The Department of Agriculture Research (DAR), Myanmar, has enhanced its partnership with ICRISAT for close collaboration in agriculture research, with a focus on grain legumes and Smart Food (consumer and industry) approaches with millets, sorghum and legumes.
The key points of this agreement point to future strategies including:
- Modernizing Myanmar’s pulse breeding programs, by sharing technologies for:
- Molecular breeding
- Rapid generation turnover
- Breeding management system
- Researching crop product profiles to develop cultivars with new/enhanced traits preferred by farmers, consumers and the industry.
- Ideating approaches to enhance adoption of improved cultivars and of production technologies.
- Developing a Smart Food program specifically for pigeonpea, millets and sorghum
- Exploring market analytics for pulses.
- Mr U Naing Kyi Win, Director General, DAR and Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 11 June 2019 at DAR in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
The association between ICRISAT and DAR, Myanmar, goes way back to 1976. It was strengthened by the participation of scientists from Myanmar in the Cereals and Legumes Asia Network (CLAN) led by ICRISAT. The first MoU between the two entities was signed in 1986. Dr Carberry said, “Ours is a strong, long-standing association. Some of the senior staff here at DAR are ICRISAT alumni; they did their PhD research at ICRISAT.”
Over the last 40 years, ICRISAT has worked with DAR to modernize Myanmar’s crop improvement programs, increasing genetic gains and enhancing operational efficiency. From extra-large seeded kabuli chickpeas and early-maturing pigeonpea, high-oleic groundnut to biofortified sorghum, crops with several beneficial traits were developed and promoted. Moreover, effective seed production and distribution systems were set up. Domestic consumer market potential for pigeonpea and millets was tested in Myanmar last year under the Smart Food initiative. Sensory evaluations in the selected rural communities showed all recipes scored on average of above 4 out of 5, including eating little millet as rice.
“With the signing of the new MoU, we are hopeful that working together and collaborating on knowledge sharing for crop improvement, production and adoption can improve the lives of smallholder farmers of Myanmar as well as encourage more people to adopt Smart Food,” Dr Carberry concluded.
For Dr Pooran Gaur’s presentation at DAR click here