Think big, focus on nutrition, gender, climate change research, communication and partnership
On a virtual visit to offices and facilities in Mali, Niger and Nigeria, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT, interacted with staff updating them on the One CGIAR move, the opportunities it presents and the changes it will bring. The overall aim of the move, she said, was to ensure that research is strong with stable funding with the big focus on nutrition, gender, climate change research and strengthening partnership.Dr Hughes commended work in the region and emphasized the need for documenting impacts supported by metrics.
“Things are changing and there will be a huge demand for Agricultural Research for Development,” said Dr Hughes while addressing the staff. Modernization of the breeding program came out as a concern during the interactions. Dr Hughes said that the aim is to make sure we increase the rate of genetic gains. Responding to a query on product profiling as part of modernizing crop breeding she advised staff to think big. She emphasized the need for a broader perspective and focus on big areas including breeding crops for nutrition and forage.
“We cannot breed for any small niche markets,” she said. Scientific staff were advised to reach out to Dr Hailemichael Desmae, Regional Breeding Lead-WCA, for issues related to the uniqueness of varieties in different countries. Dr Hughes responded to queries on staffing and funding concerns in view of the One CGIAR move. She urged the staff to pursue their resource mobilization efforts and find solutions to overcome setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ICRISAT staff were encouraged to continue COVID-19 preventive measures and to reduce domestic and international travels. The staff appreciated the opportunity to interact with Dr Hughes. ICRISAT staff based in Dakar, Senegal, working under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change and Food Security (CCAFS) participated in the sessions.
It was like coming back home. Dr Jacqueline Hughes recollecting her 11-year stay in Nigeria while working for IITA
Videos presented to the Director General showed offices, field stations, laboratories and storage facilities as well as research activities on crop improvement, integrated crop management, systems analysis and policy and impact. “Opportunities in Nigeria, Niger and Mali are similar in terms of funding and impact. I encourage all of you to continue participating and to keep communicating with partners, so as to increase ICRISAT visibility,” Dr Hughes said.
Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT, virtually visited country office stations in West and Central Africa (Niger, Mali and Nigeria) on November 12 and 26.
Read more about West and Central Africa on EXPLOREit
About the authors:
Ms Agathe Diama, Head Regional Information, ICRISAT-WCA
Dr Nadine O Worou, Program Officer, ICRISAT-WCA
Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Regional and Research Program Director, ICRISAT-WCA