Nigerian delegation with Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT

Strengthening collaborations to upscale research innovations in dryland regions of Nigeria

Nigerian delegation with Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT

Nigerian delegation with Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT

A delegation from Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria paid a visit to ICRISAT headquarters in Hyderabad, from 30 May to 1 June 2022, to forge closer ties between the two organisations so as to address issues around dryland agriculture in the region and explore new avenues for collaboration. The delegation met Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT; Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General- Research, Program Directors, Dr Victor Afarisefa, Dr Sreenath Dixit and senior ICRISAT scientific staff and also visited various research facilities including demonstration sites to witness the success stories of ICRISAT’s research and innovation.

ICRISAT and Nigeria are long standing collaborators in developing research-for-development initiatives to overcome critical agricultural development challenges such as enhancing crop productivity, diversification of drylands systems, strengthening farmer-market linkages and systems transformation for better livelihoods for smallholder farmers including capacity building and training next generation scientists and research scholars.

Some of the key areas identified during the visit for strengthening ICRISAT-CDA collaboration include the following:

  • Training high-level human resources in target countries to generate knowledge, and solutions to the challenges and harness new opportunities.
  • Water-soil conservation, land rejuvenation and soil health improvement.
  • Climate resilience, weather advisories and climate smart technologies.
  • Optimal utilization of high-end research facilities through shared approach.
  • Building capacity of scientists and research staff through exchange visits.
  • Facilitating South-South collaboration between the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE-Impact)/ Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET centres) and Asian Institutions working on ICRISAT’s R4D areas of interest.
  • Establishing an Agribusiness and innovation platform at CDA.

The delegation included officials from Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) of Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria; the Department of Agricultural Lands and Climate Support Service of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Abuja, Nigeria (represented by its Director, Shehu Tijjani Bello); HarvestPlus, Nigeria (represented by the Nigeria Country Director, Yusuf Fouad Dollah). The team from CDA was led by Professor Jibrin Mohammed Jibrin, Director of CDA and the President of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria; Professor Amina Mustapha; Dr Muhammad Murtala Badamasi; Dr Amina Lawan Mustapha and Dr Mohammed Mustapha Bello. Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, Country Representative – Nigeria and Principal Scientist, ICRISAT, led the group from Nigeria.

While addressing the gathering, Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, DG ICRISAT said, “I am very glad to see our long-standing partnership with different institutes in Nigeria – particularly the Centre for Dryland Agriculture – strengthening, to enable us all to deliver sustainable impact. Nigeria is very well placed to scale research innovations and transform the agricultural landscape in the drylands. ICRISAT reaffirms our commitment and support across the value chain to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the region”.

“ICRISAT-CDA collaboration has the potential to contribute further in the area of water-soil conservation, climate resilience, value chain development, upstream research and capacity building. I am sure this visit will renew interest and collaboration and both organisations will further accelerate the pace of science-based productivity enhancements for food and nutrition secure drylands”- said Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT.

Nigerian delegation with Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General and Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT

Nigerian delegation with Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes, Director General and Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT

Prof. JM Jibrin while appreciating ICRISAT’s facilities and long-standing collaboration said “CDA and ICRISAT have the same focus; the vision of CDA is a resilient and prosperous Africa. We have collaborated in several training, research, and development efforts in Africa as equal partners. During the 10th anniversary celebrations of CDA, ICRISAT was selected and honoured as CDA’s best international partner”. “I am highly impressed with the all-inclusive way ICRISAT is approaching research for development. The science here is high end but the translation of the science to people- and impact-oriented programmes and activities appears to be seamless”- he further added.

This has been very insightful visit and I was very impressed with the Watershed Project we visited. I used to think that watershed planning is a soil water conservation measure. I soon learned from this visit that it includes soil health, agro-forestry activities, agricultural production enhancing activities, livelihoods, increase of income activities, and land restoration. It was quite revealing- expressed Engr. Shehu Tijjani Bello.

“Most of us as agricultural development practitioners delve into implementing climate sensitive interventions without really understanding what climate change in agricultural systems really means. ICRISAT campus has put in place models that really explain what climate change means and solutions to mitigate these challenges. There’s no better way to understand this phenomenon than visiting ICRISAT campus. The 3 days learning will go a long way in adding value to how we initiate and implement climate sensitive value chains”- said Prof. Yousuf Dollah.

About The Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria

The Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) is one of the leading partners of ICRISAT in Africa. The Centre was established by Bayero University, Kano in 2012 to provide high-level training and research on drylands of West and Central Africa (WCA). ICRISAT-WCA was involved in the conception and establishment of CDA. Within two years of its establishment, the CDA won a World Bank grant to become an Africa Centre of Excellence (ACE) in dryland agriculture. Presently the Centre trains students from across Africa (14 countries). The centre is also one of the 15 elite host institutions housing the Africa-led PhD programmes under the Partnership for Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF). From 2013 to date, several partnership activities have been undertaken between ICRISAT and CDA every year.

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