The Seed of the Technology: ISTA conference generates interest in concerns of the drylands
Discussions at the recently concluded congress of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) reflected the seed community’s focus on seed production in a changing environment, the association’s Secretary-General Dr Andreas Wais said.
“The attendance we had at the congress this time has never been experienced before. More than 500 people joined the conference and were very interested in all the topics presented. Especially, the areas of climate change and changing environment were very important,” Dr Wais said of the congress during a visit of the ISTA delegation to ICRISAT. The congress was held in Hyderabad, India.
An independent organization operating through cooperation between seed scientists and analysts, ISTA aims to achieve uniformity in seed quality evaluation across the globe. Members of its executive committee visited ICRISAT’s facilities, including the gene bank and the plant quarantine unit. The delegation also visited the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP).
“Members of our storage committee are involved in genebanks. So we very much appreciate the opportunity to visit ICRISAT’s genebank. We are very impressed by the facilities and the people you have here,” said Dr Steve Jones, ISTA President. While referring to ICRISAT Director General Dr Peter Carberry’s symposium at the congress, Dr Jones said ISTA will look for cross-collaboration opportunities with ICRISAT.
ICRISAT showcased its work on seed systems at the ISTA congress, held during 26 June – 3 July. Improved varieties and hybrids of the institution’s mandate crops and seed technologies were demonstrated. The institution’s work with its seed industry partners in the private sector, Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC) came to the fore during the congress owing to a high-yielding sorghum hybrid developed by one of the consortium partners. High-yielding sorghum varieties and hybrids are helping farmers utilize lands fallowed by rice production in major rice producing states of India, like Andhra Pradesh.
Conveying the importance of ICRISAT’s mission in the drylands during his interaction with the delegation, Dr Carberry outlined the challenges of nutrition and income security faced by marginal farmers in Africa and Asia and the role robust seed systems can play to address.