Dr Prakash Gangashetty, Lead Scientist, Pearl Millet Breeding, Western and Central Africa, was announced as the recipient of ICRISAT’s Young Scientist award for 2018. The award recognizes his efforts to improve pearl millet breeding in West and Central Africa (WCA).
Dr Gangashetty has been working to develop improved varieties suitable for each of WCA’s agro-climatic zones, mainly the Sahel and Sudan, where smallholder farming is constantly challenged by disease, drought and pests. Additionally, the breeding program also aims at improving stover quality for use of pearl millet as livestock feed.
Dr Gangashetty’s efforts contributed to the release of bio-fortified, high-yielding and early-maturing pearl millet variety ‘Chakti’ in 2018.
Dr Gangashetty joined ICRISAT-Niger in April 2014 as a post-doctoral fellow in the pearl millet breeding program. In October 2016, he was appointed Scientist, Pearl Millet Breeding for WCA. His research in ICRISAT has contributing to food and nutritional security in sub-Saharan Africa.
ICRISAT-WCA released five new pearl millet varieties in 2018 and tested hybrids that have attracted the private sector to millet cultivation. One of the hybrid varieties, ICMH 17711, can produce over 2.5 tons/hectare, about significantly higher than existing varieties. Dr Gangashetty’s team has also taken up research work to identify host plant resistance to striga, millet head miner and downy mildew, besides research for development of varieties with early and terminal drought tolerance.
Through his role, Dr Gangashetty has helped modernize ICRISAT and NARs breeding programs by introducing the latest in farm and research technologies, such as improved seed storage facilities, threshers and spectrometers for element analysis. He has also helped build capacity across partner institutions by training students and supporting scholars as well as post-doctoral fellows. You can access a presentation of Dr Gangashetty’s work here. http://resourcespace.icrisat.org/?r=17292