ICRISAT West and Central Africa has reorganized all disciplines of agronomic research (agronomy, breeding, biotechnology/ genomics, integrated crop management, physiology, sociology, agroeconomics, etc.) under one umbrella called the Crop Improvement Operations Team (CIOT). A “one-stop shop” for all crop improvement operations, the CIOT was launched on Tuesday 24 August 2021 at ICRISAT’s Samanko research station in Mali.
In his opening remarks at the launch, Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Regional Director for ICRISAT in WCA, said, “The CIOT is at the heart of the transformation and implementation of ICRISAT’s plant breeding programs that began a few years ago. We believe that CIOT’s implementation is an opportunity to better equip the national research staff and to have multidisciplinary and versatile teams in crop breeding operations. From now on, our colleagues will be equipped with new, transversal and solid knowledge in agricultural research as it is expected that the members of the CIOT teams will be mobile, work in synergy with various teams and remain diligent and communicative to handle multiple operations.”
“At ICRISAT’s regional research hub at Samanko, significant efforts are being made to renovate and build new infrastructure that will support the work of CIOT, which is aimed at raising the standard of our research, efficiency and precision. The presentation of the members of the CIOT teams is an important step to the launch of ICRISAT’s CIOT in West and Central Africa,” Dr Tabo added.
“This is an opportunity to broaden skills by learning new things about ICRISAT’s mandate crops, sharing of knowledge in a multidisciplinary team,” emphasized Dr Ousmane Sanogo, Leader of the CIOT. “An interdisciplinary team of individual crop improvement operations will merge into a single and unique entity where all researchers unite and support the breeder of a given crop for designing and bearing efficient product concept. The major crop improvement activities will focus on nursery, trials and production of different categories of seeds. The CIOT also intends to contribute to other activities including seed supply for partners and DNA sampling for genotyping,” he said.
“The CIOT in WCA is made up of eight teams. Trainings will be organized progressively so that everyone can have the capacity to carry out the work that will be entrusted to them. Procedures for the use of equipment, general or specific understanding of tasks will be within everyone’s reach,” Dr Sanogo explained.
“Breeders will now be able to focus more on trials. Also, the team’s members are expected to improve efficiency, data quality and operations,” said Dr Haile Desmae, Lead Regional Breeding -ICRISAT in WCA.
“The CIOT approach will be of great support to ICRISAT’s research operations in WCA,” noted Mr Amadou Traore, Research Technician. “With the CIOT, I will have the opportunity to impact breeding operations of more than one ICRISAT mandate crop. I will gain new skills and competences on sorghum and millet breeding, and at the same time I will enthusiastically share my experience on groundnut breeding operations. Appointed as the Team Coordinator for Dryland Cereals and Tropical Legumes Crossings, I will have the time to complete groundnut crossing then move to another to support while waiting for the right time to lead my crossing team again for the dry cereals’ crops. This is fantastic!”
Mr Mamourou Sidibe, Senior Scientific Officer, described CIOT as a well-thought-out approach with clearly stated benefits. “Teamwork within the CIOT is an opportunity for junior scientific staff to train in genotyping, sampling, as well as all laboratory related work. It is a great opportunity to leverage a new generation of researchers and research technicians,” said Dr Keita Djeneba Konate, Senior Scientific Officer, Laboratory Team Coordinator.
“In the village, the rooster belongs to one person but crows for all,” quipped ICRISAT’s Senior Sorghum Breeder and the session’s moderator Dr Aboubacar Toure as he highlighted the CIOT as a one-stop shop.
Mr Issaka Yougbare, Regional Administration Manager, and Ms Agathe Diama, Senior Manager-Communication, assured the CIOT Lead and the team their continued support for successful implementation of the operations. “Communication wise, working as a one stop-shop is not new. We will continue our support to integrated research activities within the CIOT” concluded Ms Diama.