Over 150 participants from 25 countries met to identify better models for partnering as part of the launch meeting of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC). Dr Peter Carberry, Director of GLDC, set the framework from the start, underlining that the Program’s approach is how it can add value to what is already being undertaken. Linking initiatives and building on each other’s strengths will be a key focus of the approach.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, H E Dr Eyasu Abraha Alle, who inaugurated GLDC, supported the value chain approach noting that, “grain legumes and dryland cereals are what have been termed as ‘Smart Food’ because they are: Good for you, Good for the planet, and Good for the farmer. However, they have received less attention and their value chains have not been as well developed. We need to do something different! Through partnerships like GLDC, we will build this whole industry from the consumer end and also develop the food processing industry and connect this right back to the farmers.”
He also challenged the team, “We have to work furiously for the drylands. Tackling the drylands means being climate smart. Grain legumes and dryland cereals are well adapted to the drylands and naturally nutritious. I challenge the CRP to come up with a strategy for the drylands of Ethiopia. These are Smart Foods and we need to diversify our diets with them.”
Jointly launching the Program was Dr Nigel Kerby, Board Chair, ICRISAT, who congratulated the whole team behind GLDC: “As Chair of the ICRISAT Board and on behalf of ICRISAT which has pulled together the partners and prospective for this Program, I take great pleasure in joining the 44 partner institutions and the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the launch of GLDC. I am very impressed by the commitment shown by the over 150 delegates at the launch, from many different disciplines and their belief in GLDC. I wish great success to GLDC over the next five years of the first phase.”
GLDC’s vision is to deliver improved rural livelihoods and nutrition by prioritizing demand-driven innovations to increase production and market opportunities along value chains. The program supports research for development purposes on six legumes (chickpea, cowpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, lentil and soybean) and three cereals (sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet). It will focus on the semi-arid and sub-humid dryland agroecologies of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The Program is a partnership of CGIAR centers, public and private organizations, governments and farmers worldwide.