-wide skill development program on bioinformatics and biometrics
Bioinformatics, biometrics and data science practitioners from several CGIAR centers converged on a multi-institutional workshop to update themselves on the latest trends. These skill upgrades would help scientists to communicate their research data clearly and effectively to their target audience.
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The goal of the workshop ‘Annual Collaborative Workshop for Bioinformatics & Biometrics Community of Practice (CoP) under Excellence in Breeding (EiB) Platform-Module 5’ was to bring colleagues from across the CGIAR research centers closer to recent developments in technology through skill development.
Genomic selection (GS) and genomic prediction (GP), and web application development using R Shiny were the two integral components of the workshop. Professor Jean-Luc Jannink and Dr Marnin Wolfe from Cornell University were resource persons for GS and Mr Omar E Benites and Mr Ivan Perez from the International Potato Centre for R Shiny.
Over a period of six days – divided into two sessions of three days each – the participants picked up the latest technology updates in the above topics, discussed use cases of GS/GP with real-time test data, learned various strategies and statistical models for the GS including review of field trial data and its analysis, and gained hands-on experience in developing and hosting dashboards using Shiny, among other activities.
The workshop, held during 23-29 September 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, was organized by Dr Abhishek Rathore, EiB Module 5- Bioinformatics & Biometrics CoP Coordinator & Theme Leader, Statistics, Bioinformatics and Data Management, ICRISAT. The workshop was funded by EiB Module 5 and has support from EiB-Module 5 Leader, Dr Kelly R Robbins. Twelve representatives from the Africa Rice Center, International Potato Center, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, International Livestock Research Institute and International Rice Research Institute participated in this workshop.
India leads in prioritizing nutrition in breeding
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has established minimum levels of iron and zinc to be bred into national varieties of pearl millet. The news comes during the National Year of Millets and as the government of India articulates its vision for a Kuposhan Mukt Bharat (Malnutrition Free India) by 2022. In India, 59% of children under five and 54% of pregnant women are anemic, while 38% of children in the same age group are stunted. Diets deficient in iron and zinc are a major cause of anemia and stunting, respectively.
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For resource-poor farming families or rural communities who rely on staple crops like pearl millet for much of their diet, nutrient-enriched versions of these crops present a cost-effective, sustainable strategy to improve nutrition. Biofortification, which uses conventional breeding to increase micronutrient levels of food crops, helps address preventable deficiencies of key vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A and zinc. This hidden hunger often results from diets lacking in diversity or essential nutrients. The Indian government has therefore committed to reaching vulnerable populations with this agricultural-nutrition innovation.
HarvestPlus works with partners to develop and distribute biofortified varieties of these staple crops. “Including biofortified pearl millet in the Public Distribution System’s mid-day meal scheme for pregnant and lactating women, as well as the Integrated Child Development Services’ school feeding program, will both further trigger the demand for these nutritious grains and improve nutritional outcomes,” says HarvestPlus India Country Manager Mr. Binu Cherian. These distribution channels allow the biofortified iron pearl millet to reach several millions.
Because of its ability to grow well in dry climates, pearl millet is a staple crop for over 90 million people across the world. In India, it is consumed by households primarily in the form of breads and porridges. About 9 million hectares of Indian farmland is dedicated to pearl millet with 8.3 million tonnes annual production.
The pearl millet biofortification program supported by HarvestPlus researched how iron and zinc levels vary among different varieties. “The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has over ten years of experience breeding biofortified varieties of pearl millet,” says breeder and biofortification project leader Dr. M. Govindaraj, “and with support from HarvestPlus we have further enhanced the levels of iron in our varieties.” In a nutrition efficacy study, eating biofortified pearl millet resolved iron deficiency in 65% of school-aged children after only six-months. It also improved their cognitive abilities such as memory and attention, skills essential for optimal performance at school.
To improve varieties released, the All-India Coordinated Research Project on Pearl Millet (ICAR-AICRP on Pearl Millet) encouraged National Agricultural Research Systems to begin breeding programs for micronutrients along with higher yields in 2014. Since then, three biofortified hybrids and varieties including Dhanashakti have been released and adopted in India, while three more hybrids were identified for imminent release. In 2016, ICRISAT and ICAR-AICRP-Pearl Millet jointly published the status of iron and zinc content among released hybrids 1 in India. “Based on this evidence, at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Pearl Millet Improvement Project in 2017, it was agreed that all pearl millet varieties would be bred to contain a minimum 42 ppm of iron and 32 ppm of zinc,” says Dr C. Tara Satyavathi, Coordinator of ICAR-AICRP on pearl millet.
“This commitment will further strengthen the biofortification program and accelerate product development in India, to improve the nutritional status of poor households,” says Dr. Wolfgang Pfeiffer, director of research and development at HarvestPlus.
This activity was carried out as part of the CGIAR Research Program Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC).
1 Nearly all millet in India comes from hybrid seeds, which are produced by crossing two. Although the seeds must be purchased annually, their genetic diversity enables them to perform better than open-pollinated varieties.
Pre-breeding utilizes wild species with tolerance to climate change, diseases and pests
Hyderabad, 25 October 2018: The largest producer of pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) in the world, India could increase its production three times, provided there are varieties resistant to diseases and adapted to climate change. Pre-breeding scientists at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) are exploring possible solutions sourced from the wild species of Cajanus. A project funded by the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT), will evaluate promising pre-breeding lines in India and Myanmar, bringing them one step closer to cultivation.
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“It is critical to bring in beneficial traits that are not present in domesticated pigeonpea, and the pre-breeding work at ICRISAT holds great promise,” says Dr Benjamin Kilian, Plant Genetic Resources Scientist from the GCDT.
“Our goal of increasing the livelihood and nutrition security of smallholder farmers moves forward, and pre-breeding has hastened the process of reaching better crop varieties to farmers,” states Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT.
It has taken several years of research for scientists to evaluate wild pigeonpea species and identify those with promise of resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, including sterility mosaic disease, Fusarium wilt, pod borer and salinity.
“Pigeonpea has a narrow genetic base. The varieties currently grown by farmers have little resilience to recurrent or new diseases and insect-pests,” says Dr Shivali Sharma, Principal Investigator and Theme Leader – Pre-breeding, ICRISAT. “We find some wild species have adapted to several of these stresses. Leveraging these traits for cultivation can benefit livelihoods and nutrition.”
“This project will develop new material as well as take the available material to the farmers, so that they can produce more and generate better incomes with the new climate-resilient pigeonpea varieties,” according to Dr. Rajeev K Varshney, Research Program Director – Genetic Gains at ICRISAT.
This work is part of the initiative “Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives” which is supported by the Government of Norway. The project is managed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust with the Millennium Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK and implemented in partnership with national and international genebanks and plant breeding institutes around the world. For further information, visit the project website: http://www.cwrdiversity.org/.
Field-level activities in multiple agro-ecologies and socio-economic settings (different locations) will be carried out by ICRISAT in collaboration with the following national and international partners: i) Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University – Regional Agricultural Research Station, Palem and ii) Regional Agricultural Research Station, Warangal; iii) Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University – Regional Agricultural Research Station, Tirupati (all in India); and iv) the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Yezin, Myanmar.
This new two-year project holds promise to improve livelihoods and nutrition security of the most-at-need communities in south-east Asia and in Africa.
These activities will also be supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals.
Climate change, plant diseases and insect pests cause an estimated annual loss of US$ 8.6 billion, posing a huge challenge for smallholder farmers. This is where the Center of Excellence on Climate Change Research for Plant Protection (CoE-CCRPP), set up by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) at ICRISAT, could make a difference.
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“Modern crop protection tools can make agriculture more sustainable and climate-resilient,” said Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Adviser & Head, Climate Change Programme & SPLICE, Department of Science & Technology (DST), launching new activities of the CoE-CCRPP at ICRISAT today.
Dr Mangala Rai, former Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in his inaugural address, emphasized the need to critically assess potential impacts of climate change on insects and pathogens and their interactions with host plants.
Development of a forewarning model to alert policymakers and farmers, real-time structured surveillance for insect pests and diseases using GPS-tagging, besides predictions on future climate scenarios for 2030 and 2050, are some new activities on which the Center will focus. Hot spots identified in the process and GIS-based risk maps (spatial and temporal) will be developed for targeted diseases and insect/pests.
“Providing advanced information and tools is important to strengthen resilience of smallholder farmers. DST has taken several important measures in this regard and we are very happy to partner in this initiative,” said Dr. Peter Carberry, Director General (Acting), ICRISAT.
(L-R) Dr. Pooran Gaur, Dr. Peter Carberry, Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, and Dr. Mamta Sharma interacting with the media before the launch of new activities of Climate Change Research for Plant Protection (CoE-CCRPP), supported by Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The Center’s results will be shared with policy-makers for efforts towards climate resilient agriculture. The Center consortium includes scientists of the Indian Institute of Rice Research; University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur; ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute; Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore; and CGIAR Centers.
Current estimates of climate change indicate possible increases in global mean annual temperatures in the order of 1°C by 2025 and 3°C by 2100. Coupled with variability in rainfall pattern and increase in global precipitation levels, this could result in new diseases/insect pests, increased risk of invasion by migrant diseases and insect pests and accelerated insect pest/pathogens development.
“Research on these changing patterns in plant diseases and insect pests will induce shifts in the regional priority, strengthen location-specific crop breeding programs under climate stress conditions and help us identify climate-smart and pest-resistant crop cultivars,” says Dr P M Gaur, Research Program-Director-Asia, ICRISAT.
According to Dr Mamta Sharma, Project Coordinator of this initiative, “The CoE-CCRPP will identify potential distribution of target diseases and insect pests under future climate scenarios at zonal, regional and state levels”. The CoE-CCRPP outcomes will be available for scientists and Integrated pest management (IPM) practitioners to develop country-specific strategies to ultimately support the greater resilience of smallholder farmers.
A motorized groundnut thresher is reducing drudgery for women farmers in rural Nigeria. Introduced in 2015, over 50 threshers have already been distributed to farmer groups and cooperatives. Recently at the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) fair, Chief Audu Innocent Ogbeh, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria, was impressed by its demonstration and ordered four more units to benefit women in Cross River State.
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Nigeria produces 7% and 29% of the world’s and Africa’s total groundnut production respectively. In West and Central Africa, groundnut is a key cash crop for smallholder farmers. While on-farm operations are primarily carried out by men, post-harvest operations are mostly done by women and children. Shelling groundnut (for seeds, grains or both) is not only an expensive operation, it eats into a substantial chunk of women’s valuable time.
In 2015, working with the Agricultural Engineering Program of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), ICRISAT, identified an appropriate motorized groundnut thresher that would cut down the time and effort needed to shell groundnuts. The performance parameters of the thresher are shown below:
Against this background, the NASC invited ICRISAT to the 2018 National Agricultural Seeds Fair at Abuja as a panelist in a conference ‘Enhancing Improved Seed Adoption towards Achieving Food Security and Wealth Creation’ and as an actor in the seed industry. ICRISAT’s stall displayed improved varieties of sorghum, millet and groundnut; processed products; dissemination materials; and the motorized groundnut thresher.
Impressed by the performance of the motorized groundnut thresher, Chief Ogbeh instructed Dr Philip Ojo, Director General of NASC to work together with ICRISAT to supply four threshers to underprivileged women and children of Cross River State. A video describing long hours of groundnut threshing by women and children from this region is frequently being aired on national television. ICRISAT offered the groundnut thresher to the Seed Processing Unit of NASC after the seed fair, which was held during 3-4 October 2018.
The ICRISAT delegation to the conference and seed fair was led by Dr Michael Boboh Vabi, Country Project Manager of the USAID-funded Groundnut Technology Upscaling Project.
For more on ICRISAT’s work in Nigeria, click here.
For more on ICRISAT’s work on groundnut, click here/u>.
A renewed focus on innovation and establishing new partnerships was high on the agenda at the recent joint meeting of the Research Management Committee (RMC) and the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Drylands Cereals (CRP-GLDC) which took place at ICRISAT in Hyderabad, India, 17-19 October 2018.
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Dr. Peter Carberry, Director General (Acting) and the Director of CRP-GLDC, pointed out the opportunities through GLDC to improve the capacity of systems to innovate and develop knowledge for breeding and trait discovery programs. He briefed the IAC-RMC members on the progress made by the program since its launch in February this year.
IAC Chair Dr. Ian Barker said that the GLDC portfolio has an important basket of crops to help vulnerable communities, emphasizing the importance of strengthening partnerships with various stakeholders to achieve GLDC strategic objectives.
At the meeting, the leaders of GLDC’s five Flagship Programs and cross cutting initiatives, including gender and youth, and capacity development, provided a detailed overview of various activities that are currently underway in 13 priority countries in Africa and held discussions to identify their research priorities and the portfolio of activities for the next year.
The Government of India has led the initiative for an International year of Millets, through the UN system, and garnered support from many countries.
The FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) forum accepted the proposals for an International Year of Millets and slotted it for 2023. In December 2018, the FAO Council and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will adopt it before a formal declaration.
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This will be a major success for popularizing millets that can play a key role in overcoming malnutrition and health concerns like diabetes. It will also be important as an adaptation measure for climate change in the drylands and important for smallholder and marginal farmers.
Efforts to bring millets in the forefront began in early October 2017 during the Committee on Food Security event in Rome. ICRISAT organized a series of meetings at FAO to identify the process to follow and promote the idea with FAO departments and the Indian Embassy in Rome.
Following this initial step, ICRISAT wrote the first case for the Government of India (GoI) highlighting how millets are good for you, the planet and the farmer.
It also worked with governments in its host countries in Africa to gather support letters from a number of countries, while the CGIAR worked with countries in Europe and northern Africa.
In November 2017, the Government of India’s Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Radha Mohan Singh, wrote to the FAO Director-General, Mr Jose Graziano da Silva, requesting the inclusion of the proposal in the UN General Assembly agenda for an International Year of Millets in 2018.
Although it was recognized that achieving an International Year in such a short span (it can typically take five years) would be a “miracle”, the GoI, ICRISAT, the CGIAR, IIMR, Professor M S Swaminathan and others pursued the cause.
Communications with Kofi A Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, led to his supportive letter to ICRISAT stating that, “Millets have multiple benefits as they contribute to food and nutrition security for millions of people in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa, generate market opportunities for farmers, and are a critical solution to climate change.”
ICRISAT started the spadework for an international year of millets as part of its Smart Food movement, with an initial summary pitch.
Smart Food is a global initiative that defines food as Smart if it fulfills all three criteria of being ‘good for you, good for the planet and good for the smallholder farmer’. Millet and sorghum were selected as first priorities in the Smart Food efforts.
The Smart Food movement aims to ‘mainstream’ select smart foods as staples in their traditional countries – infusing diversity in diets and on the farm.
By focusing on staples, Smart Food can make a major breakthrough in malnutrition and rural poverty, and be more sustainable on the environment.
A report from a field day for scientists
Developing pearl millet varieties resistant to drought and disease is the need of the day, say pearl millet scientists from India and abroad. During a couple of field days at ICRISAT recently, pearl millet scientists from across Brazil, India, Iran, Kenya and Niger came together to share ideas and select genetic material for their crop breeding programs. The scientists had the opportunity to go through about 15,000 pearl millet breeding plots, check out germplasm accessions maintained by the gene bank and pre-breeding materials, observe disease nurseries, learn about seed parent/restorer/forage/biofortification breeding programs and interact with breeders at ICRISAT.
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Valuable feedback from the participants highlighted the following as high-priority areas for pearl millet breeders to focus on in the near future:
Dr C Tara Satyavathi, National Coordinator, AICRP (All India Coordinated Research Project) on Pearl Millet, said, “With 2018 being declared India’s National Year of Millets, we need to concentrate our efforts on boosting productivity, disease resistance and biofortification in pearl millet.”
Mr Daniel Bonamigo from ATTO Adriana, Brazil, apprised the group on the status and prospects of pearl millet in Brazil, appealing to experts for solutions to some challenges and for ideas for improvement.
Dr RS Mahala, Chair, Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC), underlined the goal of making pearl millet profitable to farmers. There were suggestions for introducing more mechanization for pearl millet farmers to tackle labor shortage. High labor costs significantly increase the cost of production.
In another presentation, Ms Nasser Aichatou, Managing Director of Ainoma Farms, Niger, explained how they have successfully created a thriving seed production company, aided by materials from ICRISAT over the past several years. She hoped to expand seed production outside Niger, by forming consortia similar to HPRC in India.
The participants were highly impressed with the genetic diversity on display and the meticulous way material had been organized. A few suggested that pedigree and passport information as well as biofortification details be mentioned for breeding lines, as these would help breeders select the right material. They also appreciated the cytoplasmic diversification of genetic material for seed parents and restorer parents in the program.
Speaking about pearl millet’s status as an “underutilized crop”, Dr Jan Debaene, Global Head, Breeding, ICRISAT, highlighted its immense market potential that the private and public sector seed companies should take note of.
Over 103 participants, including scientists and representatives of private and public sector seed companies, attended the Pearl Millet Scientists Field Day held during 3-4 October at ICRISAT, India, organized by
Dr SK Gupta, Principal Scientist, Pearl Millet, ICRISAT, and his team.
The Pearl Millet Improvement Program is mapped to the CGIAR Research Program – Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC).
Read more on Pearl Millet
Adoption and impact of new crop varieties and animal breeds depend on the tangible benefits these provide for the women and men involved in their production, consumption, processing and marketing. It is therefore important for breeders to understand and respond to the needs, priorities, and constraints that women and men assign to crop and animal products along the entire value chain. What steps can be taken for a breeding program to be gender-responsive and to ensure that breeding products have more equitable outcomes?
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Many breeding programs, both within and outside CGIAR, recognized long ago the need for crop and animal breeding programs to consider gender differences, and have understood that if they overlook traits important to women farmers and consumers, they will not only further disempower these women, but also can aggravate household food insecurity and poverty.
However, breeding programs still do not have practical methods and decision-support tools that can be used routinely and can indicate how to be more gender-responsive and to understand the changes and the implications in breeding schemes. In addition, without convincing evidence—exemplified by case studies across commodities and countries—our arguments for gender-responsive research are often disregarded and dismissed.
We thought there was a major knowledge gap. The gender and breeding working group of the CGIAR Gender and Agriculture Research Network took the challenge and organized a workshop on gender, breeding, and genomics, with the aim of contributing to reduce this gap. The event, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 18–21 October 2016, brought together a diverse group of experts in breeding, genomics, and social sciences that stimulated an active exchange of ideas, reflecting different perspectives and experiences. In preparation for the workshop, the group made an open call of case studies that could present experiences of gender-responsive breeding.
The workshop concluded that the knowledge and experience exist; however, are scattered in different sectors and disciplines and needs to be connected by a multidisciplinary team effort. The CGIAR Gender and Breeding Initiative (GBI) was launched to pull together a strategy for gender-responsive breeding with supporting methods, tools, and practices by the same interdisciplinary group of breeders and social scientists who participated in the 2016 workshop and convened the “Innovation in Gender-Responsive Breeding” workshop, held in Nairobi on 5–7 October 2017.
This working document, entitled “State of the Knowledge for Gender in Breeding: Case Studies for Practitioners“, is part of a series of knowledge products designed to share the outputs from the 2017 workshop, and to share GBI’s collective knowledge more widely across CGIAR and partner breeding programs. The purpose of this case study synthesis is to identify illustrative cases of current approaches toward gender-responsive breeding programs and to highlight useful methods and lessons learned for practitioners.
By no means comprehensive, with these 10 cases we hope to emphasize the point that considering gender in breeding program design, working with women in the breeding process, and acting on these findings can have dramatic consequences on breeding programs. We begin by setting the scene with a chapter reflecting on how taking gender into account matters for the success of plant or animal breeding programs with welfare or development goals and a focus on smallholders. The case studies are then organized around steps of a plant breeding cycle, examining cases that consider gender in setting breeding priorities, selection, testing experimental varieties, and seed production and distribution.
The cases cover a wide range of commodities: beans, cassava, forage grasses, poultry, maize, sorghum, matooke, barley, and groundnuts. Although the majority of cases focus on sub-Saharan Africa, we also present one case from China and one from Syria. These cases not only provide evidence that men and women have different trait preferences, access to resources, or opportunities to engage in production, processing, and marketing of diverse commodities; they also illustrate what was done by the breeding programs to address these issues. In beans, “cooking time” was recognized as a must-have trait, the breeding program changed by incorporating such a trait in the selection process; in maize new opportunities for seed production and sale were created for women; in matooke breeding programs participatory processing for food quality was added. These are only a few examples, but are powerful illustrations that documenting differences is not enough—the real focus should be on change.
Finally, we did not intend to have a compilation of case studies that could be representative of breeding programs in general. The cases were selected for their unique interest as examples of ongoing experience of considering gender in different stages of the breeding cycle. Therefore, we cannot generalize about practice from the case studies but can draw some suggestions for promising approaches and lessons learned.
We hope that these cases, together with the companion publications from GBI on design principles, gender and social targeting, breeding decisions, and uptake pathways, compel and challenge breeding programs to become truly gender-responsive.
We hope you will find the working paper helpful and a source of inspiration to design and implement a gender-responsive breeding program. We are aware that this compilation is far from being exhaustive and many more cases are out there.
Busy. That’s the first word that comes to your mind as you wind your way through Eastleigh. It is the neighbourhood of one of Africa’s oldest slums, Majengo, Easteleigh is also home to one of the biggest business centers, in Nairobi, Kenya, involving business of over 600 million dollars every month. “You can find everything in Eastleigh,” laughs Clive Wanguthi, as I wonder how to describe him – local guide, community worker, leader, activist or preacher – perhaps, all of these. Weaving his way expertly through the milling crowd, Clive cautions, “Stay ahead of me, I want to ensure that you are safe.” Indeed, after getting nearly hit by two vehicles, I take his advice and stay more cautious, which is somewhat difficult, given the riot of activity around. “I’ve got your back,” the former self-proclaimed outlaw, encourages me, as we walk through multiple distractions. “You can’t be too careful here.” A street-side store with the cheeky name of ‘Donald Trump’ blares its wares, while gold jewelry in little trays gleam at you for a song in dim lanes. Lines of steaming chapatti-beans food stalls and glowering gun-toting cops assail your senses, as Clive calls out an ‘As-salaam-alaikum’ every few seconds to an acquaintance. Everyone is busy.
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Adjoining Eastleigh, the Majengo slum, is also the largest second-hand retail market in the continent. Clothes, shoes, linen, even undergarments arrive here, are sorted and segregated category-wise, before hitting the many small lanes, packed so closely with products, buyers and sellers. People move almost involuntarily amidst the surging crowd, pushcarts and headloads of goods. However, Majengo, is not just about shopping. It has also been an area vulnerable to illegal activities. One can come here to buy arms and ammunition while sex workers have been pushing their trade here for decades. In spite of how busy it is, Majengo is however extremely food insecure and also vulnerable to violence, extremism and gang activities. As we glide through, a young man stops Clive for earnest conversation. He tells us he’s looking for a job. Though bustling with business, changing tax laws and crackdown on unregistered vendors have made it more difficult for the livelihood of young people. “I do my best, to create opportunities – like these”, says Clive pointing to a youth-manned bike-wash center. “If there’s no work, youth become easy targets to be exploited or recruited into unlawful ways.”
It is business also, that brings us here, though, of a different sort. Over the past two decades, the number of malls in Eastleigh has grown meteorically from just 3 to 88 malls now. A constant influx of refugees here, has made it difficult to peg the exact population. While official estimates are around 50,000, as many as 200,000 people may be living in this 10 square kilometer area. Spearheaded by Somali business acumen, the area not only channels a huge retail market, it also is a hub for goods that travel across rural Kenya, setting the trend for the rest of the country. As we peer into a food store and eye the tinned infant cereals and imported processed foods, the shopkeeper tells us that these are more popular than traditional foods that people used to consume. These are the products that initially line the numerous godowns here before eventually setting out each day to remote areas. This is where much of the trend and taste for Kenyans takes shape.
This is where, also a connect between urban and rural agricultural value chains is seen as an entry point for development – through agribusiness. Over the past few months, Dr Michael Hauser of ICRISAT has been pacing the slums of Nairobi probing socio-economic pathways to this issue. “Instead of starting with farmers, we experiment with consumer-led value chain development. Micro-enterprises around nutritious, high-value food groups, grounded in social entrepreneurship thinking, can make a difference. We are looking at agribusiness strategies for women and men, different age groups, ethnicities, family backgrounds and socio-economic status. This can create remunerative jobs, and help recognize youth as indispensable members in Kenyan society. The true potential of youth-led agripreneurship in high-density areas, however, is yet to be established.”
ICRISAT’s work in agribusiness incubation has focused on entrepreneurs and rural communities to enhance livelihood opportunities. However, by working with community based organizations that help counter entry of youth into illegal activities, another perspective of agribusiness impact emerges. The slums of Nairobi, have not just been running large business volumes, they have also been setting trends for rural Kenya as daily truckloads of essential commodities and products make their way from here to every nook and cranny of the country. The youth in slums who hail from remote regions, engage in odd jobs here and are key influencers in vulnerable areas that are difficult for development workers to approach.
A group of young people in the local community hall canvas for money for a friend’s funeral – another of the many ways where they have rallied around for one another. With the same energy can the pushcarts and the godowns of Eastleigh, rally around for other regions changing food value chains for the country?
Substituting expensive foods with locally produced agri products may not be easy, unless it is a good enough business proposition.
“I believe it will work,” says Clive. “Look at what has happened here and how the place is a hub of activities. Show these young people the direction, and they can, in fact be the change that transforms lives of rural communities in Kenya.” However, knowing what works best requires research, what ICRISAT does. Possibilities, potential. It will however, be one long walk.
Women in Kakamega and Busia counties of Western Kenya are going against the grain. They are turning their backs on the commonly planted grains of sorghum and maize and on commercial sugarcane, and replacing them with a grain that not only better meets the nutritional needs of the family but also fulfils economic and agronomic requirements in a time of climate change.
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The women are planting finger millet.
Finger millet hardly needs an introduction in Western Kenya. The crop is native to the highlands of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia and has been widely grown traditionally in Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia for hundreds of years. It is now considered a minor crop in many of these areas. But perhaps not for long, according to the women who grow it and a woman who works to improve it.
Enlisting finger millet advocates
“As a child growing up in Western Kenya, I ate finger millet ‘uji’ and ‘ugali’ but only on special occasions,” says Dr. Damaris Odeny, a research scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Uji is a porridge that is drunk and ugali is a stiff porridge commonly eaten with the hands. “We weren’t able to eat it daily, because it was scarce and therefore expensive. That’s unfortunate, because it is a traditional crop.”
During the first two decades after Kenya’s independence in 1963, the Kenyan government singled out maize as a major food staple and started providing incentives to farmers to plant it. The farmers followed the government’s advice and soon finger millet became a minor crop.
Damaris, a plant geneticist and the daughter of a sugarcane grower, is now leading an effort to bring finger millet back. She is leading a finger millet pre-breeding project which aims to re-introduce genetic diversity into the cultivated crop which has been lost from its wild relatives. That should get more farmers to grow it.
Damaris is working closely with Dr. Chrispus Oduori, a finger millet breeder and the director of the Kisii Centre of Food Crops Research Institute (FCRI) of KALRO, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation. Like Damaris, Chris hails from Western Kenya and has spent a lifetime advocating for finger millet.
“We’ve been working hard to promote finger millet. We think it’s an ideal crop, particularly because of its nutritional value and the unfolding negative impacts of climate change,” Chris said. “Finger millet can withstand harsh climatic conditions and low soil fertility. It has a short growing season and requires very little inputs. What more can you ask for?”
A decade ago, Chris began working with farmers in Western Kenya to introduce modern agricultural techniques for the traditional crop and to breed improved varieties. Many of the participants in Chris’s demonstrations and attendees at his field days were women who quickly saw the many benefits of growing a crop their parents and grandparents had abandoned. Today, those women are perhaps the greatest advocates for finger millet in the country.
It wasn’t a coincidence that women became the advocates for finger millet. The data varies, but women can make up anywhere from 50 to 80% of the agricultural workforce in Kenya and finger millet is mostly cultivated by women. “Our work with the women farmers of Western Kenya has given us some keen insights into how we should breed finger millet,” said Chris. “Women guide us in selecting the characteristics which are most important to them, like taste and color. They are out in the field every day planting, caring, harvesting and using the crop, so we are keen to hear of their experiences.”
A tale of two Marys
Mary Kwena and Mary Kwena were until recently married to the same man, which in itself is not particularly unusual in Kenya where polygamy is traditional and legal. Their husband passed away a few years ago, but the two widows with the same name remained together to better provide for their extended family. Their story is common in Kenya, where the number of female-headed households is rising.
The Marys were growing maize until Chris visited in 2009 and introduced them to improved technologies to grow finger millet. Like many rural women, the Marys were early adopters and Mary One, by virtue of seniority in marriage, planted two acres of finger millet as part of a project that Chris and his colleagues at KALRO were leading. The project ended some years ago but the Marys have continued growing finger millet.
“Dr. Oduori taught us how to grow finger millet in modern ways using improved varieties and we have been adding more acres every year,” Mary One said.
“Traditionally, farmers would sow seed by broadcasting by hand,” Chris said. “We now teach farmers to plant in rows, which makes fertilizer use and weeding easier.” KALRO also showed the farmers that a small investment in fertilizer will yield good returns at harvest.
Perhaps most importantly, Chris brought improved varieties. The finger millet breeder has released a number of improved varieties, but none are as popular with farmers as Maridadi, which is tolerant, though not resistant, to blast disease and the Strigaparasite. Chris’s improved varieties and agronomic techniques are giving yields up to 200% higher than what farmers once obtained.
“We like Maridadi because it matures earlier than other varieties,” said Mary. “But also because it has a beautiful color and the ugali made from it is very tasty.”
Mary Two held up some freshly harvested finger millet in her storeroom. “I don’t have to rush off to the market with this,” she said. “Finger millet stores very well.” Stored finger millet is seldom attacked by insects or molds. It can be kept for up to 10 years unthreshed. Some sources report a storage duration up to 50 years under good storage conditions. The long storage capacity makes finger millet a good option for poor farming communities keen to minimize risk during times of famine.
It’s the finger millet on the plate which attracted another farmer of Kakamega County. Finger millet is a very healthy food, a fact that farmer Margaret Kubende learned 25 years ago the hard way.
“In 1993, I became a diabetic,” said Margaret. “I had to change my diet to keep my blood sugar levels down. Maize and wheat were not good for me, but I knew I could improve my health if I ate finger millet.”
“Finger millet really is a powerhouse of health-benefiting nutrients,” Damaris said. “We’re very committed to getting it back into the daily diet of East Africans … and not just as a food for special occasions. At ICRISAT, we are heavily promoting finger millet as a smart food.”
Finger millet is a great source of amino acids like methionine and tryptophan, which aren’t found in the diet of most Kenyans who eat maize or sorghum-based ugali. But the nutritional value of finger millet goes well beyond supplying missing amino acids. It has high iron content, which makes it an important food for pregnant women, as well as for breastfeeding mothers and their children. It is also good for people who suffer from anemia, helping to raise hemoglobin levels. Finger millet contains 40 times more calcium than maize and rice, and 10 times more than other cereals. Calcium is important in the development of strong bones. It helps to fight degenerative diseases and also works as an anti-ageing agent.
For diabetics like Margaret, finger millet is gluten free and beneficial as its digestion is slow due to its high fiber content. Glucose is released slowly into the blood as a result. This helps in controlling blood sugar.
“I started growing finger millet the way they taught me in school, but Dr. Oduori showed me how to grow it better,” Margaret said. Today, she grows five acres of finger millet and both she and her family have benefitted. “Now, people in our village and my in-laws all see how healthy we are and are asking that I grow finger millet for them!”
Margaret and most Kenyans eat finger millet primarily as ugali, a thin porridge. But farmer Pascilisa Wanyonyi is working to create other finger millet food products and is marketing a snack called “crackies” after being trained on Chris’s project.
“I started planting finger millet after Dr. Oduori showed us in 2009,” Pascilisa said. “It is much more nutritious than maize and good not only for humans but for our livestock.”
Pascilisa wanted to go beyond the traditional uses of finger millet and create value-added processed products than can be sustainably produced. After some experimentation in the kitchen, she adopted “crackies” from the diverse products she was exposed to. Crackies are deep-fried crispy noodles made primarily of finger millet but supplemented with soy and wheat flour.
“Crackies is a very nutritious snack. The children love them,” Pascilisa said. In fact, a very important Kenyan loves them as well: in April of 2018 Pascilisa served her crackies to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who campaigned on a platform that no Kenyan should ever go hungry.
Pascilisa has developed packaging and branding for her crackies ,which is generating some extra income for her family. Her daughter is attending university and studying agriculture, and finger millet in particular. As demand for Pascilisa’s crackies grows, she looks toward growing more finger millet. But will she be able to?
Supply not meeting demand
Farmers like Pascilisa have developed value-added processed products and that has helped to increase the demand for finger millet. However, supply isn’t keeping pace as there remain a few barriers to overcome before more farmers plant finger millet.
“The current average yields for finger millet are about 1.3 tonnes per hectare,” said Chris. “I think we can get that up to five tonnes per hectare by using improved varieties and better agronomic techniques.”
Most finger millet varieties are susceptible to blast disease, which can infect the crop at any stage of growth from the seedling to the grain formation stage, and Striga, which is a sap-sucking parasite. “Our improved varieties like Maridadi are less vulnerable to blast and Striga, but they are not fully resistant yet,” said Chris.
Chris hopes that losses due to blast and Striga can be minimized by finding wild relatives of finger millet that have resistance to them. In fact, he is one of the investigators in a project which is utilizing the wild cousins of finger millet to that end.
“Finger millet is one of 19 crops we are supporting via our pre-breeding projects,” says Dr. Benjamin Kilian, a scientist with the Crop Trust. “Our aim is to introduce beneficial traits from their wild relatives into cultivated crops so they are more resilient to climate change.”
This effort is funded by the Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) initiative, a global, 10-year project, supported by the Government of Norway. The initiative is managed by the Crop Trust, an international non-profit organization, in partnership with the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew.
“The finger millet project is focusing on screening wild finger millet and traditional landraces for resistance to Striga, blast disease and tolerance to drought,” Damaris said. “Several promising genotypes have been identified and are being cross-bred into farmer-preferred adapted varieties. Once we develop the promising material we’re hoping that we can involve the women farmers to evaluate the results and give us feedback.”
The two Marys, Margaret, and Pascilisa need no convincing about the merits of finger millet and no doubt they are eagerly awaiting the material generated by the Crop Wild Relatives project and will continue to be strong advocates of the crop. The women finger millet advocates of Western Kenya hope that their efforts to go against the grain will benefit not only fellow Kenyan families but also farmers throughout the world where finger millet can be grown as a sustainable, nutritious crop.
Title: Enhanced awareness and knowledge of approaches to Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies and practices in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe State, Nigeria
Funder: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Period: 5 September – 30 November 2018
Principle Investigator: Dr Robert Zougmore, ICRISAT-Mali
High-density genetic map using whole-genome re-sequencing for fine mapping and candidate gene discovery for disease resistance in peanut
Authors: Agarwal G, Clevenger J, Pandey MK, Wang H, Shasidhar Y, Chu Y, Fountain JC, Choudhary D, Culbreath AK, Liu X, Huang G, Wang X, Deshmukh R, Holbrook CC, Bertioli DJ, Ozias-Akins P, Jackson S A, Varshney RK and Guo B
Published: 2018, Plant Biotechnology Journal.
pp. 1-14. ISSN 1467-7644
Can genomics deliver climate-change ready crops?
Authors: Varshney RK, Singh VK, Kumar A, Powell W and Sorrells ME
Published: 2018, Current Opinion in Plant Biology (TSI). ISSN 1369-5266
Impact of ICRISAT Pearl Millet Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (PMHPRC) on the Livelihoods of Farmers in India, Research Report No 75
Authors: Venkata Rao N, Rao KPC, Gupta SK, Mazvimavi K, Kumara Charyulu D, Nagaraj N, Singh RN, Singh SS and Singh SP
Published: 2018, Technical Report. ICRISAT
Who are those people we call farmers? Rural Kenyan aspirations and realities
Authors: Verkaart S, Mausch K and Harris D
Published: 2018, Development in Practice, 28 (4). pp. 468-479. ISSN 0961-4524
Genomics, genetics and breeding of tropical legumes for better livelihoods of smallholder farmers
Authors: Ojiewo CO, Monyo E, Desmae H, Boukar O, Mukankusi-Mugisha C, Thudi M, Pandey MK, Saxena RK, Gaur PM, Chaturvedi SK, Fikre A, Ganga Rao NVPR, Sameer Kumar CV, Okori P, Janila P, Rubyogo JC, Godfree C, Akpo E, Omoigui L, Nkalubo S, Fenta B, Binagwa P, Kilango M, Williams M, Mponda O, Okello D, Chichaybelu M, Miningou A, Bationo J, Sako D, Diallo S, Echekwu C, Umar ML, Oteng-Frimpong R, Mohammed H, Varshney RK and Ordon F
Published: 2018, Plant Breeding, pp. 1-137. ISSN 01799541
Innovative Partnership Approach to Chickpea seed production and Technology Dissemination: Lessons from Ethiopia
Authors: Chichaybelu M, Geleta T, Girma N, Fikre A,
Eshete M and Ojiewo CO
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 1-18. ISSN 2072-8506
Assessing the Competitiveness of Smallholders Chickpea Production in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia
Authors: Ferede S, Fikre A and Ahmed S
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 51-65. ISSN 2072-8506
Agronomic and Economic Evaluation of Wheat-Chickpea Double Cropping on the Vertisol of Takusa, North Western Ethiopia
Authors: Jemberu T, Fikre A, Abeje Y, Tebabal B, Worku Y and Jorgi T
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 67-78. ISSN 2072-8506
Genetic Variability and Heritability in Ethiopian Grasspea (lathyrus sativus l.) Accessions
Authors: Abate A, Mekbib F, Fikre A and Ahmed S
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 79-94. ISSN 2072-8506
Heat Tolerance Responses of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Genotypes in the Thermal Zone of Ethiopia, a Case of Werer Station
Authors: Mola T, Alemayehu S, Fikre A, Ojiewo CO, Alemu K and Degefu T
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 95-118. ISSN 2072-8506
Phenotypic Characteristics and Preliminary Symbiotic Effectiveness of Rhizobia Associated with Haricot Bean Growing in Diverse Locations of Southern Ethiopia
Authors: Wolde-meskel E, Degefu T, Gebo B, Fikre A, Amede T and Ojiewo CO
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 119-139. ISSN 2072-8506
Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) growing in Ethiopia are nodulated by diverse rhizobia
Authors: Degefu T, Wolde-meskel E, Ataro Z, Fikre A, Amede T and Ojiewo CO
Published: 2018, African Journal of Microbiology Research, 12 (9). pp. 200-217. ISSN 1996-0808
Morphophysiological diversity of rhizobia nodulating pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan L. Millsp.) growing in Ethiopia
Authors: Degefu T, Wolde-meskel E, Adem M, Fikre A, Amede T and Ojiewo CO
Published: 2018, Journal of Biotechnology, 17 (6). pp. 167-177. ISSN 1684-5315
Productivity and Water Use Efficiency of Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] Grown under Different Nitrogen Applications in Sudan Savanna Zone, Nigeria
Authors: Ajeigbe HA, Akinseye FM, Ayuba K and Jonah J
Published: 2018, International Journal of Agronomy (TSI), 2018 (767605). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1687-8159
Post-harvest management and associated food losses and by-products of cassava in southern Ethiopia
Authors: Parmar A, Fikre A, Sturm B and Hensel O
Published: 2018, Food Security (TSI), 10 (2). pp. 419-435. ISSN 1876-4517
Urban Environmental Governance in India: Browsing Bengaluru
Authors: Raju KV, Ravindra A, Manasi S, Smitha KC and Srinivasan R
Published: 2018, The Urban Book Series. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-73467-5
Standard Operating Procedures for Groundnut Breeding and Testing
Authors: Janila P, Manohar SS, Deshmukh DB, Chaudhari S, Papaiah V and Variath MT
Published: 2018, Documentation. ICRISAT.
Stability Analysis in Chickpea Genotype Sets as Tool for Breeding Germplasm Structuring Strategy and Adaptability Scoping
Authors: Fikre A, Funga A, Korbu L, Eshete M, Girma N, Zewdie A, Bekele D, Muhamed R, Daba K and Ojiewo CO
Published: 2018, Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (2). pp. 19-37. ISSN 2072-8506
Antixenosis and antibiosis mechanisms of resistance to pod borer, Helicoverpa armigera in wild relatives of chickpea, Cicer arietinum
Authors: Golla SK, Rajasekhar P, Sharma SP, Hari Prasad KV and Sharma HC
Published: 2018, Euphytica (TSI), 214 (88). pp. 1-16. ISSN 0014-2336
Integrated Management of Dry Root Rot Caused by Rhizoctonia bataticola in Chickpea
Authors: Deepa, Sunkad G, Sharma M, Mallesh SB, Mannur DM and Sreenivas AG
Published: 2018, International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 7 (04). pp. 201-209. ISSN 2319-7706
Distribution and Severity of Dry Root Rot of Chickpea Caused by Rhizoctonia bataticola in Parts of North Karnataka
Authors: Deepa, Sunkad G, Sharma M, Mallesh SB, Mannur DM and Sreenivas AG
Published: 2018, International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 7 (04). pp. 194-200. ISSN 23197692
Genome Sequencing and Analysis of the Peanut B-Genome Progenitor (Arachis ipaensis)
Authors: Lu Q, Li H, Hong Y, Zhang G, Wen S, Li X, Zhou G, Li S, Liu H, Liu H, Liu Z, Varshney RK, Chen X and Liang X
Published: 2018, Frontiers in Plant Science (TSI), 9 (604). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1664-462X
Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of Arabidopsis Sodium Proton Antiporter (NHX) and Human Sodium Proton Exchanger (NHE) Homologs in Sorghum bicolor
Authors: Hima Kumari P, Anil Kumar S, Ramesh K, Reddy PS, Nagaraju M, Bhanu Prakash A, Shah T, Henderson A, Srivastava RK, Rajasheker G, Chitikineni A, Varshney RK, Rathnagiri P, Lakshmi Narasu M and Kavi Kishor PB
Published: 2018, Genes (TSI), 9 (5) (236). pp. 1-18. ISSN 2073-4425
Molecular mapping and inheritance of restoration of fertility (Rf) in A4 hybrid system in pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.)
Authors: Saxena RK, Patel K, Sameer Kumar CV, Tyagi K, Saxena KB and Varshney RK
Published: 2018, Theoretical and Applied Genetics (TSI). pp. 1-10. ISSN 0040-5752
Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for water use and crop production traits co-locate with major QTL for tolerance to water deficit in a fine-mapping population of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L. R.Br.)
Authors: Tharanya M, Kholova J, Sivasakthi K, Seghal D, Hash CT, Raj B, Srivastava RK, Baddam R, Thirunalasundari T, Yadav R and Vadez V
Published: 2018, Theoretical and Applied Genetics (TSI). pp. 1-21. ISSN 0040-5752
Characterization of West and Central African accessions from a pearl millet reference collection for agro-morphological traits and Striga resistance
Authors: Sattler FT, Sanogo MD, Kassari IA, Angarawai II, Gwadi KW, Dodo H and Haussmann BIG
Published: 2018, Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization (TSI), 16 (3). pp. 260-272. ISSN 1479-2621
Genetic structure of wild pea (Pisum sativum subsp. elatius) populations in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent reflects moderate cross-pollination and strong effect of geographic but not environmental distance
Authors: Smýkal P, Trněný O, Brus J, Hanáček P, Rathore A, Das RR, Pechanec V, Duchoslav M, Bhattacharyya D, Bariotakis M, Pirintsos S, Berger J and Toker C
Published: 2018, PLoS One (TSI), 13 (3). pp. 1-22.
Customized information delivery for dryland farmers
Authors: Chakravarty A, Sumanthkumar V and Patil MD
Published: 2018, In: Digital Technologies for Agricultural and Rural Development in the Global South. CABI, UK, pp. 25-33. ISBN 9781786393364
A novel mitochondrial orf147 causes cytoplasmic male sterility in pigeonpea by modulating aberrant anther dehiscence
Authors: Bhatnagar-Mathur P, Gupta R, Reddy PS, Reddy BP, Reddy DS, Sameer Kumar CV, Saxena RK and Sharma KK
Published: 2018, Plant Molecular Biology (TSI), 97 (1-2). pp. 131-147. ISSN 0167-4412
Complexity in technology choices and market access for pigeonpea growers in Semi-Arid Tropics of India
Authors: Kumar R, Vikraman S and Elias Khan P
Published: 2018, Agricultural Research. pp. 1-13.
Post-harvest evaluation of selected hybrids to maize weevil Sitophilus zeamais resistance
Authors: Khakata S, Nzuve FM, Chemining’wa GN, Mwimali M, Karanja J, Harvey J and Mwololo JK
Published: 2018, Journal of Stored Products and Postharvest Research, 9 (3). pp. 16-26. ISSN 2141-6567
Genetic dissection of photosynthetic efficiency traits for enhancing seed yield in chickpea
Authors: Basu U, Bajaj D, Sharma A, Malik N, Daware A, Narnoliya L, Thakro V, Upadhyaya HD, Kumar R, Tripathi S, Bharadwaj C, Tyagi AK and Parida SK
Published: 2018, Plant, Cell & Environment.
Influence of diazotrophic bacteria on nodulation, nitrogen fixation, growth promotion and yield traits in five cultivars of chickpea
Authors: Gopalakrishnan S, Srinivas V, Vemula A, Samineni S and Rathore A
Published: 2018, Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology, 15. pp. 35-42. ISSN 1878-8181
Identification of Ideal Locations and Stable High Biomass Sorghum Genotypes in semiarid Tropics
Authors: Anil Kumar GS, Vinutha KS, Shrivastava DK, Jain S, Syed BA, Gami B, Marimuthu S, Yuvraj A, Yadava HS, Srivastava SC, Yadagiri K, Ansodariya V, Prasuna P, Vishwanath J, Anand SR, Rathore A, Umakanth AV and Rao PS
Published: 2018, Sugar Tech (TSI), 20 (3). pp. 323-335.
Nutrition education, farm production diversity, and commercialization on household and individual dietary diversity in Zimbabwe
Authors: Murendo C, Nhau B, Mazvimavi K, Khanye T and Gwara S
Published: 2018, Food & Nutrition Research, 62. pp. 1-12. ISSN 1654-6628
Social media and communication by scientists: M. S. Swaminathan on Twitter
Authors: Jayashree B
Published: 2018, Current Science (TSI), 114 (9). pp. 1-6. ISSN 0011-3891
Markets, institutions and policies: A perspective on the adoption of agricultural innovations
Authors: Orr A
Published: 2018, Outlook on Agriculture (TSI). pp. 1-6.
Linking Food Security with Household’s Adaptive Capacity and Drought Risk: Implications for Sustainable Rural Development
Authors: Sam AS, Abbas A, Surendran Padmaja S, Kaechele H, Kumar R and Müller K
Published: 2018, Social Indicators Research (TSI). pp. 1-23. ISSN 0303-8300
State of the Knowledge for Gender in Breeding: Case Studies for Practitioners
Authors: Tufan H A, Grando S and Meola C
Published: 2018, Working Paper. International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru.
Mapping Grain Iron and Zinc Content Quantitative Trait Loci in an Iniadi-Derived Immortal Population of Pearl Millet
Authors: Kumar S, Hash CT, Nepolean T, Mahendrakar MD, Satyavathi C, Singh G, Rathore A, Yadav R, Gupta R and Srivastava RK
Published: 2018, Genes (TSI), 9 (5) (248). pp. 1-17. ISSN 2073-4425
Effects of biochar and gypsum soil amendments on groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) dry matter yield and selected soil properties under water stress
Authors: Ngulube M, Mweetwa AM, Phiri E, Njoroge SMC, Chalwe H, Shitumbanuma V and Brandenburg RL
Published: 2018, African Journal of Agricultural Research, 13 (21). pp. 1080-1090. ISSN 1991-637X
Yield gap analysis and entry points for improving productivity on large oil palm plantations and smallholder farms in Ghana
Authors: Rhebergen T, Fairhurst T, Whitbread AM, Giller KE and Zingore S
Published: 2018, Agricultural Systems (TSI), 165. pp. 14-25. ISSN 0308521X
Efficient plant regeneration protocol for finger millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.] via somatic embryogenesis
Authors: Alex N, Cecilia M, Mathew N, Asunta M, Henry O and Wilton M
Published: 2018, African Journal of Biotechnology, 17 (21). pp. 660-667. ISSN 1684-5315
Facing climate variability in sub-Saharan Africa: analysis of climate-smart agriculture opportunities to manage climate-related risks
Authors: Zougmore RB, Partey ST, Ouedraogo M, Torquebiau E and Campbell BM
Published: 2018, Cahiers Agricultures (TSI), 27 (3). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1166-7699
Additive yield response of chickpea ( Cicer arietinum L.) to rhizobium inoculation and phosphorus fertilizer across smallholder farms in Ethiopia
Authors: Wolde-meskel E, van Heerwaarden J, Abdulkadir B, Kassa S, Aliyi I, Degefu T, Wakweya K, Kanampiu F and Giller KE
Published: 2018, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (TSI), 261. pp. 144-152. ISSN 01678809