Crops   » Sorghum
Sorghum
Photo: ICRISAT
 
 

Sorghum is a highly reliable crop that grows well in hot, dry environments. It is "climate change-ready", and provides food security and income for millions of poor farmers living in such locations. 

500 million - Number of people who rely on sorghum as a dietary staple

242 – Number of improved commercial sorghum varieties derived from ICRISAT research

484 – Average net return (US$) per hectare to African farmers growing improved sorghum

1,240 – Average net return (US$) per hectare to African farmers who feed sorghum to livestock



Technology diffusion and uptake - Improved sorghum and pearl millet varieties flourish under the HOPE project (French)
Introducing Malian farmers to improved varieties of both sorghum and pearl millet has boosted both yields and overall grain production in target villages and spilled over to their non-targeted neighbors. Pearl millet and sorghum play a critical role in production and supply systems in Mali. These two staple crops account for about 80% of the country’s planted crop area, and for about 49% of cereal production over the period 2009−2010, an increase of 17% compared to the 2008-2009 period.
Download: 407Kb

Sharing new ideas for baking and fueling cookers with sorghum (French)
New baking and bio-charcoal production techniques have been introduced to women farmers in kano, Nigeria so they can benefit from technologies for enhancing the sorghum value chain. A training-of-trainers workshop primarily focused on the use of sorghum in making bakery products such as cakes, biscuits and bread, and on producing bio-charcoal. Twenty-one women extension agents and group leaders drawn from the kano State Agricultural Development Project learned about the benefits of sorghum, food safety practices, hygiene, sanitation, and entrepreneurship during the two-day workshop organized by ICRISAT.
Download: 164Kb

Dual-purpose sweet sorghum, a new option for farmers to increase their income
Dual-purpose sweet sorghum varieties offer farmers expanded opportunities for income from selling fodder and sweet juices and syrup as well as grain. Although mainly grown for human consumption in the semi-arid tropics, where it constitutes a staple food for 500 million people in over 30 countries, sorghum stover or crop residue is one of the cereal’s by-products much used as animal feed by the majority of farmers, who also keep cattle strongly dependent on natural pastures and by- roducts from cereals and legumes.
Download: 5320Kb

Parasitoid wasps for biological control to become a new Sahel cottage industry (French)
Parasitoid wasps may soon join the range of ‘crops’ grown in millet-producing villages across the Sahel. If trials in Niger in 2015 and 2016 are successful in demonstrating the willingness of villages to purchase parasitoid wasps for pest control in their millet crops then local biocontrol will become a commercial reality for community-based producers.
Download: 225Kb

Technology diffusion and uptake - Improved sorghum and pearl millet varieties flourish under the HOPE project
Introducing Malian farmers to improved varieties of both sorghum and pearl millet has boosted both yields and overall grain production in target villages and spilled over to their non-targeted neighbors. Pearl millet and sorghum play a critical role in production and supply systems in Mali. These two staple crops account for about 80% of the country’s planted crop area, and for about 49% of cereal production over the period 2009−2010, an increase of 17% compared to the 2008-2009 period.
Download: 398Kb

Sharing new ideas for baking and fueling cookers with sorghum
New baking and bio-charcoal production techniques have been introduced to women farmers in kano, Nigeria so they can benefit from technologies for enhancing the sorghum value chain. A training-of-trainers workshop primarily focused on the use of sorghum in making bakery products such as cakes, biscuits and bread, and on producing bio-charcoal. Twenty-one women extension agents and group leaders drawn from the kano State Agricultural Development Project learned about the benefits of sorghum, food safety practices, hygiene, sanitation, and entrepreneurship during the two-day workshop organized by ICRISAT.
Download: 173Kb

Good home-produced quality seed puts Malian farmers ahead of the game (French)
exceptional grain yield results from farmer-managed seed systems are boosting food security in mali thanks to ICRISAT and its partners. “If you have good seeds, you will be ahead of the game”, says Souleymane Ballo, a respected elder from mpessoba, a village between Segou and koutiala, in South mali where he is among the first farmers to benefit from research funded by the mcknight foundation.
Download: 497Kb

Success stories from the Africa Rising large-scale Diffusion of Technologies of Sorghum and Millet Systems project (French)
On 28 June 2014, I went to my field with my kids to sow the Toroniou variety of millet for seed production. Upon arrival I found my neighbor Mr Souleymane Guindo had already sown his field more than a month before me, and was pleased with the result. He told me that I was too late for sowing and he thought it unlikely I could harvest anything in my field. Because I had participated in a training organized in Bankass by ICRISAT and its partners, during which the trainers presented the product Apron Star and its benefits, I did not think I was too late in sowing and that the plants would catch hold because my seeds were treated with Apron Star.
Download: 5819Kb

Parasitoid wasps for biological control to become a new Sahel cottage industry
Parasitoid wasps may soon join the range of ‘crops’ grown in millet-producing villages across the Sahel. If trials in Niger in 2015 and 2016 are successful in demonstrating the willingness of villages to purchase parasitoid wasps for pest control in their millet crops then local biocontrol will become a commercial reality for community-based producers.
Download: 245Kb

Good home-produced quality seed puts Malian farmers ahead of the game
exceptional grain yield results from farmer-managed seed systems are boosting food security in mali thanks to ICRISAT and its partners. “If you have good seeds, you will be ahead of the game”, says Souleymane Ballo, a respected elder from mpessoba, a village between Segou and koutiala, in South mali where he is among the first farmers to benefit from research funded by the mcknight foundation.
Download: 478Kb

Success stories from the Africa Rising large-scale Diffusion of Technologies of Sorghum and Millet Systems project
On 28 June 2014, I went to my field with my kids to sow the Toroniou variety of millet for seed production. Upon arrival I found my neighbor Mr Souleymane Guindo had already sown his field more than a month before me, and was pleased with the result. He told me that I was too late for sowing and he thought it unlikely I could harvest anything in my field. Because I had participated in a training organized in Bankass by ICRISAT and its partners, during which the trainers presented the product Apron Star and its benefits, I did not think I was too late in sowing and that the plants would catch hold because my seeds were treated with Apron Star.
Download: 5819Kb

Sorghum landraces for development of diversified adaptable sorghum hybrids in Nigeria (French)
The first steps have been taken to develop high-yielding and disease-resistant sorghum hybrids suitable for the dry northern zones of Nigeria. Commercially viable sorghum hybrids are already available for West and Central Africa (WCA) but suit only a single maturity band (100 km from north-south) for the guinea-race zone of Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. There are no hybrids available for the drier, more northern zones of Nigeria, which is the largest sorghum producing area in the region, growing mostly the caudatum- or durra-types.
Download: 523Kb

Sorghum in poultry feed brings extra value to the crop-livestock system
Poultry farmers’ concerns about using sorghum instead of maize in poultry feed have been overcome thanks to dietary trials by ICRISAT in Niger, Nigeria and India. A key problem facing poultry production in Niger and Nigeria is the inadequate supply and high cost of feed ingredients, for which maize is the main energy source. Alternative energy sources such as sorghum may help reduce the high cost of poultry feed.
Download: 381Kb

Farmers hold the key to Mali’s sorghum market (French)
Sorghum is among the top three crops produced by Malian farmers, and it is these self-same farmers who underpin the country’s sorghum marketing system. A study by ICRISAT West and Central Africa shows that, on average, about 27% (8 to 36% of individual harvests) of sorghum produced is sold into spot markets, indicating that sorghum grain is only sold to buyers once farmers have determined the quantity necessary to cover their own household consumption. However, some farmers invariably find they are short of grain in the lean period and have to buy sorghum from local markets.
Download: 233Kb

Large-scale diffusion of technologies for sorghum and millet systems in Mali (French)
Potential success with new crop varieties, seed treatment, pest and weed control is being strengthened by giving sorghum and millet growers proven ways and means to better harvests. A multi-stakeholder project consortium, including ICRISAT-WCA, is geared to improving sorghumand pearl millet-based production systems in the Mopti and Sikasso regions of Mali through strengthened research-development partnerships for large-scale use of priority proven technologies.
Download: 765Kb

Sorghum landraces for development of diversified adaptable sorghum hybrids in Nigeria
The first steps have been taken to develop high-yielding and disease-resistant sorghum hybrids suitable for the dry northern zones of Nigeria. Commercially viable sorghum hybrids are already available for West and Central Africa (WCA) but suit only a single maturity band (100 km from north-south) for the guinea-race zone of Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. There are no hybrids available for the drier, more northern zones of Nigeria, which is the largest sorghum producing area in the region, growing mostly the caudatum- or durra-types.
Download: 499Kb

Investment in Niger to meet the challenges posed by hunger and poverty (French)
In the Sahelian zones of West and central Africa (WCA), drought, heat and low soil nutrients are the major abiotic constraints to crop productivity. The biggest challenge in this region is the identification and characterization of drought/heat/low-nutrient tolerant genitors to provide material to be used in genetic breeding programs for improving productivity.
Download: 397Kb

Large-scale diffusion of technologies for sorghum and millet systems in Mali
Potential success with new crop varieties, seed treatment, pest and weed control is being strengthened by giving sorghum and millet growers proven ways and means to better harvests. A multi-stakeholder project consortium, including ICRISAT-WCA, is geared to improving sorghumand pearl millet-based production systems in the Mopti and Sikasso regions of Mali through strengthened research-development partnerships for large-scale use of priority proven technologies.
Download: 1147Kb

Farmers hold the key to Mali’s sorghum market
Sorghum is among the top three crops produced by Malian farmers, and it is these self-same farmers who underpin the country’s sorghum marketing system. A study by ICRISAT West and Central Africa shows that, on average, about 27% (8 to 36% of individual harvests) of sorghum produced is sold into spot markets, indicating that sorghum grain is only sold to buyers once farmers have determined the quantity necessary to cover their own household consumption. However, some farmers invariably find they are short of grain in the lean period and have to buy sorghum from local markets.
Download: 225Kb

Dual-purpose sweet sorghum, a new option for farmers to increase their income (French)
Dual-purpose sweet sorghum varieties offer farmers expanded opportunities for income from selling fodder and sweet juices and syrup as well as grain. Although mainly grown for human consumption in the semi-arid tropics, where it constitutes a staple food for 500 million people in over 30 countries, sorghum stover or crop residue is one of the cereal’s by-products much used as animal feed by the majority of farmers, who also keep cattle strongly dependent on natural pastures and by- roducts from cereals and legumes.
Download: 5317Kb

Investment in Niger to meet the challenges posed by hunger and poverty
In the Sahelian zones of West and central Africa (WCA), drought, heat and low soil nutrients are the major abiotic constraints to crop productivity. The biggest challenge in this region is the identification and characterization of drought/heat/low-nutrient tolerant genitors to provide material to be used in genetic breeding programs for improving productivity.
Download: 374Kb

Game for innovation - Women in India and Africa try out new technologies
Be it for a healthy snack for kids or preparation of eco-friendly bio-charcoal, introducing processing empowers women to find a market for innovative sorghum products.It started off a year and half ago when my friends and I were looking for business avenues the raw material directly from the farmers. 
Download: 198Kb

Smart Foods: Nutri-cereals for her - The creation of biofortified pearl millet

To combat anemia in women and children, scientists developed biofortified pearl millet high in iron and zinc, which has been adopted by Indian farmers. A fine example of the Lab-to-Land approach. India: Every second Indian woman is anemic and one in every five maternal deaths is directly due to anemia*. Pearl millet biofortification opens up the possibility of a cost-effective strategy to beat micronutrient malnutrition in women and children.

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HOPE for the future - Sorghum and finger millet in HOPE Project, Tanzania

Agriculture, contributing to 25% of GDP and employing more than 75 percent of the population, is the mainstay of the economy in Tanzania and has potential to be a key driver of economic growth in the country. Nationally, the poverty level is estimated at 40%, with access to modern technologies cited as a constraint, as only 50% of the demand for improved seed and fertilizers are met. ICRISAT’s HOPE project on productivity and profitability improvement for sorghum and finger millet has project sites in five semi-arid districts of Tanzania namely, Kondoa, Singida Rural, Iramba, Kishapu and Rombo, with a combined population of about 1.5 m people.

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The game changer - Pigeonpea for uplifting livelihoods and sustainable agriculture in Rajasthan

Fifteen million hectares of dry areas in Rajasthan cultivated by smallholder farmers have been affected by frequent droughts and land degradation. Years of absent or minimal rainfall, coupled with the fact that soil enhancing legumes had not been grown here for ages, had not surprisingly led to depletion of soil health, making the soil uninviting and unproductive, This in turn has led to low productivity and sometimes abandonment of agricultural lands, causing extreme hardships to millions of farmers who depend on farming for their livelihoods.

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Micro doses to security - Microdosing, warrantage and small seed packs for better incomes in Africa

In the dry, and often barren, semi-arid tropics of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the longterm overuse of soil leads to land degradation, decline in soil fertility, and decline in crop yields. Studies show that land degradation in West and Central Africa (WCA) leads to a loss of about $42 billion in incomes, and 5 million hectares of productive land each year. In Zimbabwe, 75-90% of crop land is unfertilized as the average fertilizer application by smallholder farmers, when they can afford it, is a mere 3 kg/ha.

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Partnership for synergy - Promoting sorghum and pearl millet in the poultry feed industry

The area under sorghum is declining in India, China and Thailand due to several constraints on both production and marketing. Studies documented the constraints in sorghum farming in project areas (India, China and Thailand), and the major constraints found include (i) Availability and access to improved cultivar seeds and other inputs; (ii) Poor access to cost effective technologies to enhance production; (iii) Absence of farm advisory services to help farmers in taking farm level decisions; (iv) Inability to get timely credit from nationalized banks; and (v) Poor market linkages to industry.

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Just a small dose will do

Inclusiveness is about bringing life-changing innovations to millions of smallholder farming families who have the biggest needs – techniques that are adapted to smallholder, resource-poor farmers. The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Dr Kanayo Nwanze, speaking at the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week opening ceremony in Accra, Ghana, said “We have seen good results from a fertlizer microdosing Just a small dose will do Philip Tshuma and his family proudly show extension agents their sorghum and pearl millet fields with microdosing application. technique developed by ICRISAT and its partners, using a bottle cap system so farmers can measure out small, aff ordable amounts of fertilizer.” Dr Nwanze believes that there is huge potenƟ al to increase yields using low-cost and existing technologies.

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Guinea-race sorghum hybrids

Sorghum varieties belonging to the Guinea-race combine high grain quality with excellent adaptation for major parts of the Sudanian zone of West and Central Africa. Despite their exceptional yield stability, however, yield levels rarely exceed 2 t ha-1 in farmers’ fields.

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Genetic resources for food security

The RS Paroda Genebank at ICRISAT’s headquarters in Patancheru, India, is one of the world’s largest repositories of genetic resources of its mandate crops, and at present conserves more than 120,000 accessions from 144 countries. From this facility, ICRISAT engages in the assembly, conservation, maintenance, characterization, evaluation, documentation and distribution of germplasm of its mandate crops – sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut and their wild relatives; and six small millets – finger millet, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet, little millet and proso millet.

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Sweet sorghum

In the wake of steeply rising fossil fuel prices, interest in biofuels has grown worldwide. In addition to the leading biofuel feedstocks such as sugarcane, sugarbeet, cassava, rapeseed and maize grain, alternatives are emerging to help meet mandated blending requirements. Alternatives are also needed in the tropics and sub-tropics because some crops, such as sugarcane, require about a year to grow and need large quantities of water and fertilizers; sugarbeet demands a cooler climate, and is water and nutrient thirsty; and maize requires significant quantities of water and nutrients.

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ICRISAT-HOPE sharply increases sorghum yields in Maharashtra, India

HOPE has become reality for 25,000 farmers in dryland Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions of the state of Maharashtra, known as the ‘Sorghum Bowl of India’. Initial assessments indicate that their grain yields rose by 40% and fodder yields by 20% on average over the past three seasons (2010-2012) due to improved sorghum varieties and crop management practices, along with improved market linkages. About half of these farmers operate on a very small scale, with landholding size of two hectares or less. Net income (the income that farmers retain after their costs of cultivation are paid for) has increased by 50%, to an average of US$78 per hectare of sorghum grown.

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The brilliance of genome sequencing

The integration of genomic tools in plant breeding is becoming routine, resulting in the more rapid development of superior crops. However, for most of the ICRISAT mandate crops, genomics-assisted breeding is still at an early stage. This is mostly due to limited genomic information and a poor understanding of the inheritance (genes, alleles, interactions, and regulation of these) underlying agronomic performance, product quality and tolerance/resistance to important abiotic and biotic stresses. In 2000, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana L.) was the fi rst plant to have its genome sequenced. Since then, genome sequencing has progressed rapidly and several economically important crops have been sequenced – rice (2005), poplar (2006), grape (2007), papaya (2008), sorghum, maize and cucumber (2009), soybean (2010), and pigeonpea and strawberry (2011).

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Brain and brawn belie bad soil

Human beings inhabit a great range of environments; they are found in the coldest and hottest of climates, in lush green surroundings and in the driest tropics of the world – and still manage to survive

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Nourishment from NutriPlus

Food is one of our basic needs and pleasures. Everyone needs food, and the better the food, the better is our health and nutrition. The NutriPlus Knowledge Center (NutriPlus) is the latest initiative of the Agri-Science Park@ ICRISAT. NutriPlus activities are geared towards meeting the mandate of ICRISAT in nutritional security and poverty alleviation. NutriPlus offers a world class facility with services to support new ventures in the development of high value food products. The aim is to enhance the excellence of the food industry through innovative research and development, technology, marketing and allied services.

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Bioinformatics tools for molecular breeding

Over the past few decades, major advances in the field of information technology coupled with advances in genomic technologies, have led to more efficient applications of genomics in crop improvement programs. Today, large and complex sets of data are being routinely generated. Bioinformatics tools for the capture, curation, integration and analysis of these large volumes of data are therefore a necessity for increased efficiency and improved quality within the molecular breeding process.

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Genebank: Investing in the future

RS Paroda Genebank: In 2006, ICRISAT published a book titled Genes are Gems (unrelated to genebanks); but if genes are gems, then what better place to store them than in a bank?! ICRISAT’s RS Paroda Genebank located on the campus at Patancheru, India is one of the largest genebanks in the CGIAR system, holding more than 119,000 accessions of its fi ve mandate crops and six small millets from 144 countries. Ninety percent of these accessions are conserved under long term storage (at -20o C). To provide easy access to such a large number of accessions, detailed information about each accession is stored in a database and can be accessed through SINGER, the germplasm/data exchange network of the CGIAR on the Internet.

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Rooting around for answers

Why a quantum leap in root research? Much has been reported on the potential of roots to improve crop yield and resilience under drought. However, most studies on roots have used time consuming methods to extricate roots from soil and assess the diff erences in length and density. This has limited their use in breeding because of a relatively low throughput, and fairly large experimental errors. Furthermore, the information on roots harvested at a single point in time only provides a snapshot of the roots at that particular time, ie, “static” data, which cannot help in defi ning the exact role of roots. Previously, it was assumed that deeper/more profuse roots would contribute to higher water uptake and then to higher yield. Yet, the relation between rooting and water uptake remains controversial.

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Keeping the good, while targeting the bad

Appetite suppressant: In 2008, insect-resistant transgenic crops expressing genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that control specifi c insect pests are being grown on some 40 million hectares in 25 countries. These insectresistant crops have been deployed successfully for the management of bollworms in cotton, and corn earworm and stem borers in maize – insect species that feed on many crops, including the ICRISAT mandate crops like chickpea, pigeonpea and sorghum, and cause considerable damage in farmers’ fi elds.

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Multiplying the mycotoxin laboratories

Mycotoxins are fungal poisons that contaminate up to 25% of human food and causes losses ranging from $0.5 to 1.5 billion in the USA alone. Among various mycotoxins, afl atoxins, produced by Aspergillus fl avus and A. parasiticus, occur globally. Research reports indicate that afl atoxin contamination is widespread in staple crops such as groundnut, maize, sorghum, pearl millet, chillies, pistachio, cassava, and even in milk from animals fed with contaminated feed.

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Commercialization of pigeonpea spells prosperity

Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) is one of the most important food crops grown in eastern and southern Africa. Farmers love this crop for many reasons – tolerance to drought, important source of protein for the family, vital source of scarce cash, and provider of fodder for livestock. Pigeonpea fi xes soil nitrogen, allowing the poor farmers to improve soil fertility without expensive chemical fertilizers. Farmers have evolved elaborate intercropping systems allowing them to plant pigeonpea with maize, sorghum and other cereals making it highly suited to semi-arid, low soil fertility areas.

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TV dinners for livestock?

Poor livestock keepers in the semi-arid tropics point to feed shortages as one of their biggest animal production constraints. Crop residues provide fodder from the cropping system without need for additional resources such as arable land and water, as is often the case with planted forages. Crop residues already constitute over 40% of India’s feed resources, and their importance is likely to increase

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Stifling striga with stronger sorghum

Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] is the 5th most important cereal crop worldwide. The plant is mainly cultivated in dryland areas of Africa and Asia, and also in the Americas. Average grain yields range from 800 kg ha-1 in Africa to 3400 kg ha-1 in America. Parasitic weeds of the genus Striga are the major biotic constraint to agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa. Striga hermonthica and Striga asiatica parasitize mainly cereals. Yield losses can, especially in the presence of additional drought stress, attain 100%. In comparison with chemical, mechanical and biological Striga control methods, the cultivation of crop cultivars resistant to Striga is of particular advantage to farmers, since it does not require specifi c investments in materials or labor.

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Reviving the think-tank in West Africa

Agriculture in Niger (one of the poorest nations) is the main source of livelihood accounting for 38% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 94% of labor force. About 62% of households live below the poverty line (less than US$1 per/day). Despite donor and government investments in R&D during the last 30 years, the aggregate impacts of agricultural research in Niger are limited, and food insecurity remains widespread. There is a need to reassess agricultural research priorities and development interventions to transform the agricultural sector.

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Led by light in West Africa

Living organisms use day-length to synchronize their daily and seasonal activities. Photoperiod-sensitivity is a spectacular expression of this phenomenon affecting reproduction, daily leaf movements or seasonal stem growth, dormancy and leaf fall.

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Guinea-race sorghum hybrids: New prospects for West Africa

“How would you go about improving the productivity of sorghum in West Africa so as to improve food security and increase farmer’s incomes, and do so by building on several thousand years of farmers’ selection for adaptation and quality of grain?” This question was put to researchers from ICRISAT, the Malian Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), and the Institut National de l’Environnement et des Recherches Agricoles (INERA), Burkina Faso back in the year 1999.

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Sorghum – linking farmer, feed-manufacturer, fellow scientists and fowl

Traditional sorghum grown in the rainy season is often vulnerable to grain mold attack, making it unfit for human consumption. But with improved sorghum cultivars that are less susceptible to molds, all would not be lost. Also, grain harvested in the rainy season can still fetch a profit from the brewing industry (whiskey), and at a more basic level, from the poultry feed industry, which is growing at a rate of 15-20% per annum.

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Hagaz, the halcyon hybrid

Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is grown for grain and stover in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa and the Indian sub-continent. In Eritrea, pearl millet is the second most important cereal in the country after sorghum and is grown by smallholder farmers on over 80,000 hectares, mainly in lowland and middle elevation regions. With no improved cultivars available until very recently, farmers grow exclusively traditional landraces, which have many preferred traits and a modest grain yield potential, but are generally susceptible to downy mildew.

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Sorghum, a crop of substance

Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] is the world’s fifth most important cereal crop by area after rice, wheat, maize and barley. A staple food crop in the semi-arid tropics of Africa, Asia and Latin America, its importance as a fodder and feed crop for livestock has steadily increased over the last two decades.

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Old crops, new horizons

Drought has stalked southern Africa for a long time, and the biggest victims are invariably smallholder farmers. Working on nutrient-starved soils, with little access to modern technologies, markets or credit, they lived from season to season. Many aimed simply to feed their families, and in many years they failed. But things are changing, thanks to partnerships engendered by ICRISAT and implemented through the SADC/ICRISAT Sorghum and Millet Improvement Program (SMIP), which completes its activities this year.

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A new Sahel - sun, sand and salvation

The Sahel… in Arabic the word means coastline, or edge. The Sahel is the great dryland belt underlying the Sahara Desert, the northern perimeter of subSaharan Africa; in other words, the desert margin – a bleak, unforgiving landscape.

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Seeds of life

Timor-Leste, the world’s newest country, was formerly a Portuguese colony and subsequently an Indonesian province. When its inhabitants overwhelmingly voted for independence in August 1999, terrible civil strife ensued, resulting in widespread damage to infrastructure and disruption of farming activities.

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Of stalk and livestock

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and ICRISAT have an important common interest. ILRI studies ruminant livestock, which contribute to human welfare by providing food, draft power and manure. ICRISAT studies crop residues, which are consumed by livestock as fodder. It’s a marriage made in heaven – common ground for collaborative research. A multidisciplinary research team of scientists funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), ILRI and ICRISAT set out to identify genotypes of sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut that could be used to develop plants with greater biomass and nutritive value without sacrificing grain yield.

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Betting on biotechnology

Without the drought tolerance, nutrient use efficiency, pest and disease resistances, and many other traits that are built into genetic fabric of plants adapted to the dry tropics. It would be difficult to envision a Grey to Green Revolution. Much progress has already been made using conventional breeding to accentuate these traits and add new ones. But may believe that what has been achieved so far will pale in comparison with the advances yet to come through the revolutionary new tools of biotechnology. 

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Making every moment count

The short 4-6 month growing season is a fleeting window opportunity that can make or break the livelihoods of the poor in the dry tropics. Farmers struggle to extract every possible bit of green from the grey landscape while they have the chance. But a single low-yielding cereal crop is often all they can muster. Through a range of ingenious technologies that enable them to fit more and higher-value crops into their systems, ICRISAT and partners are helping these farmers tern their grey world green.

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Enhancing sorghum adaptation to low-phosphorous soils meets the needs of resource-poor women and men sorghum growers

Low phosphorus (P) soils are a major constraint to crop production in West and Central Africa (WCA). Although P-deficiency is known to reduce growth and delay maturity, sorghum is commonly cultivated in this zone with little or no fertilization due to farmers’ limited access to credit and fertilizers.

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Exploring intensification options for mixed crop-livestock farms in southern Mali (French)

Farmers are increasingly guiding scientists in the development of adaptive mixed crop farming systems through early local participation in trials. Cotton and livestock are primary sources of income for farmers in southern Mali while maize, sorghum and millet are the staple food crops. The farmers face diverse risks and need to adapt to a changing production context.

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Innovation platforms to livelihoods

Agricultural systems in Africa are notoriously low input-low output systems. This results in low production, and often very little to sell off to generate the much needed cash income. Moreover, markets in rural areas are extremely poorly developed and farmers often find themselves ill-informed about market requirements, grades and standards, price structures and associated policies. In addition, small land holdings and poor labor productivity result in very little excess for market-related sale. In semi-arid areas, where crop production is very risky, households sell their small livestock to pay for food, education and human health. Goat markets were poorly developed and transaction costs for all were very high, resulting in very low income/profits. Low reproductive rates and high mortality, primarily a result of poor dry season feeding, limits the number of animals a household can offer for sale, while poor animal condition and breed results in low prices at informal markets.

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Contracts to help farmers step up to market-oriented agriculture by linking them to markets

Linking farmers to markets, particularly in the dryland areas, is critical to agricultural transformation, according to the scientists who conducted a study1 of the contractual preferences of grain producers in Niger and Nigeria. Farmers do not have easy access to inputs and product markets in the Sahelian countries. As a result of these missing input markets and lack of market opportunities for the main crops (sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut), there are few incentives to use modern technologies. Consequently, only a small amount of farmers’ production is traded. When assured of a ready market, farmers are willing to adopt supply-enhancing technologies and achieve more marketable surpluses.

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Exploring intensification options for mixed crop-livestock farms in southern Mali

Farmers are increasingly guiding scientists in the development of adaptive mixed crop farming systems through early local participation in trials. Cotton and livestock are primary sources of income for farmers in southern Mali while maize, sorghum and millet are the staple food crops. The farmers face diverse risks and need to adapt to a changing production context.

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Incubating confidence

The Indian National Agricultural Research System (NARS) is considered as one of the largest publicly funded research systems in the world. However, gaps in its extension machinery have held back many of its research developments from realizing their full potential and reaching its intended target group – the farmers. This has also led to technology fatigue in the system and is detrimental to the agriculture sector in which more than 60 percent of the population depends for its livelihood.

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Contracts to help farmers step up to market-oriented agriculture by linking them to markets

Linking farmers to markets, particularly in the dryland areas, is critical to agricultural transformation, according to the scientists who conducted a study1 of the contractual preferences of grain producers in Niger and Nigeria. Farmers do not have easy access to inputs and product markets in the Sahelian countries. As a result of these missing input markets and lack of market opportunities for the main crops (sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut), there are few incentives to use modern technologies. Consequently, only a small amount of farmers’ production is traded. When assured of a ready market, farmers are willing to adopt supply-enhancing technologies and achieve more marketable surpluses.

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Sorghum in poultry feed brings extra value to the crop-livestock system (French)
Poultry farmers’ concerns about using sorghum instead of maize in poultry feed have been overcome thanks to dietary trials by ICRISAT in Niger, Nigeria and India. A key problem facing poultry production in Niger and Nigeria is the inadequate supply and high cost of feed ingredients, for which maize is the main energy source. Alternative energy sources such as sorghum may help reduce the high cost of poultry feed.
Download: 358Kb

Steady backroom work underpins breakthrough crop science (French)

Low phosphorus (P) soils are a major constraint to crop production in West and Central Africa (WCA). Although P-deficiency is known to reduce growth and delay maturity, sorghum is commonly cultivated in this zone with little or no fertilization due to farmers’ limited access to credit and fertilizers.

Download: 557Kb

Contracts to help farmers step up to market-oriented agriculture by linking them to markets (French)

Linking farmers to markets, particularly in the dryland areas, is critical to agricultural transformation, according to the scientists who conducted a study1 of the contractual preferences of grain producers in Niger and Nigeria. Farmers do not have easy access to inputs and product markets in the Sahelian countries. As a result of these missing input markets and lack of market opportunities for the main crops (sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut), there are few incentives to use modern technologies. Consequently, only a small amount of farmers’ production is traded. 

Download: 658Kb

Enhancing sorghum adaptation to low-phosphorous soils meets the needs of resource-poor women and men sorghum growers (French)

Low phosphorus (P) soils are a major constraint to crop production in West and Central Africa (WCA). Although P-deficiency is known to reduce growth and delay maturity, sorghum is commonly cultivated in this zone with little or no fertilization due to farmers’ limited access to credit and fertilizers.

Download: 494Kb

Strengthening seed producers’ organizations to become viable enterprises (French)

The two-year (2013–2015) project’s first planning workshop targeted at Sikasso was held on 8–10 October, when about 60 farmer members of producer associations and cooperatives met in Koutiala. The workshop served as a platform for exchange of experiences, clarifying roles and expectations of partners in the development of a viable and sustainable seed system, and refining strategies with stakeholders for wider use of improved seed and hybrids of sorghum and other associated crops.

Download: 623Kb

Contracts to help farmers step up to market-oriented agriculture by linking them to markets

Linking farmers to markets, particularly in the dryland areas, is critical to agricultural transformation, according to the scientists who conducted a study1 of the contractual preferences of grain producers in Niger and Nigeria. Farmers do not have easy access to inputs and product markets in the Sahelian countries. As a result of these missing input markets and lack of market opportunities for the main crops (sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut), there are few incentives to use modern technologies. Consequently, only a small amount of farmers’ production is traded. 

Download: 521Kb

Steady backroom work underpins breakthrough crop science

Low phosphorus (P) soils are a major constraint to crop production in West and Central Africa (WCA). Although P-deficiency is known to reduce growth and delay maturity, sorghum is commonly cultivated in this zone with little or no fertilization due to farmers’ limited access to credit and fertilizers.

Download: 542Kb

Strengthening seed producers’ organizations to become viable enterprises

The two-year (2013–2015) project’s first planning workshop targeted at Sikasso was held on 8–10 October, when about 60 farmer members of producer associations and cooperatives met in Koutiala. The workshop served as a platform for exchange of experiences, clarifying roles and expectations of partners in the development of a viable and sustainable seed system, and refining strategies with stakeholders for wider use of improved seed and hybrids of sorghum and other associated crops.

Download: 624Kb

New campaign to promote traditional Kenyan food
From sorghum pilau, to millet ugali and groundnut uji, there is no shortage of tantalising dishes that can be made from these nutritious crops. But many Kenyans do not consume them regularly, until they are in poor health and the doctor advises them to do so. A new Sh470 million campaign now seeks to return these “traditional foods” like sorghum, millet, pigeon peas and groundnuts back to dinner tables. Dr Moses Siambi, Eastern and Southern Africa director for International Crop Research Institute for the semi-arid tropics (Icrisat), an international research centre says the ‘big three’ crops, namely, maize, wheat and rice are locally and globally dominant in terms of research, consumption, infrastructure and trade. He however adds that sorghum, millet and legumes have limited investments, and are perceived to be for the poor.
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Science-led approach for agricultural development in Telangana

To improve productivity and profitability of small farmers in the state, the state government and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have joined hands to implement Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based knowledge sharing platforms and other agricultural innovation initiatives. The partnership will explore areas of collaboration in the field of digital agriculture along agriculture value chain and also explore the possibilities of ICRISAT playing an active role in the ‘T Hub’ (an  incubator launched by the Telangana government). 

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As drought destroys maize, Zimbabwe tries out new staples
JAMBEZI, Zimbabwe, Sept 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For more than 20 years, Dalarex Ncube grew maize in arid Jambezi District, one of Zimbabwe's driest regions, and his family ate maize porridge, the national staple. But seven years ago, he began switching to growing sorghum and millet - both more tolerant of drought - for food and to sell. At first, the switch wasn't easy for his children, who "hated it", he remembers. But "my children now enjoy the mealie-meal (porridge) from sorghum more than maize... because I have told them about the nutritive value of sorghum", he said in an interview.
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ICRISAT to step up focus on ‘smart crops’ millets
HYDERABAD, JULY 15, 2015:  As millets making a slow but steady comeback, ICRISAT has said it would have a special focus on millets, which it considers ‘smart crops’, considered the life-line of small and marginal farmers in semi-arid areas. Headquartered at Patancheru near here, the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics has said sorghum, pearl and finger millets are among the mandate crops. Asked about institute’s strategy for millets, which had been off track due to lack of policy support, ICRISAT’s Director-General David Bergvinson has said that millets played a crucial role for countries such as India, with a large number of small and marginal farmers.
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Women ‘nutrition leaders’ changing the fate of children in Mali

‘We must take care of our babies even before they are born. It’s like when you want to have good cotton, you need to fertilize the soil to nourish the seeds for a good yield, says Assa Kayentoo using words that she knows her audience will relate to. Kayentoo, a 46-year-old nutrition field school trainer, who works for the Malian NGO Amassa in Koutiala in Southern Mali, was among women who recently graduated from the Koulikoro Institute in Mali. She is also a rare example of a divorced financially independent woman bringing up two children on her own.

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Small grains produce big gains for farmers

Every season produces only scorched maize fields with little or no returns despite all the effort and hard work. Inconsistent rainfall patterns and arid conditions lead to the perennial flop of maize production in the area. Despite the evidently dismal performance of the maize crop, most farmers like Sibanda have, for years, ignored and fiercely resisted agricultural and climate change advice to them to plant small grains.

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‘A good farmer produces their own seeds': Raising food yields in Mali

‘If you have good seeds, you will be ahead of the game’, says Souleman Ballo, a respected elder from Mpessoba, a village along the Segou and Koutiala road in Southern Mali. The 62-year-old farmer is the head of a family of 25 and the president of a local farmer seed cooperative Jigi Seme.

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Orphan crop turns saviour

Sorghum is one of the most important cereal crops in arid areas though largely underutilised.  In Kenya, sorghum is grown in the drought-prone marginal agricultural areas of Eastern, Nyanza and Coast regions. The crop—one of the orphan crops can be an alternative staple food in hunger-stricken areas and ensure food security in the drought-prone regions of the country.  But despite its suitability in the semi-arid areas, the area under sorghum production is still low with minimal yields, especially in Eastern Kenya.

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Changer le destin des enfants de Koutiala autour d’une marmite (French)

“Nous avons besoin de prendre soin de nos bébés, même avant leur naissance. C’est comme quand vous voulez une bonne récolte de coton, vous avez besoin de fertiliser le sol en début de saison”.  Assa Kayentoo utilise un langage imagé qui parle aux femmes et hommes de N’golobougou.  Cette formatrice en nutrition de 46 ans faisait partie de la trentaine de femmes sur une promotion de 300 agronomes de l’Institut de Koulikoro au Mali. Elle est aussi un rare exemple d’une femme divorcée financièrement indépendante, s’occupant seule de ses deux enfants. Elle travaille pour l’ONG Malienne Amassa à Koutiala dans le Sud du Mali.

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From field to lab: whose priorities count?

Making decisions in the lab about what crop traits to improve over others, already assumes that one trait is more desirable than another. Increasingly, involving communities is essential for researchers to ensure that improvements to crop varieties are demand-driven by farmers. Rather than being confined to the lab, researchers are increasingly aware of the social context within which they work. For this purpose, collecting and analyzing data from both men and women – in combination with qualitative data on men and women’s perspectives – is important to clarify who, what, when, where and why for framer-driven research programs.

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Go for sorghum, say climate-smart Kenyan farmers

Sorghum assures us of nutritious food for our families as well as cattle; sorghum fetches a better price than maize and gives more yield per acre. Sorghum has changed our lives for the better… say farmers in Wote, eastern Kenya, who have adopted sorghum-legume technologies instead of the traditional maize-bean intercrop. The farmers were addressing a group of journalists who visited their farms recently.

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Crop scientists search for better sorghum variety

Top crop scientists and researchers from Kenya and Tanzania are trying to establish a sustainable sorghum crop capable of multiple uses. The objective is to support the development of new sorghum multi-purpose varieties that are higher yielding and adapted to both biotic and abiotic (insects and diseases) stresses in the arid and semi-arid agro ecologies of eastern Kenya and in the northern and central zones of Tanzania. Researchers from the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Africa Harvest Biotechnology International Foundation (Africa Harvest) have brought together key collaborators and partners to review the project and plan the way forward.

 

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Eva’s endeavours: a professional path in plant science inspired by Norman Borlaug

Learning about the work of Nobel laureate, Norman Borlaug, in high school inspired Eva Weltzien to become a plant breeder so she too could contribute to improving the living conditions in the developing world. Today, Eva is a Principal Scientist in sorghum breeding and genetic resources at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Mali.

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(Audio) BBC Radio report on Africa Food Security (04:35min)

2014 was declared the African year of Agriculture and Food security. So after the declaration, do you know what your country is doing to keep off hunger? Scientist from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics are already carrying out research to improve the yield and drought resistance in certain crops. The BBC’s Frenny Jowi visited a group of farmers in Busia, Western Kenya who are leading in adopting growing alternative crops such as finger millet, sorghum and cassava to keep their silos and stomachs full all year round.

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Grain revolution in the desert (German)

News article from German deutschlandfunk.de about the Sorghum, millets and GM crops with quotes from ICRISAT scientist Dr Eva W Rattunde.

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Open access research for the semi-arid tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has launched a new website - Exploreit - in order to improve access to its data. 

Download: 185Kb

ICRISAT's New Tool, EXPLOREit, Optimizes What Agricultural Research Can Do for Development

This week, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is excited to launch EXPLOREit, a new way of making valuable agricultural research accessible across the globe. This unique multi-navigational system will become the main source of our scientific information, with profiles of all topics, systems, crops, locations and resources in the countries where we work.

Download: 200Kb

Nourishing communities
An integrated approach to improving nutrition is being tested in Mali, with initiatives working with community health centres, women's groups and NGOs. Training on good nutrition and health includes breastfeeding, hygiene, use of maternal and child health services, malaria prevention and diets.Download: 152Kb

What do we mean when we talk of gender strategies for agricultural research?

The majority of women in developing countries rely on agriculture, and it is widely acknowledged that gender should be a major consideration in agricultural development for the rural poor.

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Tanzania's government signs off on sorghum

Sorghum has the potential to significantly improve food security and the incomes of smallholder subsistence farmers, especially those that live in dry areas where maize production has dropped due to low rainfall. In Tanzania, sorghum is grown in areas with marginal annual rainfall, such as the central, northern, southern and lake zones.

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Nourishing communities through holistic farming

Fighting malnutrition is a complex challenge which no one can claim to solve on their own.  We need to consider the agriculture, nutrition, social, and health environment and respond with tailored solutions. Understanding the local context starts by working with farmers so together we can address constraints and spread better practices. Engaging the right partners across health and agriculture is also essential to ensure a sustainable impact on nutrition.

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Millet for our bread in 2050?

A new study by the CGIAR Consortium’s Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) estimates that the global production of wheat, rice and maize could decrease by 13 to 20 percent in the coming decades because of climate change. Potato, a plant not really adapted to warm temperatures and the world’s fourth largest food crop, will also decline. This predicted production loss, due to warmer temperatures and a dryer climate, will be particularly harsh for smallholder agriculture in the South.

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Mali seed entrepreneur discovers taste for food security – in pictures

Mali's first woman seed entrepreneur Maïmouna Coulibaly has launched an agribusiness which brings tasty and nutritious seed varieties on to the market. 'When the seeds are good, so are the yields. But people need to like the taste to buy it at the market. When we do food tastings we find out what works,' she says.

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Mali's first woman seed entrepreneur helps improve food security

During last month’s G8 meeting, President Barack Obama announced The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a global partnership highlighting the importance of the private sector in promoting agricultural development.

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Africa Harvest in new project to popularize sorghum

Africa Harvest in partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) recently launched the Sorghum for Multiple Use project (SMU project) designed to popularize and increase the demand of the crop. The project is funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)

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Sweet sorghum for food, feed and fuel

Food, feed and fuel are three of the necessities of life but it is not often that all three requirements can be provided by one crop. Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolour (L.) Moench) not only provides grain for human consumption and stover (stalks and leaves) for fodder, but it is increasingly being used in India as feedstock for industrial biofuel production. Known as a "smart" multipurpose crop, sweet sorghum is also known by many scientists and farmers as the "camel among crops" as it is well adapted to the semi-arid tropics, is drought tolerant and very water-use efficient. 

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Sorghum: A sweet alternative

Sweet sorghum (sorghum biocolor) can certainly boast an impressive list of advantages: it is high yielding, and tolerant to drought, water logging, and soil salinity. With high oil prices and petroleum reserves in decline, perhaps one of sweet sorghum's most attractive assets is that it can be used to produce ethanol - the world's largest fuel additive whilst still meeting food, feed and fodder needs of smallscale farmers. Biofuels, such as ethanol, are becoming increasingly attractive to oil importing countries. Among them are India and China - both countries are turning to sweet sorghum with the intention of increasing ethanol production, decreasing dependence on imported fossil fuels and enhancing sustainable development. But can sweet sorghum meet the challenge?

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Mouldy sorghum finds its niche

Smallholder farmers supplying agri-processing industries is nothing new; for some crops like sugar cane and cotton it is the standard practice. But for a low value staple like sorghum, attracting industry to buy surplus from smallholders is surely a rarity. In India, rainy, or kharif season sorghum is somewhere near the bottom of the pile as crops go. Planted in June or July, its harvesting period often coincides with prolonged rains in October and November. 

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Priority investments set for agriculture in the drylands of Ethiopia

New approaches and priority international investments have been agreed for agricultural research and development in the drylands of Ethiopia. This comes from a series of strategy meetings between the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Four areas with greatest opportunities have been identified: intensification of legumes for better human and environmental health; ; expanding  cereal production  by promoting  the industrial potential of sorghum and other millets, including tef; scaling up of watershed management for more intensive agriculture;  and new approaches to help farmers manage climate variability.

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New initiatives in to boost export of seeds and sorghum products from Telangana, India

 “The Government of Telangana is committed to encouraging the setting up of a Seed Export Accelerator (SEP) and Sorghum Export Development Platform (SEDP).  These initiatives will help farmers have greater access to quality seeds and will also improve their financial condition,” said Mr Pocharam Srinivas Reddy, Minister for Agriculture, Cooperation and Horticulture, Telangana State. The Minister was speaking as Chief Guest at the two-day consultative meeting on ‘Enhancing exports of sorghum and seeds from India’ organized by the ICRISAT Agri-Business Incubation Program at ICRISAT headquarters during 17-18 March 2015.

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Philippines Congress commends Dr William Dar

The House of Representatives, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., has commended former agriculture secretary and ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar for his “exemplary public service to our country and in appreciation of his notable achievements as a recipient of the prestigious Agriculture Leadership Award during the 7th International Leadership Summit 2014 in New Delhi, India.”

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Director General of ICRISAT retires after 15 years of transformative leadership in agricultural research

Dr William D. Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) with its global headquarters in Hyderabad, relinquishes his post on 31 December 2014 after an unprecedented three, five-year terms.

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ICRISAT investments in agricultural research yield high payoffs for the dryland poor

A growing pipeline of science-based agricultural innovations and impacts by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is impacting the lives of the dryland poor on a large scale, showing high returns on investment in agricultural research for development (AR4D).

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Philippine President honors ICRISAT Director General as outstanding overseas Filipino

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III recently honored Dr William D. Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquartered in Hyderabad, and 32 other overseas Filipino individuals and organizations who have either improved the lives of Filipinos worldwide, supported development programs in the country, or excelled in their field or profession.

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ICRISAT Governing Board commits to new significant research and science investments in Africa

The Governing Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has today made a decision to boost its research in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by investing US$ 5 million towards upgrading research infrastructure and building scientific skills on the African continent.

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Biofuel initiatives should enhance, and not compromise, food and nutritional security of the poor

“We can link the poor and marginal farmers with the global biofuels revolution without compromising their access to food and nutrition,” said Dr William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

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MS Swaminathan and Saina Nehwal named ICRISAT Ambassadors of Goodwill

The International Crops Reserch Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has named Professor MS Swaminathan, renowned agricultural scientist and Father of India's Green Revolution, and Ms Saina Nehwal, Olympic medalist, ace badminton player and youth icon of India, as ICRISAT Ambassadors of Goodwill.

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Union Minister for Agriculture Shri Radha Mohan Singh visits ICRISAT

“Taking technologies that are ready to the doorstep of every smallholder farmer in the country is a priority for the Union Government. With support from ICRISAT and other agricultural institutions, we will reach out to more farmers in rural India,” said Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Honorable Union Minister for Agriculture.

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Information and communication technology tools to help improve pigeonpea yield

Three hundred pigeonpea farmers across 37 villages in India are to trial using phablets and mobile phones for the latest farming and marketing advice.

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The first peanut genomes sequenced

Alexandria, VA and Hyderabad, India (02 April 2014) – The International Peanut Genome Initiative (IPGI), a multi-national group of crop geneticists working in cooperation for several years, has successfully sequenced the genome of the peanut. The new peanut genome sequence will be available to researchers and plant breeders across the globe to aid in the breeding of more productive, more resilient peanut varieties.

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Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Akinwumi Adesina named ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has named Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as its Ambassador of Goodwill.

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ICRISAT Director General William Dar receives FABA Special Award 2014

In recognition of his relentless efforts to improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers is Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, Dr William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), was conferred the prestigious Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA) Special Award 2014.

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ICRISAT and partners map out research agenda for a market-oriented and resilient agriculture in West and Central Africa

An inclusive, science-based, resilient and market-oriented agriculture is the key to addressing key challenges hampering agricultural growth in West and Central Africa (WCA), and in attaining food and nutrition security, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in the region.

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ICRISAT identifies climate resilient germplasm to support chickpea breeding

In yet another significant contribution to the fight against hunger and climate change, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has identified 40 germplasm lines of chickpea with resistance to extreme weather conditions such as drought, high temperature and salinity.

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ICRISAT scientist receives top honor from Crop Science Society of America

Dr Hari D Upadhyaya, Principal Scientist (Groundnut) and Head of Genebank at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in Hyderabad, India, received the most prestigious Crop Science Research Award from the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) during its annual meeting at Tampa, Florida, USA on 6 November 2013.

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ICRISAT and Biotech Consortium India Ltd organize workshop on Safety Assessment of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL), New Delhi today organized a workshop on Safety Assessment of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops at the ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru near Hyderabad.

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USAID-supported project to apply genomics research to sorghum improvement

An international team led by the University of Georgia’s Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory will work toward sustainable intensification of sorghum production, in a $4.98 million initiative recently funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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“EXPLOREit” gets ICRISAT’s science to the public

EXPLOREit @ ICRISAT (exploreit.icrisat.org) breaks information barriers by making large volumes of agricultural scientific knowledge and information easily accessible by the public. EXPLOREit was launched today by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at its headquarters in Hyderabad, India.

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Stronger regional and international partnerships paving the way for food security and poverty reduction

Partnership is the key to overcoming poverty and food insecurity which remain as serious challenges in the dryland tropics of the world, affecting about 700 million people living on less than $2 a day.

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ICRISAT and Senegal strengthen partnership for food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods of the poor

A stronger and more dynamic regional and international research-for-development partnership in agriculture is the way forward for advancing food security and poverty reduction in the drylands.

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ICRISAT and Senegal strengthen partnership for food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods of the poor

The Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (ISRA) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have committed to a stronger and more strategic partnership to harness the power of agricultural research-for-development in achieving food and nutrition security and in fighting poverty in Senegal.

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Global research programs on grain legumes and dryland cereals launched to boost food and nutrition security of the poor

With food insecurity and malnutrition persisting as the greatest challenge facing humanity in the coming decades, two grand research programs to boost food and nutrition and improve livelihoods particularly of the dryland poor were launched here yesterday by the world’s largest international agriculture research coalition.

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Olympic medalist lauds ICRISAT’s gene conservation efforts in the fight against hunger and poverty

“ICRISAT’s plant genetic conservation initiatives illustrate the value and use of biodiversity in the fight against hunger and poverty, and its impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics,” said India’s ace badminton player and Olympic bronze medalist Ms Saina Nehwal.

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ICRISAT-led CGIAR Research Programs to boost food, nutrition and income security of dryland poor

The Fund Council of CGIAR, the world’s largest international agriculture research coalition, recently approved two ten-year research programs aimed at improving the food, nutrition and income security of billions of poor in the dryland tropics of the world.

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Agro-biodiversity vital in the global fight against hunger and poverty: ICRISAT

“Biological diversity has been and continues to be the foundation for agricultural research for food security and poverty reduction across the world,” according to Director General William Dar of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in Hyderabad, India.

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ICRISAT the best hope for poor farmers in the drylands

“ICRISAT represents the best hope of farmers in the semi-arid tropics, crucial for the economic prosperity and food and nutritional security of the dryland poor,” says Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina.

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ICRISAT-HOPE sharply increases sorghum yields in Maharashtra, India

HOPE has become reality for 25,000 farmers in dryland Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions of the state of Maharashtra, known as the ‘Sorghum Bowl of India’.

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ICRISAT and BGI seal research partnership on modern sequencing technologies for molecular crop breeding

BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in India has jointly announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a long-term collaboration on applied genomics research and molecular breeding.

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ICRISAT stresses on partnership-based agricultural research-for-development on its 39th anniversary

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) celebrated its 39th Annual Day on 9 December at Patancheru highlighting purposeful partnership and market-oriented development as key in tackling poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the drylands.

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ICRISAT and EMRC International partner for the 2nd Africa-India Economic Mission

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and EMRC International, Brussels are partnering once again for the second edition of the Africa-India Economic Mission to be held in Hyderabad, India from 11-16 December 2011.

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South-South partnership key to fighting poverty in the drylands

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will lead representatives from world agriculture organizations in a discussion on South-South collaboration to fight poverty in the drylands tropics.

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On World Food Day and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, ICRISAT helps fight poverty and hunger in the dryland tropics

With nearly a billion people malnourished, and 70 million more people pushed into extreme poverty throughout the world by the current rising food prices, ICRISAT further elevates its role as a bridge, broker and catalyst in the fight against global poverty and hunger.

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World Heart Day: ICRISAT calls for sorghum and millet based health foods to help tackle India’s rising lifestyle diseases

At last week’s UN assembly India announced the launch of a nation-wide programme to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) from April 2012.

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ICRISAT germplasm materials making impact on global food security

A total of 735 highly-nutritious and drought-tolerant crop varieties developed using germplasm and breeding materials from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has been released in 78 countries, significantly contributing to increased income and better nutrition of resource-poor people in the dryland tropics.

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Global meet highlights innovative Ready-to-Eat products, new market opportunities

The three-day “Global Symposium on Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Foods: Opportunities for R&D, Entrepreneurship and Markets” held on 25-27 April at the Hotel Taj Banjara, Hyderabad concluded with a promise of better, healthier and safer convenience food for the consumers through R&D and more market opportunities and enhanced entrepreneurship within the food industry.

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Market focus needed for food security in the tropical drylands

Tackling the complexity of challenges in the tropical drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, Dr William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), spoke at the Crawford Fund State Parliamentary Conference held in Parliament House, Brisbane on 6 April.

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ICRISAT Governing Board launches platform for South-South collaboration and approves its medium-term plan

Launching the “ICRISAT South-South Initiative” (IS-SI) to boost India-Africa partnerships on agricultural research-for-development, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has further elevated its role as a bridge, broker and catalyst in the global fight against poverty and hunger.

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Top body for international agricultural research approves new global strategy

The Board of the Consortium of Centers supported by the newly reorganized Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) met this week in India at the headquarters of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru near Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

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New crop varieties for a changing climate

As climate change becomes more felt all over the world, the United Nations is currently holding a climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, which encompasses the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) and the sixth Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP6).

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Asia-Pacific has world’s highest number of threatened species

The Asia-Pacific region covers nearly 30% of the earth’s land area and contains some of the world’s greatest biological, cultural and economic diversity. Unfortunately, the earth’s biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate, with the Asia-Pacific region recording the world’s highest number of threatened species.

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ICRISAT offers training on sweet sorghum enterprise

The NutriPlus Knowledge Center, a research platform within the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)’s Agri Science Park supported by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, is offering an entrepreneur development workshop on Establishing and managing a commercial Sweet Sorghum Syrup enterprise for Food Applications from September 27 to October 1, 2010 at ICRISAT in Patancheru, near Hyderabad.

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Earth Day 2010: ICRISAT for protecting Mother Earth

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) joins more than one billion people in 190 countries across the globe in celebrating “Earth Day 2010” on April 22. Four decades after the first Earth Day, our world is facing more crises than ever before. Climate change is one of the greater challenges of our times. In the center of this crises are the 670 million poorest of the poor people that ICRISAT has a mandate to serve.

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ICRISAT and AVRDC receive CGIAR’s Outstanding Partnership Award

The world's agricultural researchers bestowed two international research institutes headquartered in India and Taiwan the prestigious “Science Award for Outstanding Partnership” for improving the lives of countless women and children in West Africa. Scientists at the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) developed techniques for growing vegetables in the deserts of West Africa.

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Inaugural Africa-India Economic Mission to visit ICRISAT

The first ever Africa-India Economic Mission on Agro-Industry to Hyderabad aims to foster partnerships between Africa and India in agricultural research, soil and water conservation and management, biofuels, fresh produce management, knowledge parks, seed value chain and equipment.

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New global initiative launched to harness biotechnology

The Molecular Breeding Platform (MBP) a one-stop shop for information, analytical tools and related services to design and efficiently conduct molecular-assisted breeding experiments aims to increase breeding efficiency in developing countries.

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Crop Science Society of America honors head of ICRISAT genebank

Dr Hari D Upadhyaya who plays a key role in preserving the germplasm at the genebank in the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), vows to save the variety of life in 2010- the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity.

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Technical and policy options for the drylands

To restore the eroding confidence of dryland farmers, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and its strategic partners offer research and policy options.

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ICRISAT launches a pioneering network to promote agri-business incubators in India

The International Crops Research Institute of the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has been entrusted with “handholding and mentoring” of 10 Business Planning and Development (BPD) units by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

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Food security in the drylands in peril

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations declared that global food insecurity has worsened and continues to seriously threaten humanity. With food prices remaining stubbornly high in developing countries, the number of people suffering from hunger has grown relentlessly in recent years.

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Bracing for a ‘perfect storm’ that looms large over the poor

The world must brace itself for a brewing ‘perfect storm’ – a confluence of crises brought about by climate change, desertification, high energy demand and an exploding population. This wakeup call comes from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) which has a repository of crop varieties that could successfully grow in a warmer world.

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HOPE to boost sorghum and millet production in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has launched a new project that aims to increase food security for smallholder farmers in dryland areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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ICRISAT signs Copenhagen Communiqué on climate change

The Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Dr William Dar, has signed the Copenhagen Communiqué on climate change joining a host of leading global institutions endorsing the initiative. Other signatories include the Adidas Group, Cable & Wireless plc, Cathay Pacific Airways, HSBC, Procter & Gamble and Swiss Re, amongst over 350 companies of all sizes and background.

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ICRISAT bares strategy for farmers when monsoons get delayed

The possibility of lower crop production or even crop failure and higher food prices when monsoon rains get delayed can be averted. This is made possible through a four-pronged science-based strategy developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

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ICRISAT develops climate change ready varieties

When the world gets warmer with climate change, the dryland tracts will become even drier making it more difficult for the farmers to grow crops in this region.

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ICRISAT Director General gets a third term in office

The Governing Board of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has appointed Director General, Dr William D Dar, for a third five-year term in office. Dr Dar will continue as the Director General of ICRISAT from January 2010 to December 2014.

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Climate change adaptation innovations bring hope to dryland farmers

Modeling studies undertaken by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on the potential impact of climate change on dryland crops show that the drop in yields can be minimized through the use of adapted and improved crop varieties plus soil and water management innovations.

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Unraveling of the sorghum genome will help improve dryland crops

The announcement of the unraveling of the genome of sorghum, one of the mandate crops of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), will strengthen the Institute’s research for the improvement of sorghum and other food crops.

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Science innovations help dryland farmers deal with food and financial crisis

The global food crisis followed by the current financial crisis has inflicted further hardships to poor farmers of the semi-arid tropics of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. However, scientific innovations developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) are empowering these farmers to cope with the crisis.

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ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubator awarded as best in Asia-Pacific

The Agri-Business Incubator at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ABI-ICRISAT) won the prestigious AABI (Asian Association of Business Incubation) Award for the year 2008.

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ICRISAT creates impacts in Africa

Farmers in eastern and southern Africa (ESA) were growing pigeonpea that gave low yields, took very long to mature, were susceptible to wilt and often suffered from terminal drought stress.

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ICRISAT to re-establish center in Nigeria

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will soon re-establish its center in Nigeria. This intent was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

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Australian Foreign Minister visits ICRISAT headquarters

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honorable Stephen Smith, visited the global headquarters of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) at Patancheru, near Hyderabad today (10 September).

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Bias against drylands will affect food security

Correcting the policy bias against dryland agriculture can help solve the current global food crisis and enhance the livelihoods of poor farmers. This was revealed in a policy paper on dryland agriculture issued by Dr William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

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Crop breeders on verge of beating Africa’s most noxious weed use cutting edge science technique

Nairobi, Kenya – Agricultural researchers have successfully identified and transferred genes that confer resistance to Africa’s most deadly weed (Striga) using the novel marker assisted selection technique successfully for the first time in the history of crop breeding in Africa.

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Science leads to adaptation with climate change

As the world celebrates Environment Day, science is continuously mobilized to help mitigate the threats caused by global warming and climate change.

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Cutting edge science helps the poor overcome soaring food prices

The poorest of the poor, especially those in the drylands, are hardest hit by soaring food prices. Even as the urban poor are the most vulnerable, the rural poor also suffer since most of them are net buyers of food.

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Sweet sorghum: A new smart biofuel crop that ensures food security

In these days of soaring food prices worldwide, imagine a crop that provides food, livestock feed and biofuel. It grows in dry conditions, tolerates heat, salt and waterlogging, and provides steady income for poor farmers.

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ICRISAT’s germplasm to strengthen the collection at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) joined the group of international organizations that will deposit seeds of germplasm of mandate crops at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, to be inaugurated on 26 February.

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Development of smart crops for biofuels ensures food and environmental security

While the global debate rages on whether the biofuel revolution is causing imbalances in food security systems and increasing the emissions of greenhouse gases, the ‘smart’ biofuel crops developed, utilized and promoted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) ensure energy and environmental security.

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Praj Industries joins ICRISAT’s sweet sorghum ethanol consortium

Praj Industries joined hands with ICRISAT by signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to become a member of the institute's Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Research Consortium (SSERC) on 10 December. Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, and Mr Shashank Inamdar, CEO & Managing Director of Praj Industries, signed the MOA at Hyderabad.

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Global Trust funds ICRISAT’s Genebank

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has entered into an agreement with the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT), to ensure the long-term availability of funds for the conservation, characterization and distribution of germplasm (seeds) in the ICRISAT's Genebank for the benefit of agriculture and food security for mankind.

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IFAD supports biofuels research-for-development project led by ICRISAT

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations has committed US dollar 1.5 million funding for a three-year biofuels research-for-development project led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

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Dealing with climate change with cutting-edge agricultural research

Climate change is expected to affect developing countries more adversely in the initial decades. For the international agricultural scientists working to improve agricultural productivity in these developing countries, climate change adds a new dimension to their research. They are seeking answers on how to climate-proof their mandate crops.

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Tata Chemicals joins ICRISAT’s sweet sorghum ethanol consortium

The Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL), a leading company in the Tata group of industries joined hands with ICRISAT by signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for entering the Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Research Consortium (SSERC) on 17 November 2007. Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, and Mr Homi R Khusrokhan, Managing Director of TCL, signed the MOA at Hyderabad.

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ICRISAT research records high impact in India

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has the strongest partnership with the Government of India, and it is a partnership that has been growing even stronger in the recent years.

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ICRISAT strengthens collaboration with Ethiopia

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has a longstanding partnership and collaboration with Ethiopia to improve the productivity of agriculture and sustainability of livelihoods in the drier and drought-prone areas.

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Climate change and desertification put one billion poor people at risk

There are one billion poor people in the world who are vulnerable to climate change, desertification, land degradation, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity and shortage of fossil fuels. India alone accounts for 25.93% of this population and China 16.66%.

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New low-cost technology counters widespread Aflatoxin food poisoning, increases agricultural exports

LILIONGWE, MALAWI (26 July 2007)—African farmers and agriculture enterprises now have a fast and inexpensive way to detect and manage a costly, naturally occurring and potentially deadly poison (aflatoxin) that infects their crops via a common fungus that makes them unfit for consumption or export.

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Ethanol from sweet sorghum does not compromise food security

The pioneering project to produce ethanol from sweet sorghum , being implemented jointly by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Rusni Distilleries , has achieved a significant milestone with the first batch of ethanol flowing out of the distillery at Mohammed Shapur village in Andhra Pradesh, India.

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ICRISAT promotes pro-poor biofuels initiative

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is linking the poor and marginal farmers of the drylands of the developing countries with the global biofuels revolution without compromising on food security. ICRISAT's innovative research on ethanol for biofuel from sweet sorghum and biodiesel from pongamia and jatrophacrops, is not only ensuring energy, livelihood and food security to the dryland farmers, but also reducing the use of fossil fuel, which in turn can help in mitigating climate change.

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ISBA 2007 – The national conference on technology incubators being held at ICRISAT

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) along with ICICI Knowledge Park and the University of Hyderabad are organizing the first annual conference of the Indian STEP and Business Incubator Association (ISBA 2007) at its Patancheru headquarters from 25 to 27 February. STEP is Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks.

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ICRISAT sorghum for ethanol now a sweet reality

The project to convert the juice from the sweet sorghum stalk into bio-ethanol, which was initiated by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Rusni Distillery, was inaugurated recently.

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Global initiatives to combat drought and desertification

For more than 35 years, the Alliance of Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR and their partners have been globally mobilizing science to combat drought and desertification. Working towards international public goods, CGIAR scientists and partners have been developing a range of agricultural and institutional innovations that address the multifaceted challenges posed by drought and desertification.

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ICRISAT receives the best technology incubator award

The Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Dr William D Dar, today received the Best Technology Incubator 2005 Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. Dr Dar received the Award for the Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at ICRISAT, which was adjudged the Best Technology Incubator in the country during 2005.

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Small fertilizer doses yield big impact in sub-Saharan Africa

Less can have more impact if appropriate fertilizer is applied to the crops at the right time, in the right quantity, at the right spot. In sub-Saharan African countries, the fertilizer microdosing technique developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and partners is helping farmers to increase agricultural productivity.

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ICRISAT's Agri-Business Incubator selected as best technology incubator for 2005

The Government of India has selected the Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for the National Award for the Best Technology Incubator 2005.

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ICRISAT strengthens partnerships with the private sector

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has strengthened its partnerships with the private sector through its recent understanding with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to work together on improved natural resource management for sustainable rural development.

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Indian President hands over ICRISAT seeds to the Philippines

The President of India, His Excellency Professor APJ Abdul Kalam, during his meeting with the President of Philippines, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 4 February, symbolically handed over the foundation seeds of improved peanut and sweet sorghum developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

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ICRISAT honors FAO Director General

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) conferred the ‘Distinguished Fellow of ICRISAT' title on Dr Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at a function held at the ICRISAT headquarters at Patancheru on 4 January. Dr Diouf is the first Director General of FAO to visit ICRISAT.

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Project launched to increase the use of sorghum and pearl millet grains for poultry feed

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), along with its partners from various R&D sectors, has launched a collaborative project to enhance the utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grains in the poultry feed industry in India, China and Thailand.

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The Agri-Science Park @ ICRISAT achieves new successes

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has successfully built public-private sector partnerships through the Agri-Science Park @ ICRISAT (ASP). The Park, which is the social marketing initiative of ICRISAT, has achieved successes in all the four of its components: the Agri-Biotech Park, Agri-Business Incubator, Public-Private Sector Research Consortia, and the SAT Eco-venture.

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ICRISAT celebrates bountiful harvest in 2004

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is celebrating the strength of teamwork, partnership and a rededicated future strategy during the 32 nd Annual Day celebrations being held at Patancheru from 13 to 15 December.

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Japanese Ambassador to visit ICRISAT

The Japanese Ambassador to India, His Excellency Yasukuni Enoki, will be Chief Guest at the 32nd Annual Day of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), to be celebrated between 13 and 15 December.

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ICRISATs Agri-Business Incubator attracts clients

The Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has launched its commercial operations with the signing of collaborative agreements with two private-sector clients. A few other projects are in the pipeline.

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ICRISAT develops sweet sorghum for ethanol production

Encouraged by the positive response from the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is strengthening its collaboration with partners to promote sweet sorghum varieties, hybrids and technologies to extract alcohol from the crop.

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ICRISAT and Indian germplasm research – A win-win in helping the rural poor

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the national agricultural research system (NARS) of India share an effective and fruitful relationship on germplasm exchange.

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ICRISAT and AMIC-India collaborate to communicate biotechnology

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre of India (AMIC-INDIA) to collaborate in conducting a series of media workshops on reporting biotechnology in India and other Asian countries.

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ICRISAT presents technologies to tackle drought

As many parts of India face the possibility of a rain-deficient year, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is committing its package of technologies - a combination of natural and genetic resource management - to tackle the possible drought situation.

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AP Chief Minister urges ICRISAT to help more farming villages

During his visit to ICRISAT-Patancheru on 3 August, Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy, the Hon. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (AP), urged ICRISAT scientists to develop and encourage farmers of the State to grow crops other than the water-intensive rice and sugarcane. He asked ICRISAT to help realize the goal to solve the twin problems of poverty and unemployment by helping more farming villages in the state.

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International networks bridge relief-development gap

In a recently released study, the Future Harvest Foundation and CARE have shown that through efficient agricultural and natural resource management international agricultural research centers and relief organizations have managed to bridge the gap between development and relief.

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National Workshop to upscale APRLP-ICRISAT project

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is hosting a National Workshop on Drought Strategies. This meeting will develop strategies to up scale the Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihood Programme (APRLP)-ICRISAT pilot project to larger areas in the target districts.

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ICRISAT showcases Agri-Science Park at BioAsia 2004

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is looking to build strategic partnerships with the private sector in biotechnology at the BioAsia 2004. The Institute is showcasing its technology commercialization arm, the Agri-Science Park at the Convention.

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ICRISAT signs MOU with Genome Valley for Biotech Park

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Genome Valley-Hyderabad, Government of Andhra Pradesh, to jointly promote an Agri-Biotech Park at the Institute's Patancheru campus.

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Sehgal Foundation gifts further $1 million to ICRISAT

The S.M. Sehgal Foundation, India, today announced a major new endowment of US$1 million for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The endowment will help ICRISAT to bolster orphan crops research.

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Partnerships for rapid crop improvement

When dealing with crop improvement it helps if technology can hasten the process. And the improved crops can be introduced to the farmers more effectively if the international research institution partners with private seed companies and national agricultural research institutions.

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Big change with small doses

At times big changes require small interventions. The application of small doses of deficient microelements boron and sulphur to the soil in the watersheds being developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has resulted in significant increase in crop productivity.

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Combining technologies to reach the poor

For the last 30 years, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has used a combination of high and appropriate technologies to increase agricultural productivity in the driest and poorest farmlands in Asia and Africa.

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Kothapally spreads the green message

Even though the drought has dried the farmlands of adjoining areas, farmers from Kothapally village in Ranga Reddy district manage to grow a summer crop.

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ICRISAT and MSSRF plan Virtual University on drought

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) have initiated the process for establishing a Semi-Arid Tropics Virtual University (SAT-VU).

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Dealing with drought

Water is vital for agriculture. In the semi-arid tropics, where agriculture is predominantly rainfed and drought a recurring phenomenon, efficient water management practices like effective watersheds are becoming integral government policy.

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Biotechnology initiative for the poor Launched: ICRISAT and DBT join hands

ICRISAT and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, launched today a joint biotechnology initiative to overcome major problems of sorghum and chickpea - important staples of the poor in the dry tropics.

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Eritrea Agriculture Minister visits ICRISAT

His Excellency Mr Arefaine Berha, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture of Eritrea, visit ed the ICRISAT-Patancheru campus on Thursday 28 June 2001. He was accompanied by the Honourable Ambassador of Eritrea to China and India as well as senior agricultural officials from Eritrea.

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ICRISAT donates seeds to quake-affected farmers in Bhuj

To restore critical seed stocks lost when a severe earthquake struck Gujarat in January 2001, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), donated today 500-kg seeds of a high-yielding ICRISAT pearl millet hybrid to farmers in quake-affected villages around Bhuj.

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Sorghum yield nearly doubled in India thanks to ICRISAT-ICAR partnership

"In India, sorghum yield increased from about 0.46 to 0.8 tons per hectare during the last 28 years, helping to release over 4 million hectares, which were previously under sorghum, for growing other crops" said ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar in his address as Guest of Honor at the 31st Annual Group Meeting of the All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project on 5 May 2001 in Hyderabad.

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Sorghum yield nearly doubled in India thanks to ICRISAT-ICAR partnership

"In India, sorghum yield increased from about 0.46 to 0.8 tons per hectare during the last 28 years, helping to release over 4 million hectares, which were previously under sorghum, for growing other crops" said ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar in his address as Guest of Honor at the 31st Annual Group Meeting of the All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project on 5 May 2001 in Hyderabad.

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ICRISAT gets $ 1.2 Million from ADB for genomics research

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged US$ 1.2 million to ICRISAT over a period of 3 years (January 2001 to December 2003) for the research project “Study on Rapid Crop Improvement for Poor Farmers in the Semi-Arid Tropics”.

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ICRISAT strengthens partnerships with the private and public sectors

Traditionally used for food, especially in rural semi-arid tropics, sorghum and pearl millet have a great potential for industrial uses: poultry feed, snacks, or alcoholic beverages. This was one of the themes that were highlighted in the 4-day Field Day events (12-13 September for Pearl Millet and 14-15 September for Sorghum) organized at ICRISAT-Patancheru.

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A role in the life of the poor

From his Danuman West village in the Philippines' Iloco Sur province, little William had to walk two kilometres every day to his elementary school. Since his parents could not afford to educate him further, he did odd jobs to be able to pay for his college fee. He completed his studies, thanks mainly to the scholarships he picked up.

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For a food-secure future

THREE DECADES ago, a major food shortage which experts predicted to lead to catastrophic famines was experienced all over the world. But a group of public and private development agencies networked and averted the danger.

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Finger millet can help address malnutrition

Finger millet can play a key role in fighting malnutrition and bringing down the numbers of malnourished children under five years of age. “Finger millet is high in calcium, zinc and iron. Hence it is good for children, young women and breast-feeding mothers. It possesses important amino acids, which help fight malnutrition and degenerative diseases,” said Dr Rhoda Nungo, Food Nutritionist, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) - Alupe Research Centre, Busia.

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Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas launched for India

India is the latest addition to the Global Yield Gap Atlas that provides important information on the capacities of various countries to be self-sufficient in staple food crop production now and in the future. So far the Atlas has been populated for 24 countries for five major staple crops (maize, wheat, rice, sorghum and millet) and analyses for 25 additional countries is in progress.

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ICRISAT takes on new approaches for how corporate websites are used

ICRISAT has re-conceptualized the use of its website and for the start of 2016 made its final launch. ICRISAT now has two corporate websites – one specifically designed for its scientific information (EXPLOREit.icrisat.org) and one that focuses on the big global issues we are working with partners (icrisat.org).

 
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Showcasing innovations for the Kofa community in Nigeria
Demonstrations of an animal-drawn single row groundnut harvester and a drone for data collection were the highlights at a field day in Nigeria. The drone used in the Kofa STARS (Spurring a Transformation for Agriculture through Remote Sensing) project showed how the data obtained is used to generate advisory services for farmers on crop health management (fertilizers, disease and insect pests, drought, erosion, etc). 
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Strengthening seed supply chains in Kenya
Underdeveloped seed systems and poor accessibility to seeds has been blamed for the low adoption of improved varieties released over the years in eastern Africa. To counter this, close to 3,500 Kenyan farmers were provided seeds of improved varieties of sorghum, finger millet, pearl millet, groundnut and pigeonpea.
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An exercise in demand-driven research: HPRC consultation meeting
Identifying research priorities based on feedback and identifying opportunities to utilize modern research tools, especially genomics and phenomics, to elevate  genetic gains was the focus at a recent consultation meeting with members of the Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC). Based on presentations made by experts and inputs from participants during group discussions on present cultivar trends and trait preferences of the said crops in India, emerging researchable issues were identified. 
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Seeing is believing - Showcasing research impacts in Mali

Improved varieties of sorghum, groundnut, vegetables, fruit and fodder trees and sustainable production technologies for improving nutrition and incomes captured the attention of visitors at an Open House organized at ICRISAT-Mali. Prominent visitors included Mr Ajay Kumar Sharma, Indian Ambassador to the Republic of Mali, who toured the demonstration plots and the exhibit stalls that showcased the research impact of The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and ICRISAT. ICRISAT’s demonstration plots focused on groundnut and sorghum.

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Partnering with the media for promoting sorghum and millets
To promote climate smart and nutritive crops like millets and sorghum, 60 science journalists from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were invited for an interaction to learn about these ‘smart foods’. Dr Moses Siambi, Regional Director, ICRISAT Eastern and Southern Africa, briefed the journalists on ICRISAT’s Smart Food initiative. “It’s time to bring traditional foods back on the dining table,” he emphasized, urging the participants to join hands with ICRISAT to raise awareness and create demand for smart food in the region which will benefit the farmers, consumers and the planet.
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Sorghum agribusiness training for youth and women in Nigeria

At a two-day planning meeting held at ICRISAT-Nigeria for training youth and women on developing sorghum agribusinesses, the States’ Agricultural Development Projects announced that a minimum of 100 groups would be trained per state in the coming weeks.

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Need to strengthen postrainy sorghum seed systems in India

Dr Kumar dwelt on the achievements (see box) of the Innovative Seed Consortium and added that in order to sustain the seed consortium interventions varietal de-notification is the first step. He said a baseline survey reconfirmed that old varieties still have a major share in the seed market and continued seed production of old varieties by state corporations is counterproductive. He suggested de-notifying old and obsolete varieties irrespective of whether they are from public or private sector to allow seed multiplication of released improved cultivars.

 
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Farmers learn from each other in Mali
Peer-to-peer learning among farmers is helping spread new concepts and techniques of sorghum and millet production among farmers in Sikasso and Mopti regions of Mali. It is also facilitating farmers’ access to production systems of these commodities. To facilitate cross-learning, a series of farmer exchange visits were held during a Farmer Field School (FFS) and involved not only the targeted producers but also producers from neighboring villages outside of the project facilitating these efforts.
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Strengthening breeding data management for ICRISAT and partners

To strengthen experimental planning, data management and data analysis skills of ICRISAT cereals and legume breeders, technical staff, research scholars and partners in ESA (Nairobi, Kenya and Debre-Zeit, Ethiopia) a series of training-cum-adoption workshops on the Breeding Management System (BMS) of Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) was organized. BMS is a data management tool to help breeders manage their day-to-day activities through all phases of breeding programs. 

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Efforts to hasten work on perennial grain crops to reverse land degradation

New perennial grain germplasm and perennial forms of traditional crops such as sorghum, pigeonpea, and rice are poised to play a critical role in reversing land degradation and sustaining agriculture in the future. While rice is ready for on-farm testing, additional research is needed for pigeonpea and sorghum. Scientific updates on the above crops and the modalities for speeding up the process of taking research to farmers’ fields in Africa were discussed at a recent workshop in Mali.

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Kenyan farmers embrace sorghum as a multi-use crop to cope with climate change

In Makueni, a county in Kenya, researchers in the Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) project are working to improve production, profitability and utilization of sorghum. This intervention is important given that the maize crop in this area has failed due to unreliable rainfall, changing weather patterns and maize diseases. “The quantity and frequency of rains is not enough to sustain growth of a maize crop to maturity in Makueni county,” says Mr Nehemiah Mburu, a researcher from Africa Harvest which is a key SMU project implementing partner.

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Dr Eva and Dr Fred Weltzien-Rattunde receive Justus-von-Liebig Award for World Nutrition 2015

For their work on improving the nutritional qualities of sorghum for human consumption and for fodder and improving the cereal’s resistance to drought, diseases and pests, ICRISAT scientists Dr Eva Weltzien and Dr Fred Rattunde received the Justus-von-Liebig Award for World Nutrition 2015.

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Indian youth from IT sector show interest in agribusiness

Youth from the Information Technology (IT) industry are being attracted towards agribusiness and sought information on organic farming, precision farming and IT applications in agriculture. They were keen on venturing into agribusinesses and adopting scientific methods and practices to make agriculture sustainable on farms in their villages. Other areas of interest for all participants included – protected cultivation, farm planning and technical support from ICRISAT, millet-based food processing technologies, Internet of Things – IT and internet-based applications in agriculture like mobile apps for agriculture information, weather forecast, market information, online trading, etc.

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Sweet sorghum as biofuel feedstock

To encourage the use of sweet sorghum as a feedstock for biofuel (ethanol) production in India, a consortium of partners from the public, private and research sectors have joined hands. At the recent project launch Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, suggested that the project partners should develop a roadmap and not rely on government subsidies for viability of biofuel value chain as this cannot be sustainable in the long run.

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Kenyan farmers embrace improved sorghum cultivars and explore its use as fish feed

Farmers in eastern Kenya are taking to sorghum cultivation to tide over poor harvests of maize. Since many of the farmers are also into aquaculture, they are evaluating sorghum varieties which are suitable as fish feed. Most famers experience food shortages due to their reliance on maize. But farmers who plant sorghum and pearl millet always get a harvest even with the lightest rains. 

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Reaching quality inputs to farmers in Mali

Launching dedicated efforts to help farmers with uptake of improved varieties and technologies, a series of agriculture input fairs were inaugurated that bring together input suppliers, distributors and farmers and provides a platform for strengthening partnerships.

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Enhancing capacity of extension officers in Kenyan drylands

To bridge the gap between research and information dissemination to smallholder farmers, extension officers were trained on integrated agronomic management of chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum and finger millet for enhanced yields. The training was held from 9-12 June at Egerton University’s Dryland Research Training and Ecotourism Centre, Chemerron, located in the dryland county of Baringo. 

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Farmers assess sweet sorghum opportunity for biofuel

With ethanol production the most viable option for sugar mills facing depressed sugar prices, some mills are looking to use sweet sorghum to produce transport-grade ethanol in the sugarcane off-season. A consortium of researchers and sugar mills are working with the farming community in Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Pondicherry and Karnataka in India to take this to a new commercial level.

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Planning ESA country strategies

ICRISAT ESA scientists are in the process of framing country strategies for Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The overall goal is to improve productivity, profitability and utilization of ICRISAT mandate crops – sorghum, millets, groundnut, chickpea and pigeonpea in the region.

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New sorghum and finger millet cultivars ready to take off in Malawi

Three early-maturing sorghum cultivars are in the process of getting released in Malawi, while the introduction of three finger millet varieties selected by farmers are expected to resurrect a crop that has ‘disappeared’ in the southern region of the country. The three sorghum varieties earmarked for on-farm testing and release – KARI Mtama 1, R8602 and IESV 23006 DL – are suitable for food and for brewing beer.

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Benefiting sorghum and pearl millet farmers in West Africa

Enhancing hybrid vigor of sorghum and pearl millet brings enhanced benefits to smallholder farmers. A project in West Africa aims to bring the benefits of heterosis (hybrid vigor) to smallholder sorghum and pearl millet farmers and establish a solid foundation for hybrid development.

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Harnessing the power of nutri-cereals and young agri-entrepreneurs in Kenya

Diversifying crops and diets to include nutri-cereals like millets and sorghum, attracting youth to farming, unlocking the potential of digital agriculture and creating economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, were some of the key issues that Kenyan government officials, partners, entrepreneurs and academicians discussed with Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, who visited the country in mid-April.

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Kenya seed companies commit to strengthen the country’s sorghum hybrid seed system

In a first of its kind, a sorghum hybrid parents research consortium has been formed in Kenya by the Seed Traders Association of Kenya (STAK) and ICRISAT. The consortium uses a public-private partnership approach to build the seed industry for supply of high performing hybrids to smallholder farmers. ICRISAT was the first international research center under the CGIAR to set up a public-private partnership to develop and improve crop varieties.

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Revitalizing agriculture by improving crop value chains in Nigeria

The Government of Nigeria is focussing on developing commodity value chains across staple crops like sorghum, rice and cassava to ensure sustainable growth in rural income. A major focus of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1 (ATASP-1) launched recently will be on training 200,000 rural youth (40% of them are estimated to be females). ICRISAT will partner in this initiative with a focus on improving the sorghum value chain.

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New initiatives to boost export of seeds and sorghum products from Telangana, India

To help smallholder farmers get good returns from agriculture and also help them access quality seeds the government of the Indian state of Telangana will set up a Seed Export Accelerator and a Sorghum Export Development Platform.

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A good Malian farmer produces his or her own seeds

If you have good seeds, you will be ahead of the game”, says Souleman Ballo, a respected elder from Mpessoba, a village located along the road between Segou and Koutiala, in South Mali. A 62- year-old farmer, head of a 25-member household, and president of the local farmer cooperative Jigi Seme, Souleman knows how important good seeds are for the farmer’s wealth. The cooperative, made up of 65 families, produces sorghum and maize, and legumes like cowpea. 

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Commitment to increase investment and presence in Niger

Emphasizing ICRISAT’s commitment to Niger and exploring ways to leverage the potential of digital technologies were the highlights of the visit of  Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, to Niger.

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Views of key Mali partners – IER and USAID

We are comforted with new development in our collaboration for large scaling up of sorghum, millet and groundnut technologies, adapting to the effects of climate change. The challenge now is to transfer those technologies on a larger scale to family farms,” said Dr Bouréma Dembélé, Director General of Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER).

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY SPECIAL Changing the fate of Malian children around a cooking pot

Aminata Sanogo, mother of four children, has sparked a cookery revolution among women in her village, N’golobougou, in South Mali. She cooks her Tô (a traditional porridge and a staple dish in rural Mali) with whole grain sorghum. Normally, a woman will be praised if her sorghum grains are perfectly decorticated after half an hour of incessant pounding with the pestle and mortar to remove the outer seed coat. 

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Breeding climate-smart crops top priority for Indian state of Karnataka

Breeding climate-smart sorghum, finger millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut crops figure high on the agenda of the Government of Karnataka (GoK). Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture, GoK, said that Karnataka will soon sign an agreement with ICRISAT and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, India, to produce non-GM varieties of the above five crops. A consortium would be formed for this purpose and will be funded by GoK.

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Go for sorghum, say climate smart Kenyan farmers

Sorghum assures us of nutritious food for our families as well as cattle; sorghum fetches a better price than maize and gives more yield per acre. Sorghum has changed our lives for the better… say farmers in Wote, eastern Kenya, who have adopted sorghum-legume technologies instead of the traditional maize-bean intercrop. The farmers were addressing a group of journalists who visited their farms recently.

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Sorghum – a favorable alternative to maize in poultry feed in Nigeria

The performance of broiler chicken fed on 100% sorghum as a substitute to maize was highlighted during a field day in Nigeria where farmers, millers, researchers, public servants and decision makers participated. These claims were the results of feed trials on the use of sorghum in feed formulation for broiler birds, proving the suitability of sorghum in poultry feed. The trials were conducted by the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano, through the sorghum value chain of Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), in collaboration with ICRISAT.

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42nd Annual Day Celebrations at ICRISAT West and Central Africa
Team spirit, mutual respect and constructive criticism at the work place are important to further the goals of the organization, said Dr George E Okwach, Project Manager - HOPE project for Sorghum and Millets (Dryland Cereals). He was speaking on behalf of Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Director ICRISAT - West and Central Africa, at ICRISAT-Mali’s annual day celebrations. The annual day celebrations at Sadoré saw the staff of ICRISAT-Niger bond over games and activities that were planned for the day. The celebration started
with a walk followed by an aerobic session. As part of the annual day celebrations, staff at Nigeria enjoyed a day out with their families at Minjibir Resort. Students on industrial training, and  representatives of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture International Livestock Research Institute, and Institute for Agricultural Research - Kano, also participated.
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Reinforcing partnerships for integrated watershed management in Ethiopia
One of the major problems for farmers in Ethiopia’s Woreillu District, some 500 km north of Addis Ababa, is soil erosion and associated land degradation. “Plants here suffer from both nutrient stress and water stress. The top soil in this watershed is gone and production and productivity have declined. Our big question was how can we make sure that seeds and fertilizer stay where they are placed,” says Dr Tilahun Amede, Principal Scientist, ICRISAT-Ethiopia.
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Opportunities abound for market-led impacts in Nigeria
The presence of good infrastructure, motivated national research and extension staff and farmers with strong market orientation are prime factors for opening up opportunities in Nigeria, concluded Dr Anthony Whitbread, Research Program Director, Resilient Dryland Systems, ICRISAT, after a recent visit to Nigeria.
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ICRISAT Director General retires after 15 years of transformative leadership in agricultural research
At the 42nd ICRISAT Annual Day function held at the headquarters on 12 December, Team ICRISAT bid a grand farewell to the Director General Dr William Dar who has served ICRISAT with distinction over the last 15 years.
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ICRISAT investments in agricultural research yield high payoffs for the dryland poor
A growing pipeline of science-based agricultural innovations and impacts by ICRISAT is impacting the lives of the dryland poor on a large scale, showing high returns on investment in agricultural research for development (AR4D).
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Philippine President honors William Dar as outstanding overseas Filipino
ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar was honored by the Philippine President Benigno S Aquino III for “his exemplary leadership in successfully extending the frontiers of science and technology to ensure food security for all, and for his staunch advocacy of the important role of professional horticulturists in this endeavor.” Dr Dar received a Pamana ng Pilipino (Legacy) Award.
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Farmer organizations help adoption of improved varieties
The ‘Sustaining Farmer-Managed Seed Initiatives for Sorghum and Pearl Millet in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso’ project has demonstrated that seed production and commercialization managed by farmer organizations is possible, and can improve the adoption of improved varieties and thus impact on development. A case study of the McKnight Foundation funded project (Phases 1 and 2) concluded that the project was very relevant because it provided innovative solutions to key problems of the agricultural, food
and seed systems of the region.
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Yilma Kebede reviews HOPE project activities in Mali
It is important to pro-actively anticipate future needs, and begin to address them. But in doing so, we must not forget what is the most urgent and immediate need of the farmer, Dr Yilma Kebede, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said as he interacted with ICRISAT scientists in Mali. Dr Kebede reviewed the activities carried out by scientists from ICRISAT and the Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER), Mali, under the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of sorghum and millets project.
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Sorghum hybrid parents’ research consortium: India success story to be replicated in ESA
Following the success of the three Hybrid Parents Research Consortiums (HPRCs) set up by ICRISAT in India namely – sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea – a similar success story is now set to be created in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region.
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Innovative machines for better crop-livestock farming
Mobile choppers and grinders for processing fodder were the main attraction at a week-long training program organized by ICRISAT West and Central Africa along with Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University at Kano, Nigeria. These machines, which reduce the drudgery of farmers and facilitate efficient use and storage of crop residue, caught the interest of the participants.
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Changing the perception of millets – strategizing for promoting Smart Foods
Strategies to capitalize on existing networks and initiatives, and brainstorming ‘game changers’ to alter the image of millets was the main focus of discussion at the recently held Smart Foods workshop. The overall aim was to develop approaches to bring more attention to Smart Foods – foods like millets that are highly nutritious as well as being good for the environment and important for overcoming food insecurity.
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Changing the perception of millets – strategizing for promoting Smart Foods
Strategies to capitalize on existing networks and initiatives, and brainstorming ‘game changers’ to alter the image of millets was the main focus of discussion at the recently held Smart Foods workshop. The overall aim was to develop approaches to bring more attention to Smart Foods – foods like millets that are highly nutritious as well as being good for the environment and important for overcoming food insecurity.
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Staying relevant: ICRISAT-ESA deliberates on current and future research in a changing world
Finding synergies between scientists and research programs working together under ICRISAT’s Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) framework and addressing the current and future concerns of smallholder farmers was the focus of a recently held ICRISAT Regional Planning Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) for 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.
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Fostering partnerships in agricultural research for development
ICRISAT is one of the most important partners that the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/ WECARD) cherishes, said Dr Ernest
Asiedu, Staple Crops Programme Manager, CORAF/WECARD. Dr Asiedu visited the ICRISAT Regional Hub in Samanko, Mali, on 27 October. The visit aimed at exploring synergies and partnership opportunities between both organizations. 
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Planning and prioritizing research interventions to meet farmers’ needs
The overall objective of the Regional Planning meeting is to enhance integration and cooperation amongst scientists in order to undertake holistic research to benefit smallholder farmers. It offers an opportunity for interaction among researchers,” said Dr Ramadjita Tabo, ICRISAT Director West and Central Africa (WCA), as he welcomed participants to the ICRISAT Regional Planning Meeting for West and Central Africa for 2015.
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Rural women farmers as drivers of progress and change
Engaging with rural women farmers for technology dissemination and value chain development was the focus of the United Nations’ regional “Sharefair for Rural Women’s Technologies” held in Nairobi, Kenya. ICRISAT was represented by Dr Esther Njuguna-Mungai, Scientist – Gender Research, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes, and two women innovators of the ‘Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement’ (HOPE) Project.
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Leveraging the strengths of farmer producer organizations
ICRISAT recently organized a capacity building program for Farmer producer organizations (FPOs) to provide better understanding of the gaps and opportunities for FPOs in agribusiness, best practices on running an FPO, seed  production and effective business plan development initiatives for FPO developers and funding agencies.
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New projects launched in Mopti and Sikasso region of Mali
Furthering its commitment to sub-Saharan Africa, ICRISAT and its partners launched two new projects in Mali recently. The first project ¬– Africa RISING’s (Africa Research in
Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation) large-scale diffusion of technologies for sorghum and millet system, and the second, disseminating learning agenda on resilient-smart technologies to improve the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in the Mopti region.
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Harnessing the power of community radio in Mali
We will create programs and micro-programs in collaboration with technicians and pilot producers of hybrid sorghum seed. We realized that fertilizer can significantly improve yields of our producers and we intend to capitalize on these to better inform our listeners, Youssouf Sanogo of ORTM - Rural Radio summed up the impact of ICRISAT’s 4-day capacity building sessions targeting community radio producers in Sikasso region of Mali.
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ICRISAT creates agribusiness opportunities for farmer producer organizations
At a recent Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) Summit, smallholder producers convened at ICRISAT to explore agribusiness opportunities in the areas of technology penetration, improving productivity and access to inputs and services, and increasing incomes for a sustainable agriculture-based livelihood.
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Working with Asian Paints for their corporate social responsibility
Understanding the need to strengthen ecosystem services through natural resource management in dryland areas, ICRISAT in collaboration with Asian Paints Limited launched a project ‘Improved Livelihoods through Integrated Water Resources Management in Community Watershed in Medak’ at Bhanur village, Telangana, India, on 21 October.
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Use of sorghum in bakery and as bio-charcoal
Women farmers in Kano, Nigeria, are being trained on benefiting from technologies for enhancing the sorghum value chain. The training of trainers workshop primarily focused
on the use of sorghum in making bakery products like cakes, biscuits and bread; and producing biocharcoal.
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Building partnerships for science-led agriculture for development
ICRISAT reaffirmed its commitment to work with partners and build new relationships during the visit of a high-level team to Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, USA.
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Stakeholders contemplate ways to improve adoption and increase production of dryland cereals
Creating post-harvest value, developing innovative foods to tap the micronutrient-rich nature of the dryland cereal crops – barley, finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum, strengthening seed systems and input markets, and stronger policy interventions are some of the critical accelerators that will help in improving adoption of dryland cereals.
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Showcasing improved agronomic practices in Gambawa, Nigeria
ICRISAT organized a farmer’s field day recently in Gambawa village, Nigeria, a nomadic community area in Gumel to showcase better management practices to ensure soil health, improved postharvest technologies and high-yielding varieties of millet, sorghum, groundnut and cowpea which are showing good results in the region.
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IMOD has gained traction – now to take it to the next level
ICRISAT’s 2020 strategy was based on an Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) approach. Two years on, ICRISAT commissioned an external review to assess the success of this approach. With feedback from almost 200 stakeholders and over 30 organizations across national agricultural research systems, private sector and development agencies in Africa and Asia, the expert panel identified that IMOD was recognized among partners as a positive and valuable approach and so now is the time to elevate this framework to global implementation and adoption.
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ICRISAT commits new significant investments in Africa
The Governing Board of ICRISAT has decided to boost its research in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by investing US$ 5 million towards upgrading research infrastructure and building scientific skills in the African continent. This investment will be across SSA where ICRISAT has its offices in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia.
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Sustainable intensification of maize-legume-livestock systems
A team of scientists from ICRISAT, ICRAF, CIMMYT, IITA and national partners are working together for sustainable intensification of maize-legumelivestock farming systems in Tanzania, specifically in Kongwa and Kiteto Districts of Tanzania.
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Developing a robust, commercially sustainable Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) value chain in Kenya and Tanzania
In partnership with the Africa Harvest Biotechnology International Foundation (Africa Harvest), ICRISAT is working to develop a robust, commercially sustainable sorghum for multiple uses value chain in Kenya and Tanzania.
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Using new genomics tools for sorghum improvement
New genomics tools can address urgent needs for a more drought resilient food supply, increase rates of sorghum improvement to better meet long-term population growth, and
investigate production systems that promote sustainable farming, particularly regarding preservation and/or restoration of soil resources and water quality.
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Science-led approach for agricultural development in Telangana, India
ICRISAT will assist the Government of Telangana, India, to map the soil health of 4 million hectares of agricultural land in the state; issue soil health cards to farmers; and transform the state to be the country’s seed bowl.
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Going back to basics with a diversified and nutritious diet
Naturally highly nutritious and biofortified crops are essential to ensure the nutrition and food security of the people in the developing countries. Elevating nutritional security has been institutionalized in the ICRISAT Development plan. And now in the CGIAR, nutritional security has been elevated to the same level as food security, ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar said while interacting with the HarvestPlus team visiting ICRISAT-India.
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Biofuel initiatives should enhance, not compromise, food and nutritional security of the poor
Tackling the complexity of the food versus energy challenge, Dr Dar stressed that “the right to adequate food for all” should be a priority concern in biofuel development, but the two can be achieved simultaneously. Dr
Dar spoke at the annual Crawford Fund Food Security Conference held in Canberra, Australia, on 26-28 August.
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Sorghum and finger millet varieties showcased at county agri-fairs in Kenya
More and more farmers in Kenya are expressing interest in cultivating sorghum and finger millet varieties. The sorghum hybrid GADAM x IS 8193 was a big crowd-puller at the county agricultural shows organized by ICRISAT in collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and other stakeholders.
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ICRISAT-Kenya staff visit Kiboko Field Station
Staff of ICRISAT-Kenya, led by Dr Moses Siambi, Director, Eastern and Southern Africa, ICRISAT, visited the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
(KARI)-Kiboko Field Station as part of a team building exercise on 14-15 August.
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Strengthening capacity of technicians and breeders
ICRISAT-Kenya in collaboration with national partners organized a training course for technicians and breeders on emasculation techniques, breeding procedures in sorghums and millets, experimental designs, data collection and management.
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Nigeria to promote use of sorghum in poultry feed
Nigeria is exploring the use of sorghum in place of maize in poultry feed. This move will not only make poultry feed cheaper, but also overcome the problem of short supply of maize. The poultry industry in Nigeria needs about 3 million ton of maize as ingredient for feed, but the country produces only 2 million ton.
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Intensifying genome sequencing work for drought proofing crops in Karnataka, India
The Government of Karnataka, India, has requested ICRISAT to lead the coordination of the state government’s initiative on sequencing and molecular breeding of finger millet.
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Sorghum defying heat conditions in Indial
Sorghum is proving its resilience in withstanding extreme temperatures in summer. ICRISAT’s experiments during 2013-2014 identified some promising sorghum lines (B-lines, R-lines and varieties) which flowered normally and showed 100% seed set under temperatures exceeding 400C. The material identified will help ICRISAT develop varieties to help smallholder farmers fight climate change.

 

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Caux Dialogue on Land and Security 2014 - Science-led strategies vital for minimizing land degradation in drylands

The Caux Dialogue on Land and Security 2014 explored the human connections between poverty, conflict and environmental degradation, with the central theme “Mitigating Risk; Responding to Threat”. A range of stakeholders from grassroots activists to world leaders, big businesses to top scientists contemplated on new strategies for restoring dry and degraded land. ICRISAT was the only CGIAR center to have taken part in the dialogue.

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Exploring ways to reduce climatic change impact with a multi-modeling approach

At a recent workshop, participants demonstrated the use of integrated assessment of farming systems using a multi-modeling approach to combat the impact of climate change on crop-livestock farming systems in southern Africa. At the feedback meeting of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) held on 17 June at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, stakeholders also shared results on the projected impact of climate change and different adaptation strategies; and provided feedback on climate and gender sensitive technologies, institutions and policies.

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Seed Consortium strengthens postrainy sorghum seed value chain in Maharashtra, India

An innovative seed consortium developed by ICRISAT and its partners has started yielding results in strengthening the sorghum seed value chain.
For 2014 postrainy season around 300 tons of seed enough for 30,000 ha has been made available as a result of the seed production undertaken in 2013. It is proposed to cover 1,000 ha under seed production during 2014 postrainy season which is more than double the area under seed production in 2013. These results were shared at the First Annual Review and Workplan Meeting of the Seed Consortium held on 16 June at Pune, India.

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ICRISAT at the 4th Agricultural Science Week in Niger
ICRISAT took the opportunity to raise awareness on aflatoxin management at the 4th Agricultural Science Week organized by West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research for Development 
(CORAF/WECARD).
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More than 42,000 sorghum farmers achieve 39% higher grain yields
The interventions of a private-public partnership backed by science over the last five years, have helped sorghum farmers overcome the challenge of extreme climate variability.
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Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria pledges more support and collaborations with ICRISAT
To further strengthen partnerships with ICRISAT, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof Baba Yusuf Abubakar, along with his team visited ICRISAT-Nigeria office based in Kano on 10 June.
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Improving access to well-adapted and high-yielding sorghum and finger millet varieties in Tanzania
As part of the collaborative activities between ICRISAT and the Department of Research and Development (DRD) Tanzania, several on-farm activities were planned and executed in central Tanzania for the season 2013-2014.
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New ways of doing business identified
Representatives from six African countries, ICRISAT and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 3-5 June for an open dialogue and to share experiences and lessons learnt over the last four years of sorghum and millet research and development under the HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of sorghum and millets) Project.
Download: 426Kb

Understanding critical traits for sorghum improvement
To enable rapid throughput evaluations of critical traits for sorghum improvement, a Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIRS) was installed at the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) Biotechnology Laboratory in Mali. The NIRS was acquired by ICRISAT under the Dryland Cereals Research Program.
Download: 156Kb

Exploring avenues in Nigeria

To strengthen ICRISAT’s work in Nigeria and explore avenues to strengthen partnerships with government agencies and other research organizations, Dr Ramadjita Tabo, ICRISAT Director for West and Central Africa, visited Nigeria from 19-23 May.

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Finger millet and sorghum large-scale farming on the rise in Kenya – story of one farmer going big
Finger millet is on the rebound in Kenya, thanks to the ICRISAT-HOPE project. One recent success can be attributed to the entrepreneurial spirit of Mr Cliff Neylan, a farmer in Kenya who has taken up improved varieties to plant the largest acreage in the country outside of maize or wheat.
Download: 388Kb

High throughput sequencing and high performance computational facility at ICRISAT to boost genomics for breeding

New high-end facility key in advancing “The 3000 Chickpea Genome Sequencing Initiative”
The Illumina HiSeq 2500 – the world’s most powerful sequencer – promises full utilization of modern genomics tools in breeding and research programs at ICRISAT and in other partner institutes in developing countries of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

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African cereal scientists trained on Breeding Management System

With the aim to continue to assist Africa build their own breeding programs, a Breeding Management System training was conducted covering features of the software from the Integrated Breeding Platform, plant breeding data management, including pedigree information, nursery and trial data management, electronic data capture, and genotyping data and analysis.

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Strengthening sorghum and groundnut value chains in Nigeria

With a target to reach one million farmers in Nigeria this year, ICRISAT along with diverse partners and stakeholders will work towards supporting sorghum and groundnut value chains by enhancing capacity building activities, field demonstrations, on-station and on-farm trials, and strengthening breeder and foundation seed production.

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Sweet sorghum partnership helps improve livelihoods of farmers in China

Success in achieving higher sweet sorghum stalks has enabled increased incomes of farmers through sales to distilleries in the Inner Mongolia region of China, without compromising food and fodder security. This has been achieved through the technical support from ICRISAT which has been helping sweet sorghum smallholder farmers in the area through a partnership project with the Sorghum Research Institute (SRI) of the Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAS).

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Targeting sorghum and pearl millet variety development to poor soil conditions in West Africa

Through an integrated genetic and natural resource management approach, solutions to improve sorghum and pearl millet production in low phosphorus (P) soil conditions of West Africa were developed by ICRISAT and partners under a 
GIZ/BMZ-supported project.

Download: 601Kb

Closing yield gaps and improving water productivity workshop held in Ethiopia

An agronomically sound, transparent, reproducible, and publicly accessible yield gap atlas has been developed, initially for five cereal crops (maize, wheat, rice, millet, sorghum) in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, India and Bangladesh. More countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and Australia would join the list soon. The atlas, and all the data and protocols behind it are available at www.yieldgap.org. These are the results of the initial two-year phase (2012-2013) of the project Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas (GYGA).

Download: 245Kb

New varieties of groundnut and pearl millet released for the dry savanna regions of Nigeria

The National Variety Release Committee of Nigeria has approved the release of two new groundnut varieties and one of pearl millet developed by ICRISAT and its partners for commercial cultivation in Nigeria.  
Groundnut varieties SAMNUT 25 (ICGX-SM 00020/5/P10) and SAMNUT 26 (ICGX-SM 00018/5/P15/P2) were recommended and released, based on their good performance across the targeted production environments in Nigeria with regards to pod and haulm yields, resistance to the groundnut rosette disease, early crop maturity, high nutritional qualities, and wide acceptability by the local farmers.

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DG William Dar receives FABA award for transformational leadership in agriculture

In recognition of his relentless efforts to improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder farmers in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General, was conferred the prestigious Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA) Special Award 2014. Dr Dar was chosen by a team of global experts to receive this honor for his notable contributions to science and sustainable agriculture, and his transformational leadership at ICRISAT that turned the institute into a forward-looking global center of excellence. 

Download: 486Kb

Pearl millet variety Hashaki 1 released in Uzbekistan

An open-pollinated pearl millet variety Hashaki 1 was officially released by the State Varietal Commission of Agricultural Crops for cultivation in Uzbekistan. This marks the first ever official release of a pearl millet variety in the country. The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) has been working in collaboration with ICRISAT to introduce breeding materials and germplasm of sorghum and pearl millet for crop diversification under saline field conditions in Western Asia and Northern Africa (WANA), and Central Asia (CA) regions.

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External Review Panel on IMOD implementation at ICRISAT headquarters

The Center Commissioned External Review (CCER) panel on Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) implementation is now at the ICRISAT headquarters after completing their review in Eastern and Southern Africa and West and Central Africa. The panel comprising of Dr SS Acharya, India; Dr AA Fall, Senegal; and Ms Grace Ngungi (Kenya) will be here until 28 February. 

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Post-rainy sorghum improvement program showcased at field day

Post-rainy sorghum, once considered to be a subsistence crop in the semi-arid tropics of South Asia, is now yielding marketable surpluses of quality grain and fodder which are helping farmers realize higher prices for their products. The current market price of post-rainy sorghum is among the highest in food grains.

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ICRISAT adopts gender transformative approach in agricultural research

Empowering women smallholder farmers to overcome the unique hurdles they face in the semi-arid tropics, and thus securing the future of food production and the economic growth in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, was among the key messages at the ICRISAT Asia Regional Planning Meeting.
The meeting held on 10-12 February at the ICRISAT headquarters, acknowledged the significant contributions made by women smallholder farmers and the transformative role they play in dryland agriculture.

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United States Patent and Trademark Office explores partnership opportunities with ICRISAT

A five-member delegation headed by Dr Kitisri Sukhapinda, Patent Attorney, Office of Policy and External Affairs, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) visited the ICRISAT headquarters on 3 February.  Dr CLL Gowda, Deputy Director General for Research, briefed the delegation of the institute’s research activities. The delegation expressed interest in knowing more about ICRISAT’s Intellectual Property (IP) policy and the manner in which IPR is handled, particularly in collaborations involving private sector partners.

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Incoming Board Chair visits ICRISAT Ethiopia office

To explore opportunities for further strengthening ICRISAT’s programs and activities, incoming Board Chair Dr Chandra A Madramootoo visited the ICRISAT Ethiopia office on 3-4 February. He held extensive consultations with the ICRISAT staff based in the country office and partners from other CGIAR centers and national institutions.

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Mapping out a research agenda for a market-oriented and resilient agriculture in Africa

A sustainable and market-oriented agriculture is the way forward in making smallholder farming in Africa more profitable and resilient, and in feeding its growing population using the limited resources available now and in the future.
Enabling farmers to adapt to changing environment and new opportunities, and making markets work for them were some of the key concerns raised at ICRISAT’s regional planning meetings for West and Central Africa on 22-24 January in Bamako, Mali, and for Eastern and Southern Africa on 27-29 January in Nairobi, Kenya.

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ICRISAT Nigeria Country Representative honored with traditional title

The Ningi Local Government Area (LGA) of Bauchi State, Nigeria, honored Dr Hakeem A Ajeigbe, ICRISAT Country Representative to Nigeria, with the traditional title ‘Dukajin Ningi’ (fighter of poverty and hunger). The title was conferred to Dr Ajeigbe by the District Head of Ningi Alhaji Mohammed Kilishi Musa during a sorghum farmers’ field day on 21 November in Barki Ladi Village, Ningi LGA.

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Cooperative League of the USA visits ICRISAT Niamey

With an objective to explore possible collaborations, a team from the Cooperative League of the USA (CLUSA) visited ICRISAT Niamey, Niger, on 21 November. Dr Mahamadou Gandah, ICRISAT Country Representative briefed the visitors of ICRISAT Niamey’s human resources, research activities and facilities.

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aWhere data management tool launched

The “ICRISAT aWhere data management platform” was launched during the workshop on “Orientation to Data Management Platforms for Agricultural Research and Extension” on 5-6 December at the ICRISAT headquarters. The platform was designed and developed over the past two years to support the Tropical Legumes II and HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets) project data management activities.

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Moving sorghum genomics ahead

The annual meeting of the BREAD (Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development) projects was held at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on 31 October – 1 November in Seattle, Washington, USA. Three projects under BREAD were called for a ‘pre-meeting’ session on 30 October which saw the presence of Mr Bill Gates, Co-chair of the foundation.

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Collaboration for a biomass-based green economy

Realizing the importance of biomass-based green economy, ICRISAT and the Kansas State University (KSU) have initiated work on producing industrially valuable products like butanediol and lipids from sorghum biomass under the collaborative project: “Production of advanced biofuels from salinity tolerant brown midrib (bmr) sorghum genotypes”.

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Pioneering partnership for science communications to boost food security and improved livelihoods in the drylands

A dynamic and new partnership to better communicate agricultural scientific advancements and impacts promises to build the capacity of national organizations to use communication tools and approaches in helping achieve food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods in the dryland tropics. In a pioneering and unique initiative, communication and scientific specialists from nine countries and from different ICRISAT locations have come together in a week-long workshop held in Arusha, Tanzania, 25-28 November, to set up the communication partnership.

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ICRISAT opens Ethiopia country office - Creating a stronger partnership for sustainable agricultural development

“Our government has placed high priority on the development of the drylands and ICRISAT with its mandate to enhance agricultural productivity in the drylands is well placed to contribute to this initiative,” said Honorable Wondirad Mandefro, State Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia. He welcomed the decision by ICRISAT to open a country office in Ethiopia, highly appreciating past contributions by the Institute in enhancing the productivity of sorghum and chickpea crops and the profitability and sustainability of smallholder agricultural systems in the country.

Download: 717Kb

Enhancing groundnut and sorghum value chains in Nigeria

“Our association with ICRISAT has been a long one, and we expect it to grow stronger. We are putting in place structures to monitor joint projects and activities on groundnut and sorghum which are very important crops for household consumption and as cash crops in Nigeria and along the Guinea Savanna zone. Delivering appropriate varieties that farmers can grow can increase their incomes and get them out of the ridge of poverty,” said Prof Aboubacar, Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

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Sharing of results for tracking the successes and failures of crop improvement investments in South Asia
Partners of the Tracking Varietal Change for Future Assessment of the Impact of Crop Genetic Improvement Research in South Asia (TRIVSA), a two-year project supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, met in New Delhi on 26-27 August for the project’s final completion workshop.
Download: 214Kb

Dryland Cereals undertakes sorghum scoping study in Mozambique
A sorghum scoping study was recently conducted in Mozambique primarily to align the strategies of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals) with the country’s national R&D strategies, towards identifying entry points for collaboration.
Download: 280Kb

Training held on data collection in multilocation trials in energy sorghum and pearl millet
A training program to strengthen capacity in conducting multilocation trials, specifically on collection of data in biomass sorghum and pearl millet was held for partner organizations of the project on “Indo-US joint clean energy development center – Development of sustainable advanced lignocellulosic biofuel systems” at the ICRISAT headquarters on 16 August.
Download: 368Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE’s five-point program transforms lives of poor sorghum farmers in Maharashtra, India
The HOPE project’s five-point package of practices consisting of in-situ moisture conservation, use of improved cultivars, wide row spacing, use of fertilizers at sowing, and insect-pest management, has brought home to about 33,000 farmers the importance of a science-led approach in improving yields in the western Maharashtra region, known as the sorghum bowl of India.
Download: 254Kb

ICRISAT shares technology up-scaling approach to benefit smallholder farmers in the Philippines
With science-based innovations as the best bet in the fight against poverty and hunger, ICRISAT and the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) commit to a stronger partnership in up-scaling and commercializing cutting-edge innovations to improve the livelihoods of marginalized rainfed communities in the
Philippines.
Download: 397Kb

Pigeonpea a wonder crop for women farmers in Rajasthan, India
The lives of hundreds of smallholder farmers in the small village of Padasoli in Jaipur district, long affected by frequent droughts and marginal lands, are changing. Women farmers, in particular, are reaping the benefits from improved and sustainable pigeonpea production, with the promise of food and nutrition security and a better quality of life for their families.
Download: 916Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE project interventions boost milk production in Maharashtra, India
Fodder was the highlight of a recent survey of the ICRISAT-led HOPE project sites in the State, where livestock is an integral component of the food, nutrition and income security of smallholder farmers. Postrainy season sorghum stover is the main, and most of the time, the only source of animal feed in drought affected Marathwada and Western Maharashtra
regions of rural Maharashtra State in India.
Download: 619Kb

Seed Consortium promises sustainable seed system for postrainy sorghum in Maharashtra, India
July 23 was a significant day in the lives of smallholder farmers in Maharashtra. It marked the formation of a Seed Consortium that will develop a sustainable seed system for easy access and availability to farmers of improved sorghum seed for the postrainy season.
Download: 700Kb

ICRISAT to collaborate with Advanta Ltd
ICRISAT and Advanta Ltd, Hyderabad signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a three-year period that will include cross-visits for teaching; training and research for development; and the development of collaborative research work plans.
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Sustainable intensification of sorghum and legume system (SLI) project reviewed
The project on sustainable intensification of sorghum-legume based systems (SLI) in Eastern and Central Africa aims to enhance productivity and competitiveness by increasing the utilization of sustainable sorghum-legume system technologies and innovations by smallholder farmers. It is backstopped by the Staple Foods Program of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) in partnership with ICRISAT and national partners in Uganda, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania.
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Dr HC Sharma elected Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Dr Hari C Sharma, Principal Scientist – Entomology, was conferred the Fellowship of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) by its President Dr RB Singh at its Foundation Day and Annual General Body Meeting in New Delhi on 4 June.
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ICRISAT presents its take on biomass at European Biomass Conference in Copenhagen
ICRISAT had the opportunity to present its take on biomass at the 21st European Biomass Conference and exhibition held in Copenhagen, Denmark on 3-7 June. Representing ICRISAT was Dr P Srinivasa Rao, Senior Scientist, sorghum Breeding, Research Program – Dryland Cereals, who delivered a presentation on “Studies on GxE interaction in
tropical sweet sorghum under terminal moisture stress” authored by Sweetfuel project partners.
Download: 275Kb

Indo-US biofuel project review and planning meeting held
The Indo-US Sustainable Advanced Ligno-cellulosic Biofuel Project’s half-yearly review and planning meeting was held at Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu on 12-13 June, hosted by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).
Download: 282Kb

ICRISAT’s 4-point partnership plan for Andhra Pradesh elicits positive response
A new milestone was reached in the 40-year historic and fruitful ties between ICRISAT and Andhra Pradesh on 19 June. Invited to showcase ICRISAT’s contribution to the State and future opportunities, Director General Dr William Dar assured Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr N Kiran Kumar Reddy, ministers and legislators of ICRISAT’s wholehearted support to the state’s dryland farmers.
Download: 506Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE project interventions stymie drought impacts
Interventions under the ICRISAT-led HOPE project helped defy drought and protect the sorghum crop in the project cluster villages. Improved cultivars and crop and drought management practices provided under the project in the last four years have helped over 33,000 sorghum farmers get on an average 40% higher grain yields and 29% higher
fodder yields compared to the local cultivars and practices.
Download: 1726Kb

Bill Gates commends ICRISAT’s work on reducing hunger and poverty
Mr Bill Gates acknowledged the potential of ICRISAT’s works on grain legumes and dryland cereals in helping millions of smallholder farmers in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa lift themselves out of hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Mr Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited the ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, Hyderabad on Thursday, 30 May.
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Producers and extension agents trained on fertilizer microdosing mechanization in Mali
“When scientists at IER saw producers mixing fertilizer with seeds at sowing in order to save on labor, the institute along with partners, the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (NORAGRIC) and GCOZA, developed a special disk and a particularly innovative planter that simultaneously sows a mixture of seeds and fertilizer and allows for mechanization of the fertilizer microdosing technology used in Mali.”
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Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister visits ICRISAT to strengthen partnership on agricultural research for development
Elevating the partnership to better achieve impacts and further boost the State’s sustainable and inclusive agricultural growth, an official delegation from the Andhra Pradesh State Government led by Honorable Agriculture Minister Mr Kanna Lakshminarayana visited ICRISAT on 24 May.
Download: 742Kb

ICRISAT-Nigeria braces up for the 2013 cropping season
In preparation for the 2013 wet season and to implement new and on-going projects in Nigeria, ICRISAT Nigeria organized a series of meetings with partners in April and May to deliberate and finalize work plans identified in the Accra meeting, and to review the 2012 trials and planned 2013 trials.
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Director General visits Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly
An opportunity to showcase ICRISAT’s work and further explore ways to contribute to Andhra Pradesh’s agricultural productivity was presented when Director General William D. Dar visited the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on 18 May. This was a follow-up to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly members’ recent visit to ICRISAT.
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New prospects explored for sorghum and millets in West Africa
The first workshop of the CGIAR Research Program on DrylandCereals following its recent launch sought to capitalize on partnerships in planning innovations achievable within the next ten years for a major breakthrough in the production of dryland cereals. The meeting was held in Saly, Sénégal on 15-16 May.
Download: 584Kb

Director General calls on new Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh
In a recent courtesy visit, Dr William Dar conveyed ICRISAT’s felicitations to Dr Prasanna K Mohanty on his appointment as the new Chief Secretary of the State of Andhra Pradesh and to welcome him as ex-officio member of the ICRISAT Governing Board. During the visit, Dr Dar underscored the excellent relationship between the State and ICRISAT and
looked at opportunities to elevate the collaboration.
Download: 277Kb

Partner activities planned for Mali 2013 dryland cereal cropping season
Recognizing the crucial role of partnerships particularly in the context of the new ICRISAT-led CGIAR Research Program on DrylandsCereals, about 50 farmers and farmer association representatives, seed producers, agrodealers, NGOs and researchers gathered on 30 April – 2 May at ICRISAT’s Samanko research station to plan for 2013 research and development partner activities in Mali.
Download: 246Kb

ICAR and ICRISAT boost partnership for food and nutrition security in India
At the Joint ICAR-ICRISAT Projects Review and Planning Meeting held at the ICRISAT headquarters on 10 May, Dr Ayyappan acknowledged ICRISAT’s role in India’s programs and initiatives on watershed management, policy advocacy, and South-South collaboration with countries in sub-Saharan African. He requested ICRISAT scientists to get more involved in various national level committees and to further help in the capacity building of the NARS.
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ICRISAT-HOPE project reviews external evaluation report, maps out strategy for extension
The HOPE Project Management Team held its first meeting this year on 22-23 April in Naivasha, Kenya to review the results of the external project evaluation report, review progress towards developing country strategies for sorghum and millets, develop a proposal for a no-cost project extension following the end of phase I in June 2013, and develop a concept note for a 5-year phase II of the project.
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Progress being made on Global Yield Gap Atlas
Yield gap is the difference between actual farm yield and yield potential under growth conditions without limitations to crop growth from water, nutrients, or pests. This was the theme of the international workshop of the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas (GYGA) project held in Cotonou, Benin on 23-24 April. GYGA was initiated by the University of Nebraska and Wageningen University with regional coordination by ICRISAT and AfricaRice.
Download: 576Kb

New sweet sorghum crusher inaugurated at ICRISAT
A new three-roller efficient sweet sorghum crusher with above 50% juice extraction efficiency was recently installed at the steel yard by ICRISAT’s Sorghum Breeding program.
The crusher was formally launched by Dr Stefania Grando, Research Program Director - Dryland Cereals on 8 May.
Download: 235Kb

Experiences shared at ICRISAT-HOPE planning workshop in Nigeria
To share and exchange implementation experiences and lessons learnt, the HOPE project led by ICRISAT held a planning meeting on 25 April at ICRISAT Kano, Nigeria.
Download: 266Kb

Value chain analysis and how to apply the concepts and tool
A five-day training workshop on ValueLinks was held in Nairobi on 8–12 April to provide economists from ICRISAT and partner institutions in Eastern Africa with a shared understanding and a set of concepts for value chain analysis as well as examples of how to apply these concepts and tools.
Download: 144Kb

Need to strengthen India’s forage scenario highlighted at consultation meeting
“While the success of the Green Revolution in India is well known worldwide, that of the White Revolution has not been much told. There is a need to share the experiences and
learning from this sector and strengthen the forage/fodder scenario in the country to enhance livestock productivity,” said Dr Stefania Grando, Program Director - Dryland Cereals, speaking on behalf of Director General William Dar at the Forage Consultation Meeting held on 18 April at the ICRISAT headquarters.
Download: 1457Kb

Linking women groundnut seed producers to seed markets in Mali
ICRISAT and partners in Mali have, in the last 11 years, successfully built women community-based groundnut seed systems in Wakoro. Individual farmers and women’s
groups have been empowered and trained on seed production and small-scale business skills and marketing, and are now producing good quality certified groundnut seed.
Download: 1504Kb

Genomics of plant genetic resources for global food security
“With the rapid advancement of genomics research, gene sequences should be available hopefully in the next 3-4 years for all plant species of economic importance. But the most important challenge to the scientific community will be to utilize these gene sequences and genome sequence diversity for crop improvement for food security, as well as for conserving biodiversity,” emphasized Dr CLL Gowda, Program Director - Grain Legumes, in the inaugural address he delivered on behalf of Director General William D. Dar at the 3rd International Symposium on Genomics of Plant Genetic Resources (GPGR3).
Download: 1415Kb

ISRA and ICRISAT forge stronger strategic partnership
“Food security is on top of our government’s priority, and we are addressing this through initiatives to improve the production of millet, sorghum, maize and rainfed rice,” said Dr Macoumba Diouf, Director General of ISRA, during the visit of the ICRISAT Board members and management to its Bambey station near Dakar, Senegal on 6 April.
Download: 2751Kb

Senegal Prime Minister supports new partnerships to improve livelihoods of the poor
“Our agriculture must be able to feed our people, and at the same time provide solutions to the problem of unemployment in our country. Agricultural development and food security is a priority of our government, and we need your support on this more than ever,” said Prime Minister of Senegal, Mr Abdoul Mbaye.
Download: 810Kb

ISRA, CORAF/WECARD and ICRISAT strengthen ties for food security and poverty reduction in WCA
The power of partnership in advancing food security and poverty reduction was highlighted at the Partnership Day organized by ICRISAT, ISRA and CORAF/WECARD on 8 April in Dakar, Senegal.
Download: 2075Kb

ICRISAT participates in Bioenergy and Biorefinery Conference
Developing ecologically sustainable solutions and harnessing renewable sources of energy were the theme of the Bioenergy and Biorefinery Conference South East Asia – Biobased Fuels and Chemicals 2013 held in Singapore on 26-28 March. About 100 researchers from 15 countries participated in the conference organized by the Bio-Energy
Society of Singapore.
Download: 315Kb

Linking smallholder farmers to sweet sorghum ethanol distillery in China
Speaking at the inaugural program of the annual review and planning meeting of the ICRISAT-CFC-FAO project on “Enhanced Livelihood Opportunities of Smallholder Farmers of Asia: Linking Smallholder Sweet Sorghum Farmers with Bioethanol Industry”, Dr Dar emphasized that “sweet sorghum, as a viable bioethanol source, is in many ways better than
sugarcane and maize because of its shorter growing period, less water requirement, less cost of cultivation, and lower production cost of ethanol at the distillery.”
Download: 2543Kb

ICRISAT-Mali bids farewell to longtime partner
“Bino has been a key player in the partnership between ICRISAT, the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) and the Government of Mali in the last 20 years. He will continue to be our friend and our doors remain open for him,” said Dr Farid Waliyar, ICRISAT Director – West and Central Africa. IER Director General Dr Bino Teme was on 18 March honored
with a farewell lunch at the ICRISAT-Mali office.
Download: 240Kb

Oklahoma State University strengthens partnership with ICRISAT
A five-member delegation from the Oklahoma State University, led by its President, Dr Burns Hargis, visited the ICRISAT headquarters on 13 March. The primary objectives of
the visit were to: explore opportunities for agriculture students of the Oklahoma State University to conduct collaborative research at ICRISAT
Download: 158Kb

ICRISAT showcases agricultural technologies at Pusa Agriculture Science Fair
Over 2000 people, mainly farmers, researchers, school children, and media, visited the ICRISAT stall on the first day of the Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela 2013 (Agriculture Science Fair) held on 6-8 March at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) campus in New Delhi.
Download: 195Kb

Andhra Pradesh legislators visit ICRISAT, commit policy support for science-based agricultural development
Striving to create a more favorable and progressive policy environment for a science-based agricultural development, over 150 members of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly (MLAs), Members of Legislative Council (MLCs), and other State officials visited ICRISAT on 6 March.
Download: 566Kb

Sorghum scientists’ field selection program held
A Sorghum Scientists’ Field Selection Program was organized on 21 February at the ICRISAT headquarters to showcase the depth and variability in postrainy sorghum material bred for various traits and nuances under the sorghum improvement program.
Download: 224Kb

Postrainy sorghum project dissemination workshop held
The Research Program on Dryland Cereals conducted a dissemination workshop on “Improving postrainy sorghum varieties to meet the growing grain and fodder demand in India,” an ACIAR-funded project, on 19-21 February 2013.
Download: 99Kb

Knowledge management platform for oilseed crops in the offing
ICRISAT and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur will jointly develop a dedicated knowledge management platform for oilseed crops under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) on Agropedia with five oilseed crop institutes as voluntary partners. This was decided at a two-day workshop on Development of Digital Knowledge
Repositories organized by the Knowledge Sharing and Innovation (KSI) at ICRISAT-Patancheru on 24-25 January.
Download: 171Kb

Fodder resources management for genetic enhancement
With the rising scarcity of fodder (both straw/stover) and the need for alternative fodder resources to meet the demand of growing livestock enterprises, ICRISAT, in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has been conducting exploratory research on genetic variability of fodder (dry and green) yield and quality in sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut and pigeonpea to assess the prospects of genetic enhancement for these traits.
Download: 197Kb

Farmers’ field day on sorghum-legumes technology held in Makueni District, Kenya
Charles Wambua was among the 184 farmers (92 of whom were women) from Kikumini, Munde, Wote, Makongo, Kathonzweni, Mwambani, Unoa, Kyamusoi, Mang’auni locations of Makueni District who attended the District Farmers’ Field Day held on John Muia Musya’s farm on 31 January to promote improved climate change-ready sorghum legumes
technologies to improve food and income security.
Download: 236Kb

Global research programs on grain legumes and dryland cereals launched
With food insecurity and malnutrition persisting as possibly the greatest challenges facing humanity in the coming decades, two grand research programs to boost food and nutrition and improve livelihoods particularly of the dryland poor were launched at the ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru on 6 February by the world’s largest international agriculture research coalition.
Download: 1139Kb

Optimizing genetic gains for West African sorghum and millet breeders
A West African regional training workshop on “Optimizing genetic gains for sorghum and millet breeding programs” was conducted for 8 national breeding programs and 4 regional universities representing Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, and Senegal on 14-18 January in Saly, Senegal. Conducted under the HOPE Project, its main objective was to strengthen the capacity of national breeding programs to design breeding strategies that maximize genetic gains for priority traits, especially grain yield.
Download: 185Kb

ICRISAT ventures into recycling waste water for agricultural use
Following successes with rainwater harvesting and management, ICRISAT’s watershed team is making inroads into recycling industrial and domestic waste water for agricultural use to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor in the semi-arid tropics.
Download: 353Kb

Celebrating ICRISAT’s role in addressing food security in rural Zimbabwe
“I am proud that ICRISAT is doing great things in my province. It has spearheaded the improvement of sorghum and millet growing through the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has greatly contributed in alleviating hunger not only in Matabeleland South, but also in Matabeleland North and Masvingo,” said Governor and Resident
Minister Cde Angeline Masuku of Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe. The Governor delivered a keynote address as Guest of Honor at ICRISAT-Bulawayo’s belated celebration of the Institute’s 40th founding anniversary held at the Matopos Research Station last December 2012.
Download: 356Kb

Olympic medalist commends ICRISAT’s crop germplasm conservation initiatives
“ICRISAT’s plant genetic conservation initiatives illustrate the value and use of biodiversity in the fight against hunger and poverty, and its impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics.” This view was shared by India’s ace badminton player and Olympic bronze medalist Ms Saina Nehwal during her visit to ICRISAT-Patancheru on 30 December 2012. She described the experience of touring the campus, particularly her visit to the Institute’s RS Paroda Genebank, as delightful and an
eye-opener.
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Brainstorming on life cycle assessment of sweet sorghum energy pathway held
Shiva Prasad Sajjan of Farhatabad, Gulbarga district, Karnataka, India was all smiles as he showed off his fields to nearly 120 farmers from nearby villages on 7 December. The event was a farmers’ field day organized as part of the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) and ICRISAT project and the Bhoochetana project.
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Enhancing sorghum R&D strategy for India
Sorghum is a major dryland crop of resource-poor farmers in India. For the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets (HOPE) project led by ICRISAT with a wide array of partners, one major challenge is to develop a strategy for India to address the decline in sorghum production by stimulating research, enhancing technology utilization, linking farmers with markets, and strengthening the capacity of national and civil partners.
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Japan and ICRISAT fortify ties through Biological Nitrification Inhibition project
The Biological Nitrification Inhibition (BNI) in sorghum collaborative project between the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and ICRISAT held its Annual Review and Planning Meeting at ICRISATPatancheru on 12 December.
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Maharashtra farmers learn about value addition and processing of postrainy-season sorghum
To sensitize farmers on value addition and development of value-added products from sorghum grain and fodder, ICRISAT and the Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR) hosted 20 farmer couples from Parbhani, Beed and Jalna (Marathwada region) and Solapur, Ahmednagar and Pune (Rahuri region), Maharashtra on 10 December. The activity was part of the HOPE project.
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Project strategies for sorghum and pearl millet in Nigeria sketched out
Sorghum and pearl millet are important crops that can increase incomes and enhance livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Nigeria. Promoting the right varieties and production technologies in addition to creating linkages between producers and processors is crucial for this.
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Partnerships enhance productivity and profitability of sorghum in Kenya and Tanzania
That partnership is vital to success was proven once again when the Project Management Committee (PMC) of the Sorghum for Multiple Uses Project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) met on 5 December in Nairobi, Kenya to review the project’s progress.
Download: 1218Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE Project holds country strategies workshop for sorghum and millets
To share and exchange implementation experiences, lessons learnt, success stories and existing challenges, the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of Sorghum and Millets Project held a country strategy workshop for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) in Arusha, Tanzania on 22-23 November.
Download: 1444Kb

Benefits of sorghum biofortification showcased at Wageningen
The application of new technologies is crucial in improving global food and nutritional security and in providing a growing population with enough food, feed and fuel. This was the highlight of the conference on Next Generation Plant Breeding held on 11-14 November at Ede-Wageningen, the Netherlands, commemorating 100 years of plant breeding research at Wageningen UR.
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Niger official keen on ICRISAT’s high-yielding millet varieties
To further strengthen ties and explore opportunities for collaborative research, the President of Niger’s National Assembly, Mr Hama Amadou, recently met with ICRISAT’s Country Representative, Mahamadou Gandah along with millet breeder CT Hash and socio-economist Jupiter Ndjeunga.
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Energy sorghum and pearl millet training program on multilocational trials conducted
A training-cum-field exposure program was conducted by ICRISAT scientists to strengthen the capacity to conduct multilocational trials of biomass sorghum and pearl millet besides seed production practices of partners under the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Development Centre (JCERDC) – “Development of sustainable advanced lignocellulosic biofuel systems” project at Patancheru on 9 November 2012. Fourteen participants from seven public sector organizations and a private company attended. The project was launched on 8 November at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, where the technical program for year 1 was finalized.
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In-country training on rainfed agriculture held at Cagayan Valley, Philippines
The last of the series of the Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Research & Development and Extension Program (PhiRARDEP) in-country training was held at the Cagayan Valley Lowland Marine Research Outreach Station (CVLMROS), Iguig, Cagayan Valley for Region 2 on 11-16 November. The training was sponsored by ICRISAT, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA-RFO), and Cagayan State University (CSU).
Download: 1227Kb

ICRISAT organizes sorghum farmers’ field day in Mali to promote farmer-to-farmer learning
It was a good learning experience on the selection and production of sorghum hybrids. As a producer, I intend to build on the knowledge acquired back in my home country,” says Dombue Laurent, a producer from Burkina Faso.
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Producers, farmers’ organizations visit ICRISAT Mali
About 30 visitors (composed of producers/farmers’ organizations and NGOs) visited ICRISAT Mali on 31 October. Participants were taken for a tour around the sorghum and groundnut plots by Eva Weltzien and Fred Rattunde (sorghum breeders) and ICRISAT research technicians working for both crops. During the discussions, farmers showed keen interest in ICRISAT’s research in combating foliar diseases, groundnut rosette, aflatoxin contamination and drought, which are major constraints to groundnut production.
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Strengthening ties towards sustainable agricultural development
Sustainable agricultural development is now on top of the Nigerian government’s agenda as key to national food security and improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Towards this, a top-level 8-member delegation visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 7-9 November to further strengthen R4D partnerships between Nigeria and the Institute and thereby contribute to transforming the country’s agriculture into a sustainable, progressive and market-oriented sector.
Download: 1586Kb

Farmers’ field day held at ICRISAT Kano
A farmers’ field day was organized by ICRISAT Kano, Nigeria on 4 October at the research plots located within the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) Farm at Wase Minjibir, Kano. The field day, which was part of ICRISAT’s 40th anniversary celebration in Nigeria, showcased groundnut and sorghum breeding and management trials, some of which are being demonstrated in selected states of the country, to over 200 farmers, policy makers, scientists, extension agents and general public.
Download: 1157Kb

Mobile workshop on hybrid sorghum seed production held in Mali
A three-day mobile workshop was conducted in Mali on 6-8 October to provide field-based experience and enable exchanges between a wide range of participants interested in hybrid sorghum seed production and marketing.
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ICRISAT germplasm for Svalbard Global Seed Vault
As part of the agreement between ICRISAT and the Nordic Genetic Resources Center (NGRC - formerly Nordic Gene Bank), Norway, the ICRISAT Genebank has deposited seed samples of 86,600 in-trust germplasm collections into the Svalbard lobal Seed Vault, Norway during the years 2008- 011.
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CGIAR Fund Council approves CRPs on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals
Strategic global agricultural research partnerships are indispensable in addressing the contemporary challenges of hunger, poverty and climate change. This is the rationale behind the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) – an approach that advances the CGIAR’s vision to reduce poverty and hunger, improve human health and nutrition, and enhance ecosystem resilience.
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ICRISAT and INRAN hold field day in Niger
To increase awareness on the applicability and adaptability of agricultural technology packages, the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN) and ICRISAT jointly set up a demonstration plot in the village of Toulwaré (30 km from Niamey) in an estimated 4.5 ha of land. On 5-6 October, the demonstration trials were opened to farmers and other visitors.
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ICRISAT-HOPE Gender Specialist visits Kano center
As part of the monitoring activities under the ICRISAT-HOPE project, Gender Specialist Chanda Goodrich visited ICRISAT-Kano on 5-8 October. A roundtable discussion was organized between Dr Goodrich and ICRISAT-HOPE and TL II partners from the National Research Institutes (IAR, Zaria and LCRI, Maiduguri); the State Agricultural Development Projects of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States; and a local NGO, the Green Sahel Agricultural and Rural Development Initiatives (GSARDI). Discussions centered on gender mainstreaming in project implementation, importance of gender disaggregation in reporting and cultural and gender sensitivities, among others.
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Review and planning workshop for ICRISAT-HOPE project held in Arusha
ICRISAT in partnership with Tanzania’s Department of Research and Development (DRD) held a review and planning workshop for the HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement) project on 2-3 October in Arusha, Tanzania. The meeting was attended by 25 extension staff and 12 farmers from the five project mandate districts of Kondoa, Singida, Iramba, Kishapu and Rombo. Also in the meeting were participants from the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI); Agricultural Research Institutes (ARI) in Hombolo, Ilonga and Uyole; Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA); and ICRISAT.
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ICRISAT highlights agri-biodiversity for food security and improved livelihoods
With the threat of climate change now visible and extreme weather events projected to worsen in the future, the world’s genetic wealth in biological diversity could be the key to ecological and economic stability and in building climateresilient agriculture for global food security.
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Anniversary rites in West and Central Africa
In his address as Chief Guest at the opening ceremony, Malian Minister of Agriculture, Dr Yaranga Coulibaly said that “while contributing to the region’s food security, Mali’s partnership with ICRISAT also provides farmers with opportunities to access agricultural markets, and improves producers’ incomes towards sustainable livelihoods.”
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Sorghum scientists’ field day conducted at Patancheru
Rains did not bless Patancheru this year, recording 13% less rainfall during the 2012 crop season compared to the normal season, but sorghum withstood this deficit with all its resilience and adaptability, lifting the spirits of sorghum scientists. A field day was organized on 3-4 October at Patancheru to showcase the depth and variability in the sorghum material bred for various traits and nuances in different disciplines of sorghum improvement program. A total of 25 public sector and 7 private sector scientists participated in the program.
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Millet breeders visit ICRISAT Kano
As part of the ICRISAT-HOPE project monitoring activities, ICRISAT millet breeders Drs C Tom Hash (ICRISAT Niamey) and Ignatius Angarawai (Nigeria National Millet Breeder, LCRI Maiduguri) visited ICRISAT Kano and on-farm millet and sorghum ISSFM trials in Kano and Jigawa States of Nigeria from 28-29 September 2012.
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ICRISAT-DBT sorghum biofortification project launched
In line with ICRISAT’s mission goal of reducing malnutrition in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the ICRISATDepartment of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India Project on “Biofortifying sorghum with high grain iron and zinc concentration for combating micronutrient malnutrition”, was launched on 18 September at ICRISAT-Patancheru.
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ICRISAT-HOPE holds farmers’ field days in Kenya
At the KARI Alupe station, ICRISAT-HOPE along with partners in Kenya organized a national field day on 21 July, attended by 231 participants composed of researchers from ICRISAT-Nairobi, NARO-Uganda, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Egerton University; officials of the Ministry of Agriculture; processors; agro-dealers; NGO officials; and farmer representatives from all HOPE project areas in Kenya.
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ICRISAT to support sorghum transformation value chain in Nigeria
The Team Leader of the Sorghum Transformation Value Chain (STVC) of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Prof Babatunde Obilana, along with Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, ICRISAT Nigeria country representative, visited ICRISAT-Bamako on 2-6 July for a brainstorming on a Nigeria-ICRISAT collaborative project on sorghum. The said visit was a result of the discussion between Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina and Director General William Dar during the latter’s recent visit to Nigeria, to pursue collaborative projects on sorghum particularly in the areas of breeding, seed system development, and mobilization of improved technologies.
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ICRISAT-IFAD Sorghum Multipurpose Use project holds inception meeting in Tanzania
ICRISAT in partnership with Africa Harvest (AH) and the NARS initiated the IFAD-funded Sorghum Multipurpose Use= (SMU) project to improve access to well-adapted and higher yielding sorghum varieties and agronomic practices for enhanced household food security and incomes in Kenya and Tanzania.
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First marker-assisted bred sorghum varieties released for cultivation by farmers in sub-Saharan Africa
This past week, the National Crop Variety Release Committee in Sudan approved the release of four Striga-resistant varieties in the genetic backgrounds of popular, but Strigasusceptible, improved sorghum varieties “Tabat”, “Wad Ahmed” and “AG8”. These four experimental varieties released are “ASARECA.T1” (T1BC3S4); “ASARECA.W2 Striga” W2BC3S4; “ASARECA.AG3” AG2BC3S4; and “ASARECA.AG4” (AG6BC3S4).
Download: 1288Kb

ICRISAT and Nigeria strengthen ties towards sustainable agricultural development
Addressing critical agricultural development challenges through partnership was the focus of Director General William Dar’s recent courtesy meeting with Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Abuja, Nigeria on 20 June.
Download: 1077Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE helps defy drought and sustain sorghum yields
Interventions of the ICRISAT-HOPE Dryland Cereals project are defying drought and sustaining sorghum crop yield in Maharashtra state of India. Both the Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions of the state, known as the sorghum bowl of India, reeled under extreme drought in the 2011-12 post rainy season. However, the use of improved cultivars, crop and drought management practices, and input and output market linkages under the HOPE project in the last three years helped more than 25,000 sorghum farmers get an average 40% higher grain yields and 20% higher fodder yields compared to the use of local varieties.
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Training on hybrid sorghum seed production in Mali
Hybrid sorghum seed production is increasingly attracting the interest of farmers in Mali, with its “double opportunity” of both producing hybrid seed for sale from the female-parent, as well as grain for food from the male-parent. The interest is now so high that the farmer seed producers’ cooperative COOPROSEM had to limit accepting new members this year
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ICRISAT hosts ‘Global Yield Gap Atlas’ workshop
ICRISAT hosted the international kick-off workshop of the “Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas” project, which took place in Naivasha, Kenya on 6-8 June. The project was initiated by the University of Nebraska and Wageningen University, in partnership with ICRISAT, Africa Rice and IRRI.
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TL II and ICRISAT-HOPE extension agents undergo pre-season training
A workshop was organized on 24 May to train extension agents of the TL II and ICRISAT-HOPE projects in the dissemination and on-farm research activities to be implemented by ICRISAT-Kano during the 2012 wet season, at Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology (FCAPT), Kano, Nigeria.
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ICRISAT celebrates four decades of partnership with WCA
ICRISAT celebrated 40 years of research partnership with the scientific community of West and Central Africa (WCA) at the 3rd Agricultural Science Week and 10th General Assembly of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) held in Ndjamena, Chad from 14-19 May. It was an occasion to reiterate the Institute’s commitment to empowering smallholders in the region.
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ICRISAT-HOPE and ASARECA pearl millet project meetings held in Asmara
Over 50% of the land under cereal grains in Eritrea is sown to sorghum, the most important cereal food staple in the country. However, drought, Striga, lack of quality seed and low soil fertility have seen sorghum’s productivity decline sharply. The ICRISAT-HOPE project with the help of National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Eritea, its national and local partners, has implemented activities to increase sorghum productivity and household incomes.
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ICRISAT-Kano supports women processor group
Gambawa village in Jigwara State of Nigeria, which had never known extension agents or agricultural development projects until 2011, may soon see a transformation. Providing an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) in agricultural research, ICRISAT-Kano, through objective 5 of the ICRISAT HOPE project, is supporting groups involved in sorghum and millet value chains by providing them training, connecting them to producers and providing processing machines.
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Farmers and extensionists trained on Farmer Field School (FFS) approach to Striga management
Twenty-four field agents from extension services, NGOs (Aga Khan Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, World vision, CARITAS and Save the children), farmer organizations (UACT, ULPC, UMSPCD), local radios (Jamana and Moutian) and Institute d’Economie Rurale (IER) and six farmers gathered at Koutiala in Mali from 15-18 May to undergo training in the use of cluster-based farmer field schools (CBFFS) for integrated Striga and soil fertility management (ISSFM) and a range of tools for large-scale dissemination of technologies related to sorghum and millet production.
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Workshop on sorghum use in school feeding programmes held in Kano
ICRISAT participated in a Training of Trainers’ (ToT) workshop organized by Nigeria Sorghum Transformation Value Chains (STVC) from 14-16 May, at the Kano Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA) in Kano, Nigeria. STVC is a focal group of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria. The objective of the workshop was to promote sorghum use in school feeding programmes, focusing on increased production and improved processing for improved nutrition.
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Sweet sorghum value chain project meeting held at Patancheru
The fourth annual review and project culmination meeting of the ICRISATNAIP- ICAR Sweet sorghum ethanol value chain development project was held at Patancheru on 15 May, to review the progress made in the last four years (December 2007 to May 2012), evaluate the lessons learned and explore ways to take the value chain forward.
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Sorghum and legume-based systems project meetings held in Khartoum
The Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC) of Sudan in collaboration with the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), organized a Performance Monitoring and Planning (PMP) and country inception meetings on the project “Sustainable intensification of sorghum-legume-based systems for food security and feed to improve livelihoods and adaptation to climate change in semi-arid areas of East and Central Africa (ECA)” from 24-30 April in Khartoum, Sudan.
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ACIAR end of project review meeting held
A team comprising Drs Richard Heath and MS Sheshshayee, led by ACIAR Acting Research Program Manager Dr Richard Brettell of the Crop Improvement and Management Division, are at ICRISAT to review the project on “Improving postrainy sorghum varieties to meet the growing grain and fodder demand in India”, led by Project Investigator Dr Vincent Vadez.
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ICRISAT-HOPE project annual planning meeting held in Ethiopia
The annual ICRISAT-HOPE project review and planning meeting for Ethiopia was held on 27 and 28 April, at the Melkassa Agricultural Research Center in Nazareth. Led by national coordinator Alemu Trifessa, the meeting was attended by key project implementers from the districts of Guungua, Kobo, Bahirdar, Melkassa, Bako, Diga, Mieso, Shala and Gisangu. ICRISAT was represented by Eric Manyasa.
Download: 750Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE gender and monitoring survey review meetings held in Maharashtra
Two meetings of the ICRISAT-HOPE project were held in Maharashtra on 3-5 May to review gender and monitoring survey in the project clusters – Jalalpur village under the Marathwada Agricultural University (MAU), Parbhani, and Hattur village in Solapur under Mahatma Phule Krishi Viswavidyalaya (MPKV), Rahuri.
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ICRISAT-HOPE trains farmers on sorghum and finger millet productivity and marketing
ICRISAT-HOPE project activities have been implemented along with partners in five districts of Tanzania – Rombo, Kondoa, Singinda, Iramba and Kishapu – with the aim of enhancing household incomes by improving productivity and marketing of sorghum and finger millet.
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ICRISAT and BGI team up on molecular breeding of dryland crops
BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, and ICRISAT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 24 April in Shenzhen, China for a long-term collaboration on applied genomics research for molecular breeding.
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Symposium solidifies initiatives to revitalize rainfed agriculture
Revitalizing rainfed agriculture to achieve national food security and improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers is the core of the strategic partnership between ICRISAT and the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).
Download: 790Kb

Philippine in-country training course on rainfed agriculture for the Visayas
ICRISAT in partnership with the DA-BAR and the Bohol Island State University (BISU) held the second of a series of in-country training courses on rainfed agriculture under PhiRARDEP. The training held on 2-13 April aimed to capacitate agricultural R4D partners in the Visayas islands.
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New HPRC Advisory Committee meets at Patancheru
The newly-formed Advisory Committee of the ICRISAT-Private Sector Hybrid Parents Research Consortia (HPRC) (Phase 3: 2009-2013) held its 4th meeting at ICRISAT-Patancheru on 28 March. Private sector representatives Dr Suresh K Gupta (JK Agri-Genetics), Dr RS Mahala (Pioneer Overseas Corporation) and Dr AR Sadananda (Vibha Agritech) participated along with Drs CLL Gowda and O Riera-Lizarazu, and observers Drs Belum Reddy, KB Saxena and SK Gupta from ICRISAT.
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TRIVSA workshop held at Bhubaneswar
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)- funded project on “Tracking Varietal Change for Future Assessment of the Impact of Crop Genetic Improvement Research in South Asia (TRIVSA)” conducted its Annual Review Workshop on 23-24 March at Kalinga Institute of Information Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
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ICRISAT leads CGIAR Centers in Bhoochetana mission
The Bhoochetana program is based on learnings from the on-farm Adarsha Watershed in Kothapally which has been scaled-up in Karnataka. The initial phase was carried out through the Sujala-ICRISAT Watershed that started with 13 watersheds in 2005 in six districts of the state. This science-based productivity enhancement initiative is now the flagship project of the Government of Karnataka (GoK), benefiting three million smallholder farmers in rainfed areas over the last three years. In 2011 alone, it covered 3 million hectares in 30 districts.
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Scientific visit of academic and agricultural leaders to boost rainfed agriculture
Under the new initiative called Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Research, Development and Extension Program (PHIRARDEP), a top-level delegation composed of ten State University and College (SUC) presidents and regional agricultural government officials visited ICRISAT on 12-16 March primarily to explore and map out joint agriculture research, development and extension (RD&E) initiatives to revitalize rainfed agriculture in the Philippines.
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Abiotic stress project holds annual meeting in Niamey
Fifteen participants from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Germany and Kenya joined ICRISAT staff from Patancheru, Sadoré and Samanko for a 4-day meeting at the ICRISAT Training & Visit Center in Niamey, Niger to plan activities for the 3rd and final year of the GIZ-supported project “Tackling abiotic production constraints in pearl millet and sorghum”. The project targets the development of improved varietal and management options to alleviate the strong negative interaction between drought stress and P-deficiency stress in pearl millet and sorghum for the Sahelian zone of WCA.
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Sorghum production set to perk up in Rombo District, Tanzania
It all began when Mr Michael Shirima, owner of Precision Air (a regional airline company in Tanzania), on hearing about the improved Macia sorghum being promoted by the ICRISAT-HOPE project, bought 30 kg of seed from Suba-Agro, a private seed company in Tanzania. He planted it on 8 acres of his land in October-November 2011. Next to the sorghum crop, he also seeded a field of maize. At harvest time, the sorghum crop was successful but the maize crop failed.
Download: 601Kb

ICRISAT and Africa Harvest team up in “Sorghum for Multiple Uses” project
ICRISAT, Africa Harvest and partners in Kenya and Tanzania have joined hands to improve the livelihoods of resource-poor, smallholder farming households in rural areas in both countries by developing sorghum varieties and its value chain for multiple uses. This will be carried out through a project titled “Development of a robust commercially sustainable sorghum for multiple uses (SMU) value chain in Kenya and Tanzania” to be funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Download: 848Kb

Global Futures Project meeting held in Kenya
A multi-disciplinary team of scientists including breeders, physiologists, modelers and economists from eight CGIAR centers (CIAT, CIMMYT, CIP, ICARDA, ICRISAT, ICRAF, ILRI and IRRI) participated in a meeting organized by the Global Futures Project (GFP) at Mount Kenya, Nanyuki, Kenya on 23-26 January. ICRISAT was represented in the GFP team by Bonny Ntare, Jupiter Ndjeunga, Pierre Sibiry Traore and Madina Diancoumba (WCA); Mary Mgonja, Ganga Rao, Alastair Orr, Kai Mausch and Lieven Claessens (ESA); and Cynthia Bantilan, Peter Craufurd, Parthasarathy Rao, Piara Singh, S Nedumaran, Ashok Kumar, Deevi Kumaracharyulu and B Shraavya (Asia).
Download: 649Kb

CFC-FAO-ICRISAT farmers’ training on sweet sorghum held
Under the CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on “Enhanced Livelihood Opportunities of Smallholders in Asia: Linking Smallholder Sweet Sorghum Farmers with the Bioethanol Industry “(CFC/FIGG/41), a total of 24 farmers (12 men and12 women) and one research assistant from the Parbhani project cluster villages participated in a training program on improved production technology and small-farm machinery use on 13-15 February. The program was coordinated by ICRISAT’s Ch Ravinder Reddy.
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ICRISAT-HOPE project facilitates sorghum trade on behalf of farmers in Tanzania
Highlighting the power of markets to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, ICRISATHOPE project partners in Tanzania negotiated a forward contract agreement for the purchase and supply of 200 tons of sorghum grain between the Kwamtoro Farmers’ Sacco and the Dunia Trust Ltd, a commodity trading company. Spearheaded by Tanzania’s Department of Research and Development (DRD), District Agricultural and Livestock Development Office (DALDO) and ICRISAT, the meeting was held in Kwamtoro in Kondoa District on 27 January.
Download: 483Kb

Sorghum scientists’ field day held at ICRISAT-Patancheru
A sorghum scientists’ field day was organized at ICRISAT-Patancheru on 19 January to showcase improved postrainy season sorghum materials to NARS and private sector partners in India. Developing improved materials for postrainy season adaptation, seed production and marketing as the major theme, the field day involved private sector seed companies, both members and non-members of the Sorghum Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC). Eighteen (18) participants including 11 scientists from the NARS and the private sector participated in the event.
Download: 551Kb

ICRISAT promotes sweet sorghum as feedstock for bioethanol at Philippine bioenergy meet
The first Philippine International Bioenergy Conference (PIBEC) promised to boost investment opportunities in the field of bioenergy in the country as it convened various bioenergy players both locally and globally on January 12-13 at the Manila Hotel, Philippines. Invited experts on bioenergy resources, and representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs), private sector and the academe discussed the latest technological advances in bioenergy as well as the current challenges and opportunities in the industry.
Download: 850Kb

Leveraging S&T for improved quality, safety and nutritional value of grain-based foods
Organized by the Austria-based International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC) in partnership with ICRISAT, the conference with the theme “Developments in grain science and technology to ensure high quality, safe and healthy grain-based foods” was attended by 115 delegates from 20 countries across the globe.
Download: 703Kb

ICRISAT-HOPE PMT reviews sorghum activities in Maharashtra
It has been a fruitful year for 25,000 sorghum farmers in the Western and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra State in India, thanks to interventions from the ICRISAT-HOPE project that have helped them realize more than 40% higher grain yield and over 20% higher fodder yield.
Download: 627Kb

Sweet sorghum utilization in the Philippines
Sweet sorghum was introduced in the Philippines by ICRISAT in 2004 through the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), intended as a multi-purpose crop to be used for food, feed, forage and fuel.

Vigorous partnership on improving pulse production between ICRISAT and India
The 64th Governing Board meeting set forth more avenues of opportunities to further strengthen the already-strong ICRISAT and India partnership.
Download: 519Kb

HOPE Project Management Team meets in Naivasha, Kenya
The Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) Project Management Team held a two-day meeting in Naivasha, Kenya, on 1-2 March, followed by a field day at the KARI-Kiboko Field Research Station on 3 March. The meeting sought to review year 1 project activities, determine how unmet objectives can be realized in year 2, and ensure that the project as a whole is on track.
Download: 536Kb

Promoting Livelihoods along the Sweet Sorghum Value Chain
The need for alternative markets and product development was stressed during the third annual review meeting of the ICRISAT-ICARNAIP sweet sorghum ethanol value chain development project, held at ICRISATPatancheru on 11-12 March. Attended by consortium partners from national and international organizations/ universities, farmer representatives from project villages and Aakruthi Agricultural Associates of India (AAAI), and ICRISAT scientists, the meeting involved reviewing the progress of work in 2010 and devising work plans for 2011-2012.
Download: 292Kb

ICRISAT and ANGRAU hold sweet sorghum awareness camp
ICRISAT in association with the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) organized an awareness camp for over 50 farmers at the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS), Nandyal on 13 February.
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ICRISAT and DSR hold course on improving sorghum hybrids
“Capacity building is a pathway to greater crop productivity”, said Director General Dar as he inaugurated the training course on Sorghum Hybrid Parents and Hybrids Development and Production on 7 February. The course is currently underway at Patancheru, and will conclude today, 11 February.
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Climate-change ready crops for the Philippines
Director General William Dar presented samples of climate change-ready crops Asha peanut, pigeonpea and sweet sorghum to Philippine Agriculture Secretary Proceso J Alcala during a courtesy call held at the Department of Agriculture office in Quezon City on 11 January.
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Ghana Ambassador to Mali visits ICRISAT-Bamako
His Excellency Donald Adabere Adabre, Ambassador of Ghana in Mali accompanied by his deputy Mr Daniel O Blessyn, visited ICRISAT-Bamako on 12 January.
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Climate-change ready crops for the Philippines

Director General William Dar presented samples of climate change-ready crops Asha peanut, pigeonpea and sweet sorghum to Philippine Agriculture Secretary Proceso J Alcala during a courtesy call held at the Department of Agriculture office in Quezon City on 11 January.

Download: 181Kb

Ghana Ambassador to Mali visits ICRISAT-Bamako

His Excellency Donald Adabere Adabre, Ambassador of Ghana in Mali accompanied by his deputy Mr Daniel O Blessyn, visited ICRISAT-Bamako on 12 January. The purpose of the visit was to havemore insights into the use of sorghum as a biofuel crop and the opportunities for introducing sweet sorghum in Ghana. 

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Huge potential of sweet sorghum
The diverse possibilities of sweet sorghum were recently discovered by participants of the sweet sorghum workshop, conducted by ICRISAT and IER (Institute d’Economie Rurale) at the Samanko research station in Mali. The workshop, which was conducted as part of the ICRISAT/IFAD Biofuels Project, focused on sweet sorghum as a multi-purpose crop. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has a strong tie-up with ICRISAT for developing systems that increase agricultural productivity and income for rural populations.
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ICRISAT germplasm for Svalbard global seed vault
As part of the agreement between ICRISAT and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (earlier known as the Nordic Gene Bank or NGB), ICRISAT is committed to transferring duplicate seed samples of the 111,000 in-trust accessions to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault over a five-year period. Therefore, seed samples of 20,000 accessions representing the five mandate and two small millet crops were deposited at the Nordic Genetic Resource Center in 2008.
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CPWF concludes in South Africa
The final meeting of the South African arm of the Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWF) was held in Polokwane, South Africa, on 25 November. Close to 100 project participants attended the workshop including 20 farmers from each of the three project districts. Representatives of the Limpopo Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Council (ARC), and Progress Milling were also present. Moses Siambi, CPWF-PN1 Project Leader, attended the workshop.
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Bill Gates and Gebisa Ejeta visit BecA in Nairobi
ICRISAT staff members, scientists, technicians and affiliated students – based at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) hub in Nairobi were thrilled to receive Bill Gates as a visitor to BecA and other projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Kenya.
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DG in Philippines Highlights Challenges of a Brewing “Perfect Storm”
The Ilocos Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILARDEC) based at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), celebrated its 30th Anniversary this week, at which Director General Dr William Dar was the keynote speaker. In his speech, he lauded the achievements of ILARDEC, including the significant emerging collaborative projects with ICRISAT, such as sweet sorghum and pigeonpea.
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Launch meeting of HOPE held in Bamako
The launch meeting of Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of sorghum and millets in sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia, or the HOPE project as it is fondly called, was held in Bamako, the capital city of Mali on 23 November. The meeting was graced by Agathane Ag Alassane, Malian Minister of Agriculture who was accompanied by Bimo Teme, Director General of the Institut d’Economie Rurale, the co-host.
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DG advocates use of genomics for food security
The genomic tools developed by ICRISAT will help increase food production and reduce hunger for the teeming millions in the semi-arid tropics. This assurance came from Director General Dr William Dar at the inaugural of the ICRISAT-Center of Excellence in Genomics (CEG) course in Application of Genomics Technologies in Plant Breeding, being held from 16 to 27 November at Patancheru. This is an important initiative to enhance the skills of the molecular breeding community in India and other developing Asian and African countries.
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Fat-free snacks from NutriPlus
NutriPlus Knowledge Center at Agri-Science Park@ICRISAT (ASP) has developed healthy snacks using pearl millet and sorghum. As part of the new ASP foundation stone laying ceremony, pearl millet and sorghum crispies were offered to Director General Dr William Dar. Samples of both the products were also distributed among the guests.
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Unemployed youth trained on Decentralized Crushing Unit
Under the National Agricultural Innovation Project’s (NAIP) sub-project on Value chain for bio-ethanol production from sweet sorghum in rainfed areas through collective action and participation, ICRISAT organized a training program on the operation and management of the decentralized crushing unit (DCU) for unemployed educated youth of Ibrahimbad villages in Medak district on 6 November.
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Training workshop on maintenance breeding
A five-day training workshop on variety identification, variety description and maintenance breeding of sorghum, rice, cowpea and sesame was organized under the auspices of the West Africa Seed Alliance at the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) in Zaria, Nigeria from 26 to 30 October.
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Open Field days on sorghum and groundnut in Mali
Two Open Field Days were organized at the Samanko Research Station, Mali, on 27 and 28 October. The first day was devoted to farmers from the regions of Mali where ICRISAT is conducting collaborative research on sorghum and groundnut. A total of 145 farmers attended the open field day.
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Training on harvesting sweet sorghum in Samanko
A training program on the procedures and practices of harvesting sweet sorghum for collaborative trials of ICRISAT and IER (Institute for Agro- Economy) took place recently at ICRISAT’s Samanko research station in Mali. Scientists and technicians from IER research stations as well as technicians and students from Samanko participated.
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Farmers’ Day on sweet sorghum at Ibrahimbad
Under the National Agricultural Innovation Project’s subproject on Sweet Sorghum value chain, ICRISAT organized a Farmers’ Day Program at Ibrahimbad cluster in Narsapur Mandal of Medak District, Andhra Pradesh. The major objectives of the program were to present an overall scenario of sweet sorghum (hybrid CSH 22SS) cultivation in cluster villages, best-bet practices, integrated crop production practices including pest and disease management, nutrient management and benefits from application of farm machinery.
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Announcing the Suri Sehgal Lake at Patancheru
Director General Dr William Dar and Dr Surinder M Sehgal (Suri Sehgal) inaugurated a 16 hectare, newly excavated lake at the black saline area of ICRISAT-Patancheru this morning. The granite marker at the new lake reads, “In recognition of Dr Suri Sehgal, Visionary, distinguished agriculturist and renowned philanthropist “. The inauguration ceremony was attended by DDG-R Dr Dave Hoisington, Dr MD Gupta of the Sehgal Foundation, Mr Jai Sehgal, and other senior staff members.
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ICRISAT’s sweet sorghum stands tall
Could there be a sweet sorghum taller than 5 meters? The answer seems to be an emphatic yes. During the rainy season of 2009, the sweet sorghum team saw for the first time the tallest sorghum ever at the on-station experiment at Patancheru. The plants were above 5 meters in height in plot (BP 4 A). It was decided to use these high biomass lines for breeding non-lodging high biomass energy sorghums in addition to selecting them for their sweet and juicy stalk.
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Training on seed bank cooperatives held
ICRISAT under its DRDSERP (Department for Rural Development-Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty) project on Improving Rural Livelihoods through Integrated Agricultural Development in Mahbubnagar District of Andhra Pradesh, organized a training program on Seed Production Techniques for the members of the village seed committees and cluster activists of five clusters in Mahbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh on 22 October.
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ICRISAT’s Climate Change initiatives impress German delegation
A delegation of 35 representatives of the International cooperation enterprise for sustainable development (GTZ) from Germany and their hubs in West Africa visited ICRISATNiamey on 15 October. The visit took place as part of GTZ’s regional workshop about Governing Natural Resources in Francophone Africa being held in Niamey the same week. ICRISAT was asked to give presentations on its strategy in view of climate change in West Africa’s semi-arid tropics. The focus was on two of ICRISAT’s projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
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Bill Gates announces HOPE to boost sorghum and millet production
ICRISAT has launched a new project that aims to increase food security for smallholder farmers in dryland areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The project, Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of sorghum and millets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, will be undertaken by 50 partners led by ICRISAT in ten countries of sub-Saharan Africa and four states in India. HOPE is supported by an $18 million, four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Ejeta receives 2009 World Food Prize
Gebisa Ejeta, ICRISAT Sudan’s sorghum breeder and now a professor of agronomy at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, received the $250,000 World Food prize for the year 2009 on 12 October. He also delivered the Annual Norman Borlaug lecture on Revitalizing Agricultural Research for Global Food Security, at the Sun Room, Iowa State University Memorial Union, Ames, Iowa on the same day.
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Harnessing Biofuels for Pro-poor Development
Addressing the first national review of sweet sorghum projects funded by the Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines on 6 -7 October, Director General Dr William Dar called for harnessing biofuels for economic, environmental and energy security concerns especially for the poor.
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Project on heat tolerance in chickpea launched
A research project on Improving Heat Tolerance in Chickpea was launched on 1 October at ICRISAT-Patancheru. The project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India under the Technology Mission on Oilseeds, Pulses and Maize.
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ICRISAT in Dharwad Krishimela
The Karnataka Agricultural Minister Mr Ravindranath along with Dr JH Kulkarni, Vice- Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) Dharwad, inaugurated the ICRISAT stall at the Krishimela (Farmers’ Fair) jointly organized by UAS, ICRISAT and the State Department of Agriculture and Horticulture on 19 September. 
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Governing Board meets at Bamako
ICRISAT’s Governing Board (GB) met for the 61st time this week at Bamako, Mali. Attending the meeting were the 10 members (except AP Chief Secretary Ramakanth Reddy) with the new Chair, Nigel Poole at the helm.
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BBC interviews DG on sweet sorghum
Director General Dar in an interview recorded in Patancheru for the BBC on 10 September said that sweet sorghum beats all other competing bioethanol producing crops such as sugarcane in productivity. He was answering a question on ICRISAT’s research on sweet sorghum and the advantages of growing sweet sorghum compared to other biofuel crops.
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ICRISAT participates in CFC round table
P Parthasarathy Rao, on behalf of project team members (CLL Gowda, BVS Reddy, Ashok Alur, Ravinder Reddy, KN Rai, Zou from China and Wanlipa, from Thailand) presented significant impacts of the CFC-FAO funded project on Promoting livelihoods of smallscale sorghum and pearl millet growers in Asia.

WASA joins USAID to strengthen seed markets
USAID MARKETS and the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA) are joining forces to increase the capacity of the private seed sector and integrate farmers into the value chain. Together they are providing technical assistance, in conjunction with their private sector partners, to out-growers to meet the demand for high quality seed. By developing the business and technical skills of agrodealers and encouraging them to bundle inputs for sale to farmers in order to provide the best agronomic package, the MARKETS and WASA activities will serve to strengthen the Nigerian seed market.

HOPE kicks off at Patancheru
Reflecting the acronym of the project, implementors of HOPE Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of Sorghum and Millets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia) were filled with hope and enthusiasm as they assembled for the first Regional Work Plan Meeting on 11 and 12 August at ICRISATPatancheru. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Biofuel research and applications workshop in Agra
ICRISAT participated in the National Workshop on Emerging Horizons in Biofuel Research and Applications held at Agra (location of the world famous Taj Mahal), India from 25 to 27 July.

Sorghum field day at Miwaleni, Tanzania
ICRISAT-Nairobi, the Tanzania National Plant Genetic Resources Center (NPGRC) and the Tropical Pesticide Research Institute (TPRI) based in Arusha are implementing a joint Generation Challenge Program (GCP), which aims at characterizing and identifying sorghum genotypes with drought tolerance for use in breeding. The project is coordinated by HD Upadhyaya and is implemented in Kenya and Tanzania through the ICRISAT-Nairobi cereal program.

ICRISAT Consults Private Partners at Patancheru
Public-private partnerships for the poor are in full gear at ICRISAT. On 21 July, 32 scientists from the Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC), along with 16 ICRISAT scientists, gathered at ICRISATPatancheru to brainstorm on future hybrid parents’ research in sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea.

HPRC Consultation Meeting to be held at ICRISAT
ICRISAT is organizing a consultation meeting of the Hybrid Parents Research Consortia (HPRC) on sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea in the CF Bentley Conference Center (Building 212) on 21 July. About 30-35 scientists from the private sector seed companies are expected to participate.

Director General honored in Australia
Director General William Dar was honored last Friday in a ceremony at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth during which he was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Vice- Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson. The certificate reads: “Presented to Dr William Dar in recognition of his outstanding contribution, as Director General of ICRISAT, to innovative and ground breaking research in the semi-arid tropics”.

GOI approves field trials for GM crops
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has accorded approval for conducting field trials with GM crops, namely cotton, rice, okra, brinjal, potato, groundnut, tomato, corn, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard and sorghum for generation of biosafety data.

Crop biofortification group meets at ICRISAT
ICRISAT hosted the “Fourth Annual Interactive Meeting on Crop biofortification for alleviating micronutrient deficiency”, which was jointly organized by the Department of Biotechnology, GoI, HarvestPlus and ICRISAT on 9 and 10 July at Patancheru. The meeting was attended by over 45 participants from the Indian research institutes under the Indian Biofortification Initiative and researchers from CG Centers including IRRI, CIMMYT, CIAT and ICRISAT under the CGIAR’s HarvestPlus Challenge program. KK Sharma, KN Rai, Belum Reddy, A Ashok Kumar, Pooja Bhatnagar and SK Gupta attended the meeting.

MPs from the Rift Valley visit ICRISAT-Nairobi
Hon Beatrice Kones and Hon Jackson Kiptanui, Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Rift Valley of Kenya, visited ICRISATNairobi on 19 June. It was their first visit to ICRISAT with a specific mission to alleviate poverty and reduce food insecurity in Kenya.

Former ICRISAT scientist wins World Food Prize
Former ICRISAT scientist Dr Gebisa Ejeta will be awarded the 2009 World Food Prize for his efforts in improving sorghum and developing sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and Striga. His efforts have dramatically increased the production and availability of sorghum and enhanced the food supply of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Feedback discussion with farmers in Mali
Difficulties with cereal marketing are often cited as a key constraint for the adoption of yield enhancing technologies for dryland cereals like sorghum and pearl millet.

ICRISAT-Bamako and IER review progress
On 16 June, ICRISAT-Bamako and the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) of Mali held a one-day consultation meeting to review progress made in collaborative activities. Dr Boureima Dembele, Director of Research, IER, led a delegation of 17 scientists representing the sorghum, groundnut, cowpea, socio-economics, forestry and the modeling and forecasting programs. Team ICRISAT was represented by Bonny Ntare, Fred Rattunde, Eva Weltzien Rattunde, Kirsten vom Brocke, Norbert Maroya and Pierre Sibiry.

Farmers trained on IPM and sweet sorghum technologies
The ICRISAT-IFAD Biofuels Project organized a training program from 26 to 29 May on integrated pest management (IPM) and production technologies in sweet sorghum for farmers from Maharashtra, India.

ICRISAT strengthens relations with Germany
Director General William Dar strengthened ICRISAT’s collaboration with Germany when he visited the office of the German donor, GTZ, in Bonn, Germany, on 27 May, along with Project Development Specialist Mark Winslow.

ICRISAT-BecA holds training on molecular markers
ICRISAT, in close collaboration with Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA), organized a planning meeting and training workshop on Application of molecular marker in crop improvement from 11 to 15 May at the ILRI-BecA Hub in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bamako trains seed entrepreneurs
ICRISAT-Bamako organized a 3-day intensive training course on small-scale seed enterprise management on 4 and 5 May. The objective of the course was to share business skills with groundnut and sorghum farmers in seed business management.

Addressing seed shortages in Zimbabwe
Jean-Claude Urvoy and Michael Jenrich from the FAO Emergency Unit, Zimbabwe, visited ICRISAT-Bulawayo on 8 May to get an update on an ongoing seed multiplication project that was started in November 2008.

Sorghum and pearl millet colloquium held in Niamey
ICRISAT-Niamey was host to a colloquium titled Mobilizing Regional Diversity for Pearl Millet and Sorghum Intensification in West Africa from 5 to 8 May to mark the end of two 3-year projects in West Africa: “Project Millet and Sorghum – Growing out of Poverty” (PROMISO) financed by IFAD, and “Mobilizing Regional Diversity for Creating New Potentials for Pearl Millet and Sorghum”, financed by the German BMZ.

Bulawayo children learn about agriculture
On 29 March ICRISAT-Bulawayo played host to around 30 children aged 9–17 years. The children belonged to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and were interested in a tour of the campus to learn about agriculture and research at ICRISAT-Bulawayo.

ICRISAT Leaders meet IFAD President
It is always good to meet old friends, but when the meeting serves the higher purpose of increasing engagement and support for a noble cause, all parties gain a feeling of achievement, renewed purpose and great satisfaction.

Sweet sorghum field day at Dharmapur village
Under the sub-project coordinated by ICRISAT and the National Agricultural Innovation Project, large-scale sweet sorghum cultivation is promoted in farmers’ fields in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh, India, to produce the raw material for ethanol production.

ICRISAT participates in farmer field days in the Philippines
In addition to rice and maize, the farmers in Cagayan Valley of the Philippines are also major producers of legumes – groundnut, mungbean and soybean, and more recently pigeonpea and sweet sorghum have been added to the basket. Director General William Dar and CLL Gowda participated in a series of field days, farm festivals and visits to research institutions from 28 to 30 April.

Farid Waliyar visits Egyptian ARC
ICRISAT-WCA Director Farid Waliyar visited the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) in Egypt from 20 to 24 April. The objectives of the visits were to discuss the possibility of setting-up an agri-science initiative such as the ICRISAT Agri-Science Park (ASP); to explore the possibility of collaboration between ARC and ICRISAT-WCA; and to discuss the draft MOU between ICRISAT/ASP and ARC.

NutriPlus explores collaboration with AP Foods
The Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Foods (AP Foods), Dr A Ashok, visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 15 April to explore the possibilities of partnering with the NutriPlus Knowledge Center for the purpose of developing and commercializing extruded health snacks using ICRISAT mandate crops.

ICRISAT hosts review meeting for sweet sorghum ethanol project
The first annual review meeting of the joint subproject between ICRISAT and the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) for sweet sorghum ethanol value chain development was held at Patancheru on 21 April.

Sweet sorghum in Mozambique
We are happy to report that sweet sorghum has been approved in Mozambique’s Bio-fuel Policy as one of the sustainable crops along with jatropha, oil palm and sugarcane for bio-energy production in the country. This is partially the result of the work done by ICRISAT in Mozambique.

ICRISAT hosts review and planning meeting for biofuels project
The first annual progress review meeting of the ICRISAT-IFAD biofuels project Harnessing water use efficient bioenergy crops for enhancing livelihood opportunities of smallholder farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America, was held at Patancheru on 31 March and 1 April.

Project to improve dual-purpose sorghum
An Australian delegation visited ICRISAT-Patancheru recently to take part in the first workshop meeting of the ACIAR-funded project Improving postrainy sorghum varieties to meet the growing grain and fodder demand in India, which took place from 23 to 25 March.

Bonny Ntare honored in Mali
Bonny Ntare, Principal Scientist & Country representative at ICRISAT-Bamako, was recognized for his contribution to agricultural research in Mali. The Malian Minister of Agriculture, Prof Tiemoko Sangare, presented a certificate of recognition at the closing ceremony of the research agricultural week – second edition in Mali.

ICRISAT builds awareness on CDM
A two-day awareness building workshop on Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) in biofuel production was held at Patancheru on 2 and 3 April.

CIRAD representative visits Sadoré
On 24 March, Dr Rolland Guis, Advisor for Africa of the DDGResearch and Strategy at CIRAD, visited Sadoré. CIRAD and ICRISAT collaborate in West Africa in the field of sorghum improvement, precisely sweet sorghum and abiotic stress, and pest management in diversified agro-ecosystems. CIRAD scientist Alain Ratnadass, who is based at Sadoré and involved in pest management, introduced Dr Guis to the crop improvement and agroecosystem programs.

ICRISAT-CFC-FAO project workshop shares experiences
A workshop for the ICRISATCFC- FAO project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grains in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia was held from 18 to 20 March at ICRISATPatancheru.

ICRISAT participates in international biofuels conference
ICRISAT participated in the Sixth International Biofuels Conference, organized by Winrock International India, held at New Delhi on 4 and 5 March. Around 200 participants representing different stakeholders (policy makers, industry, development workers and researchers) from 5 countries attended the conference.

University of Humboldt team visits ICRISAT
Prof Eckart Ehlers, Dr Andrea Koch-Kraft, Dr Tilman Hertz, Dr Christian Kimmich and Dr Ramesh Chennamaneni from the University of Humboldt, Germany, visited ICRISATPatancheru on 27 February to discuss the biofuel initiative, particularly biodiesel with ICRISAT.

Sorghum genome sequence published in Nature
In a scientific article published on 29 January 2009 in the journal Nature, a global team of scientists led by Prof Andrew Paterson of the University of Georgia reported sequencing of the complete nuclear genome of sorghum. The reporting team includes ICRISAT’s Cereal Breeder Tom Hash.

Pooran Gaur to coordinate GCP chickpea initiative
The Generation Challenge Program (GCP) of the CGIAR has appointed Pooran Gaur as “Product Delivery Coordinator” for its Challenge Initiative (CI) Improving drought tolerance in chickpea for Africa and Asia. Pooran Gaur will spend 10% of his time in this new assignment. He will lead development of the delivery plan for this CI, coordinate and monitor the flow of CI-related products among projects and across sub-programs, and report to the GCP on progress made in the CI from a product perspective.

AP Government felicitates ICRISATCFC- FAO project team
The Ministry of Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and farmers associations in Mahabubnagar district jointly organized a farmers’ meeting and a program to felicitate Director General William Dar and the ICRISATCFC- FAO project team on 24 November at Udityal village.

WASA impacts farmers in Mali with ICRISAT sorghum varieties
On 19 and 20 November, two field days were held at Ifola and Tierouala in Mali to demonstrate improved varieties and hybrids of sorghum developed by ICRISATBamako in partnership with the Agricultural Research Institute (IER) of Mali. These field days were organized by the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA) in partnership with the Regional Directorate of Agriculture (DRA) of Sikasso, and the IER.

ICRISAT Initiates Agreements on Food Processing Research
On 14 November, ICRISATBamako hosted Mali’s Minister of Agriculture, HE Tiemoko Sangare. He was accompanied by his Chief Adviser, Dr Mamadou Goita and three other technical staff members; the Deputy Director General and the Coordinator of Dryland Crops Research at the L’Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER); and journalists from the national television.

Field Day on hybrid maize and sorghum
On 1 November, a Field Day was held at Sounsounkoro- Djigato (60 km from Bamako, Mali) for demonstrations of hybrid maize and sorghum introduced from India. The Field Day was organized by the ICRISAT-led West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA) in partnership with the National Directorate of Agriculture (DNA), and the Agricultural Research Institute (IER).

ICRISAT’s ABI Bags Asia’s Best Incubator Award
The Agri-Business Incubator at ICRISAT-Patancheru (ABIICRISAT) has been judged the winner of the prestigious Asian Association of Business Incubators (AABI) Award for the year 2008.

Women farmers visit ICRISAT-Bamako
A group of 29 women farmers, who are currently conducting participatory sorghum trials this year, made the long trek from their home villages in the Siby and Djioila areas to visit the ICRISAT station at Samanko, Mali, on 4 November.

Governor of Mopti region visits ICRISAT-Bamako
The Governor of Mopti Region of Mali, Mr Ball Bamba, accompanied by six regional directors responsible for various aspects of rural development in northern Mali, visited ICRISAT-Bamako on 30 October.

ICRISAT-Bamako and partners conduct field day
ICRISAT-Bamako and partners – the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – conducted a field day at Samanko on 23 October.

CFC team honored by Chinese research institutes
ICRISAT team members of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) under the supervision of the Inter-Governmental Group on Grains represented by FAO, consisting of Drs CLL Gowda, BVS Reddy, Ashok S Alur and Ch Ravinder Reddy from Global Theme Crop Improvement, were honored with an “Honorary Credential” by the Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Sorghum Research Institute, People’s Republic of China.

Malian NARS partners trained on sweet sorghum
Collaborative work on developing commercially viable sweet sorghum varieties for West Africa received a boost with the training of scientists and research technicians from the Institut d’Economie Rural (IER) Cinzana and Sotuba research stations at ICRISAT’s Samanko station on 9 October.

ICRISAT-Bamako hosts seed producers field day
A group of ten farmers representing three villages currently engaged in production of hybrid sorghum seed visited the hybrid seed production plots at Samanko on 9 October. The field visit and ensuing discussions addressed a range of management practices that can be employed to maximize the yield and quality of hybrid seed.

Sorghum scientists’ field day at Patancheru
A field day for sorghum scientists was conducted at ICRISAT- Patancheru on 7 and 8 October, where a total of 27 scientists from the public sector and 19 scientists from the private sector participated. A range of sorghum materials, from germplasm to progenies, advanced breeding lines, new male-sterile and restorer lines were showcased for the benefit of public and private sector scientists from different parts of India.

ICRISAT germplasm reaches Svalbard Global Seed Vault
As part of the Agreement between ICRISAT and the Nordic Genebank, seed samples from ICRISAT will be deposited at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV), Norway as a safety back-up (refer Happenings 1299 dated 29 February 2008).

 


EPMR Panel visits ICRISAT and partners in Mali
As seen from the pictures published last week, EPMR panelists Drs Eric Danquah, and Antonio Hall arrived in Mali from Niger with Director, WCA, Farid Waliyar and DDG-R Dave Hoisington on 2 October. Fred Rattunde, acting Country Representative, welcomed the team to the Samanko research station.

 


CORAF/WECARD workshop participants visit ICRISAT-Bamako
Participants of the CORAF workshop to validate agricultural research technologies in WCA NARS visited ICRISAT-Bamako, Mali, on 25 September. They included 22 Directors of Research and CORAF authorities. The visitors had a guided tour of the sorghum and groundnut demonstration plots as well as those of hosted institutions (ICRAF and AVRDC).

Technical officers from partner agencies visit Bamako
Technical officers from various donor agencies based in Bamako visited ICRISAT station at Bamako on 26 September. These included representatives from the World Bank, Belgian cooperation, Dutch cooperation, First Secretary, Embassy of Germany, (who are in charge of all development projects in Mali) and others.

Farmers Day celebrated at Gunegal Farm
ICRISAT-Patancheru participated in a Farmers Day organized by the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) at Gunegal Farm (45 km southeast of Hyderabad) on 30 September. In addition to displaying seeds of improved varieties of sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut, Team ICRISAT also distributed flyers in Telugu, and presented posters about ICRISAT, crop improvement, and watershed management.

First decentralized crushing-syrup unit inaugurated
September 18 marked a giant leap for ICRISAT’s sweet sorghum bioethanol technology. Director General William Dar inaugurated the world’s first decentralized crushing-cumsyrup- making unit in the remote village of Ibrahimabad in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh amid thunderous applause from smallholder sweet sorghum farmers.

GCP-sponsored ADOC project meeting
ICRISAT hosted the Generation Challenge Program meeting on A dataset on allele diversity at orthologous candidate genes in GCP crops (ADOC) project from 10 to 12 September. About 20 researchers from ICRISAT, its sister CG Centers (CIAT, IITA, ICARDA, CIP) and other collaborating research institutes — Montpellier SupAgro, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the French International Centre for Agriculture Development (CIRAD) and the Australian National University – participated.

Kenyan minister visits Kiboko
Nearly 20 years ago, ICRISAT and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) embarked on an expansion of the KARI-Kiboko sub-station. This investment has benefited both ICRISAT and KARI who use the land for cereal and legume improvement work, as well as basic seed production (made possible by the irrigation facilities).

Bright prospects of partnership with SEKAB
Carlos Dominguez, ICRISAT Country Representative in Mozambique, escorted the technical visit of officials from the SEKAB Eco-Energia de Mozambique ethanol production company to India from 8 to 13 September.

ICRISAT catalyzes establishment of bioethanol plant in the Philippines
Director General William Dar was the Guest of Honor at the groundbreaking ceremony for a 40,000-liter per day sweet sorghum bioethanol distillery and 5 MWe heat and power cogeneration plant on 2 September, at Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. This dual-purpose environment-friendly plant is a response to the Philippine Government’s call for food and ICRISAT catalyzes establishment of bioethanol in the Philippines energy security and sustainable development. It is the first project of its kind in the Philippines.

Demonstration of weeders in Ibrahimbad
One of the constraints expressed by farmers growing sweet sorghum in the Ibrahimbad cluster of villages in Andhra Pradesh under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) is the shortage of labor. Even when labor is available, it is costly, hence mechanization of some of the crop production activities such as sowing, weeding and intercultural operations was suggested to reduce human labor considerably.

Hybrid parents research consortia breaks new ground
The membership of the ICRISAT-Private Sector Hybrid Parents Research Consortia for sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea has now grown to 80 (up from 17 in 2000) with 48 seed agencies (up from 9 in 2000) joining the consortium of one or more crops. The consortia generated more than US$748,000 through annual grants in the year 2007.

Ensuring food security in the Limpopo basin
A planning meeting for the Challenge Program on Water and Food targeting Increased food security and income in the Limpopo Basin through integrated crop water and soil fertility options and public-private partnerships, led by ICRISAT, was held at Polokwane, Limpopo Province in South Africa from 4 to 8 August.

Major IPGs developed by ICRISAT during the last five years
This list is of great importance and interest to the EPMR panel members and are listed here as a reminder to all staff members about the International Public Goods developed by the Institute over the last five years. An International Public Good (IPG) is defined as any outcome of our research that is of benefit to more than one country.

ACIAR Approves New Sorghum Project
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has approved funding for a project proposed by ICRISAT. The project, Improving postrainy sorghum varieties to meet the growing grain and fodder demand in India, will be funded with AUD 1,003,613 (US$ 978,418).

ICRISAT Strengthens Ties in West and Central Africa
ICRISAT has strengthened ties with partner countries in West and Central Africa. This was made possible through the recent visit of Director General, Dr William Dar to Mali and Niger. In Mali, Dr Dar spent the time from June 26 to 30 in meetings and discussions, chiefly with the Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture of Mali and also with partner institutions who play an important role to help ICRISAT achieve its mission in the West African region.

Tata Chem promotes sweet sorghum in Maharashtra
Sweet sorghum is being introduced in the traditional grain sorghum belt in Nanded district of Maharashtra, India. Tata Chemicals Ltd (TCL), an Indian corporate major, is spearheading the spread of sweet sorghum cultivation with the establishment of a 30 kilo liters per day ethanol distillery near Nanded using sweet sorghum as the major feedstock for ethanol production.

Sorghum takes a big leap in Madagascar
The interest in sorghum in Madagascar traces back to 2004 when the country faced a serious cyclone and ICRISAT was contacted to help put together a strategy for more sustainable agriculture. Dr Mary Mgonja then visited the southern zone of Madagascar.

Training for large scale variety testing in the Malian Sahel
At the request of two projects managed by the German NGO, Agro Action Allemande, ICRISAT and IER sorghum breeders provided a two-day intensive training to the project staff and representative farmers on 31 May and 1 June. The two projects, Projet d’Appui a la Securite Alimentaire du Sahel Occidentale (PASASO) and Projet pour la Promotion de Meilleure Pratique en Agricoles, Nutritionelles et Sanitaire (PPMP) support farmers in their efforts to increase production and income from agriculture in the four most northern districts of western Mali – Mauretania, Yelimani, Nioro du Sahel, Diema and Nara.

Learning visit for lead farmers, project partners to ICRISAT
ICRISAT, under its NAIP-ICRISAT subproject on Value Chain Model for bioethanol production from sweet sorghum in rainfed areas through collective action, organized a learning visit for lead farmers from Ibrahimbad cluster of Narsapur Mandal, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh on Production Technologies of Sweet Sorghum.

Training program for lead farmers under ICRISAT-NAIP project
ICRISAT, under the ICRISAT-NAIP subproject on Value Chain Model for bioethanol production from sweet sorghum in rainfed areas through collective action and participation, organized a training program on Production Technologies of Sweet Sorghum and Formation of Farmer Groups for the lead farmers from Ibrahimbad cluster of Medak district on 16 May.

Scientists and farmers interact with feed industry
ICRISAT, under its CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia organized a scientists, buyers and farmers interaction meeting on utilization of sorghum in poultry and animal feeds on 6-7 May.

Evaluation of sweet sorghum in Mozambique is ongoing
ICRISAT-Mozambique and their partner IIAM initiated the harvest of 25 sweet sorghum varieties planted in Namialo village, Nampula province. The trials were planted on 3 January, and 11 earlier maturing varieties were harvested from 22 to 24 April. The sweet sorghum trials have been planted across the country in 4 agro-ecologic zones.

No Pain, No Gain, and smiles all around
Mr Ibrahim Jumare, Senior Research Assistant at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Samaru, Nigeria, (in center of photo with hat) was the guest of the Sorghum Breeding team at ICRISAT-Bamako for a one week training visit. Ibrahim learned new methods for managing off-season crossing programs and artificial induction of flowering in photosensitive sorghums with hands-on field experiences.

New sorghum hybrid released through MAU-ICRISAT partnership
A new sorghum hybrid developed by Dr SS Ambekar and team from Marathwada Agricultural University (MAU) was released during the 38th All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project (AICSIP) group meeting held from 13 to 15 March at Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), Akola.

Training program for lead farmers under CFC project
Under the CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia, ICRISAT organized a training program on Enhancing capacities of farmers associations for sustaining and managing project interventions for lead farmers from six clusters of India on 3 and 4 April.

Sweet sorghum evaluation continues in Mozambique
A collection of 25 sweet sorghum ICRISAT varieties has been planted for evaluation in eight sites in Mozambique. The purpose of these tests is to select appropriate varieties for the production of ethanol in different agro-ecological environments in the country.

ICRISAT attends sweet sorghum RD&E conference in Philippines
Belum Reddy represented ICRISAT on behalf of Director General William Dar in the First National Sweet Sorghum RD&E Review and Planning Conference from 12 to 14 March at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac, Ilocos Norte. He made an eloquent presentation on Sweet sorghum for ethanol – A viable potential feedstock, which aroused a lot of interest in the audience.

ICRISAT promotes pro-poor biofuel strategy at WIREC
ICRISAT participated in the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008), organized by the US Government from 4 to 6 March, with Director General William Dar participating and speaking on biofuel crops during a panel discussion on sustainability, technology and development.

An active month for WASA
February was a busy month for the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA) team with three separate events taking place in as many weeks.

ICRISAT receives funds for GCP projects
The Generation Challenge Program (GCP) has commissioned twelve projects (mentioned below) that are either led by ICRISAT scientists or involve them as co-principal investigators (co-PIs). Projects are for one year (January- December 2008), and involve activities in Africa and India. Total funding awarded to ICRISAT for 2008 is US$ 882,706.

IFAD project steering committee meeting
The steering committee meeting of the IFAD Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) 817 “PROMISO” was held at Bamako, Mali on 20 February. The steering committee members represented the donor and all the research partners in the project: IER (Mali), INERA (Burkina Faso), INRAN (Niger), IAR (Nigeriasorghum), Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) (Nigeria - pearl millet), CIRAD and ICRISAT.

Farmers’ Meet at CFC project cluster in Maharashtra
The Krishi Vignana Kendra (KVK), Ambajogai, organized a Farmers Meet at its campus at Digolamba in Ambajogai taluk of Beed district in Maharashtra on 15 February. Around 1,500 farmers including the members of farmers associations from 18 villages in Anjanpur cluster, 12 villages in Rohatwadi cluster along with farmers from non-project villages in Beed district participated in the meet.

Roundtable on biofuels and rural development
A roundtable discussion on Biofuels and rural development – Potentials and challenges sponsored by GTZ-ICRISAT was held on 20 February on the occasion of the visit by Mr Wolfgang Schmitt, Managing Director, GTZGermany.

Global In-House Review held at Patancheru
ICRISAT’s biennial Global In-House Review (GIHR), which brings together senior members of Team ICRISAT from all locations to discuss status of programs and plan for the future, is being held at Patancheru from 4 to 8 February. This year’s GIHR gains additional significance as the Institute prepares itself for the External Program and Management Review (EPMR), which will be held later in the year.

Global In-House Review held at Patancheru
ICRISAT’s biennial Global In-House Review (GIHR), which brings together senior members of Team ICRISAT from all locations to discuss status of programs and plan for the future, is being held at Patancheru from 4 to 8 February. This year’s GIHR gains additional significance as the Institute prepares itself for the External Program and Management Review (EPMR), which will be held later in the year.

Sweet sorghum makes inroads into Mozambique
The ICRISAT elite sweet sorghum variety trial is now planted in different environments in Mozambique, a country with great potential to be a “bio-fuel superpower”. Three sets of this trial, led by Mary Mgonja, is being planted in collaboration with Eco-Energia, the Mozambican company created by Swedish Ethanol Kemistry trading company (SEK-AB), to explore bioethanol production in this country.

CFC project’s Indian partners meet at Patancheru
ICRISAT, under its CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia, organized the 2008 work plan development meeting of the partners from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra on 31 January at ICRISATPatancheru.

ICRISAT-NAIP subproject on sweet sorghum ethanol value chain development launched
The National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP) of the Government of India is funding a subproject on Sweet sorghum ethanol value chain development. The project is implemented through a consortium approach with seven partners, and ICRISAT is the leader of the consortium. The National Research Centre on Sorghum (NRCS), the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), ILRI (based at research and development. Sweet sorghum has many good qualities to become one of the best feedstocks for biofuel production, its cultivation is economical to farmers and distilleries, and does not compromise on food security, he said.

Dembel group & EIAR explore partnership with ABI-ICRISAT
As a follow up to the collaboration signed between Directors General of ICRISAT and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) on 3 October 2007 for collaborating on varied areas of agriculture research, diversification, technology exchange and capacity building, a team of EIAR scientists visited ICRISAT-Patancheru in the same month. They requested ICRISAT’s support for assessing the feasibility for establishing an incubator at EIAR and exploring the viability of a sweet sorghum based ethanol plant through corporate farming.

CFC-FAO project review and steering committee meetings held
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on increasing the use of sorghum and pearl millet grains in poultry feed industry in Asia held its Fourth Review and Steering Committee meetings on 8 and 9 January at ICRISAT-Patancheru. CLL Gowda, Belum VS Reddy, P Parthasarathy Rao, Ashok S Alur and Ch Ravinder Reddy from ICRISAT participated in the meetings.

Networking in the Philippines
Rex Navarro this week visited ICRISAT partners in the Philippines, namely the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte, and the National Institute of Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (BIOTECH-UPLB). During his visit at MMSU, Navarro was taken to the various sites where Vice-President Heraldo Layaoen is undertaking seed multiplication and field trials of pigeonpea and sweet sorghum.

National sweet sorghum conference to be held in Philippines
A national conference on sweet sorghumwill be held in the Philippines from 27 to 29 February 2008. This was discussed in a meeting on 3 January, which was convened by Director General William Dar with national partners in Quezon City. About 100 stakeholders from the public and private sectors are expected to participate in this three-day event.

CFC project mobilizes women’s groups
ICRISAT along with its partners under CFCFAO- ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of smallscale farmers in Asia focused on efforts to mobilize the participation of women farmers and Self Help Groups (SHGs) in various project activities.

NAIP funds ICRISAT for sweet sorghum bioethanol
The National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP), New Delhi, India, on 21 December issued a sanction letter for initiating work on the sub-project on Value chain model for bioethanol production from sweet sorghum in rainfed areas through collective action and partnership. The total budget in Indian Rupees is 91.33 million (about USD 2.28 million).

Training program on impact assessment held
ICRISAT, under its CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia, organized a training program on impact assessment for the members of the impact assessment survey group consisting of partners and survey professionals from Foretell Business Solutions on 6 and 7 December.

Sorghum and millets workshop
ICRISAT has been asked by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to facilitate development of a research and development funding proposal intended to increase purchasing power of, and improve food and nutritional security for, smallholder farm families dependant on sorghum- and milletbased crop-livestock production systems in drought-prone areas of South Asia and sub- Saharan Africa.

Praj Industries joins ICRISAT’s sweet sorghum ethanol consortium
Praj Industries joined hands with ICRISAT by signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to become a member of the institute’s Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Research Consortium (SSERC) on 10 December. Director General William Dar and Mr Shashank Inamdar, CEO & Managing Director of Praj Industries, signed the MOA at Hyderabad.

EMBRAPA chief visits ICRISAT
Dr Jose Geraldo Eugenio de Franca, Executive Director, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) visited ICRISATPatancheru on 3 and 4 December. It was a sort of home coming for Dr Geraldo, as he is an ICRISAT alumni. He did his Masters degree at ANGRAU, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad with thesis work on sorghum conducted at ICRISATPatancheru. He was at ICRISAT during 1980- 82. ICRISAT is also proud that one of its alumni is heading one of the biggest NARS in the world (after India).

IFAD supports biofuels R4D project led by ICRISAT
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations has committed US dollar 1.5 million funding for a three-year biofuels research-for-development project led by ICRISAT.

Tata Chemicals joins sweet sorghum ethanol consortium
The Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL) of the Tata group of industries joined hands with ICRISAT by signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Research Consortium (SSERC) on 17 November. Director General William Dar and Mr Homi R Khusrokhan, Managing Director of TCL, signed the MOA at Hyderabad.

 


Sorghum and millets project proposal development workshop
ICRISAT has been asked by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to facilitate development of a research and development funding proposal intended to increase the purchasing power of, and improve food and nutritional security for, smallholder farm families dependant on sorghum- and millet-based crop-livestock production systems in drought-prone areas of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

 


Informal seed production and marketing initiatives for pearl millet
The pearl millet improvement program at ICRISAT Sahelian Centre at Niamey, led by Bettina Haussmann, is making good progress in enhancing adoption and impact of improved ICRISAT pearl millet cultivars in Niger and Mali. A total of five tons of seed of different cultivars were sold at production costs to partner development organizations and farmers before the rainy season 2007.

 


Pigeonpea training program
ICRISAT organised a training program on pigeonpea cultivation from 25 to 28 October. The program was attended by 30 participants from Uttarakhand, including farmers, extension officials and village level workers. Inaugurating the program, CLL Gowda welcomed the group and expressed the hope that ICRISAT bred pigeonpea varieties will help in improving the soci-economic status of the farmers of Uttarakhand, besides bringing about the much needed soil conservation in the hills.
 

Consultation for Hybrid Parents Research
A consultation meeting with Hybrid Parents Research Consortia members was held on 31 October at ICRISAT-Patancheru. Participants included N Seetharama, Director of National Research Center for Sorghum, IS Khairwal, Coordinator of All India Pearl Millet Improvement Program, 43 representatives from 33 private sector companies and ICRISAT scientists.

HC Sharma gets International Plant Protection Award
Hari C Sharma, Principal Scientist–Entomology, was conferred the International Plant Protection Award of Distinction during the XVIth International Congress of Plant Protection held in Glasgow, UK, from 15 to 18 October. Dr Hans Herren - President of International Association of Plant Protection Sciences, and Member, Science Council of the CGIAR presented the award.

Farmers’ day at Samanko
After several years of holding sorghum producer days with our partners from Mali at Samanko, the team at Samanko decided to hold a general Farmers’ Day this year, inviting development partners with farmer representatives from various regions across Mali working with ICRAF, AVRDC and ICRISAT, representatives of farmer organisations with whom we work directly, rural radio stations, and interested farmers from the neighborhood of the research station.

Training program on safe storage of bulk grains
Krishi Vignana Kendra Ambajogai (KVK) in collaboration with ICRISAT under the CFCFAO- ICRISAT project on enhancing the use of sorghum and pearl millet for poultry feed, organized a Sorghum Field Day at Sripatraywadi village in Ambajogai taluk in Beed district of Maharashtra on 12 October. About 200 farmers and management committee members of farmers’ associations from 18 villages in Anjanpur cluster participated.

Training program on safe storage of bulk grains
Under the CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on enhancing the use of sorghum and pearl millet for poultry feed, ICRISAT organized a training program on safe and scientific storage of bulk grains, use of drier and godown management for the representatives of the management committee members of farmers associations in Andhra Pradesh. Sri Venkateshwara Veterinary University (SVVU), Federation of Farmers Association (FFA) and ICRISAT organized the training jointly at Udityal village in Balanagar mandal on 4 October. The objectives of the training included the strengthening the existing linkages with Save Grain Campaign (SGC) of the Government of India.

Training program and field day at Koke cluster
The Marathawada Agriculture University (MAU) in collaboration with ICRISAT under its CFCFAO- ICRISAT project on enhancing the use of sorghum and pearl millet for poultry feed, organized a training program on safe and scientific storage of bulk grains and field day at farmers field in Nandkheda village of Parabhani district on 13 October.

Farmers-buyers dialogue organized under CFC project
Under the CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on enhancing the use of sorghum and pearl millet for poultry feed, ICRISAT organized a meeting of representatives of the management committee members of farmers associations from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka and the industrial buyers.The meeting was hosted by Sri Venkateshwara Veterinary University (SVVU) at the Extension Education Institute (EEI) on 9 October.

Spotlight on hybrid sorghum seed production
Timing is everything in hybrid seed production. Two hybrid seed production field visits were conducted to coincide with flowering in hybrid sorghum isolation plots at ICRISAT-Samanko in Mali. The purpose of these field days was to present methodologies for seed production of new photoperiod sensitive hybrid sorghums for West Africa.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo recognizes DG
The President of the Philippines, Ms Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, acknowledged and recognized the efforts of Director General William Dar as a global leader in promoting sweet sorghum for bioethanol production. President Arroyo acknowledged Dr Dar during her participation in the Philippine-India Business Forum during visit to New Delhi on 5 October.

ICRISAT and APAARI meet the media
A press meet was organized at ICRISATPatancheru as part of the APAARI meeting. Drs Dar and Paroda briefed the media representatives on the achievements of APAARI in the region. Dr Raghunath Ghodake, Chair of APAARI; Dr AS Abdul Rahman, Vice-Chair of APAARI; and Dr CLL Gowda provided additional inputs during the press meet.

ICRISAT incubates agri-business projects in Mozambique
After establishing a successful Agri-Business Incubator (ABI) at its global headquarters at Patancheru, India, ICRISAT is initiating a similar incubator in Mozambique, in collaboration with the Institute of Agricultural Research of Mozambique (IIAM). Director General William Dar and Dr Calisto Bias, Director General of IIAM, signed the Letter of Intent for establishing the Farm Business Incubator in Mozambique on 28 September.

ICRISAT strengthens collaboration with Ethiopia
ICRISAT’s longstanding collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)was strengthened when Director General William Dar and Dr Solomon Assefa, Deputy Director General of EIAR, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Addis Ababa on 3 October.

ICRISAT and CHIBAS sign MOU for collaborative research
ICRISAT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centro Hispaniola de Investigación en Bioenergía y Agricultura Sostenible (CHIBAS), based in the Dominican Republic for carrying out collaborative research on etanol from sweet sorghum package of technologies. Director General William Dar signed the MOU on behalf of ICRISAT and Dr Charles Frantz Flambert, Director General, signed on behalf of CHIBAS. The MOU was signed on 14 September.

ICRISAT in talks with MedcoEnergi of Indonesia
A team from MedcoEnergi, Indonesia, comprising Mr Djatnika Sarwono Puradinata, Director; Mr Noorzaman Rivai, President Director; and Mr. Adrisman Tahar, Business Development and Planning Manager, visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 13 and 14 September for discussions on sweet sorghum based bioethanol production.

System-wide livestock program (SLP) workshop
A workshop was conducted at ICRISATPatancheru from 17 to18 September to develop a proposal on Feed production from sweet sorghum residues after extraction of juice for ethanol for which seed grants were provided by the CGIAR System-wide Livestock Program (SLP) based at ILRI, Ethiopia.

A silent success from ABI-ICRISAT
Agri-Business Incubator has successfully incubated several technologies and enterprises, such as the use of sweet sorghum for ethanol= production, Bt Cotton, agriculture extension service companies, etc. Recently, ABI’s client – Bioseed Research India Pvt. Ltd. – commercialized six Bt Cotton hybrids in North Central and South Zones of India in the brands of Bajrangi, Chiranjeevi, etc.

Experts consultation on biofuels at IRRI
The experts consultation meeting sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), ICRISAT, IRRI, IFPRI and CIMMYT was held at IRRI from 27-29 August. Forty-five participants from 12 countries deliberated the strategy for biofuels for the Asia Pacific region.

Farmers-bankers meet at Palvai
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grains in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Asia organized a farmers-bankers meet at Palvai cluster on 18 August. The objective of the meeting was to bring bankers and smallholder farmers on one platform so as to enable bankers to understand the problems faced by farmers in obtaining crop loans and provide immediate solutions to some of them.

CFC Project extends its activities in Karnataka
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to enhance the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Asia extended its activities to the state of Karnataka, India, on 14 August. This was a follow-up of the decision taken at the Steering Committee Meeting of the project held in Thailand, in March this year. The project expansion to Karnataka is in addition to the involvement of new villages in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Reliance Group explores partnership
Senior officials from the Reliance Group, India’s largest private sector enterprise, visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 6 August to explore partnership with ICRISAT on sweet sorghum research and business development.

Philippines delegation visits ICRISAT-Patancheru
A three-member delegation from the Philippines, including Dr Ronilo A Beronio, Deputy Executive Director, PhilRice; Dr Alan A Javellana, President National Agri-Business Corporation and Dr Alicia G Ilaga, Director, DA Biotech Program are visiting ICRISAT this week. They were welcomed by Director General William Dar and given a briefing before they set out on their visit.

ICRISAT participates in African biofuels meet
ICRISAT participated in the First High Level Conference on Biofuels in Africa, held in Addis Ababa from 30 July to 1 August. The conference was held by the African Union (AU) in collaboration with the Government of Brazil and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a follow up of various consultative meetings and strategic plans outlined by African governments.

Lecture on IPRs
B Hanumanth Rao, Lead Administrative Officer, Intellectual Property (IP) Office, delivered a lecture on IPRs in relation to international agricultural research and cooperation at the National Research Center for Sorghum (NRCS), Rajendranagar, on 27 July.

Unilever team on SD visits ICRISAT
Unilever is developing a sustainable business strategy for 2020 for which the eminent management guru, Dr CK Prahlad, is consulting 25 senior executives and a number of experts in the area of sustainable development (SD).

DG promotes the concept of high-value crops
Team ICRISAT, represented by Director General William Dar and V Balaji, promoted the concept of high-value crops at Scottsdale, Arizona, and Gainesville, Florida, USA. The highlights included presentation in both the cities and meetings with two important officials involved with agricultural education development in the US.

Jade Grupo Mexicano joins ICRISAT’s sweet sorghum ethanol research consortium
The Jade Grupo Cooperativo Mexicano, a social economy cooperative group from Mexico, signed an agreement with ICRISAT on 4 July joining the ICRISAT Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Research Consortium as a member. This marks the enhancement of a new pattern of partnership as envisioned in ICRISAT’s propoor BioPower strategy.

Collaborating on sorghum research
Dr Ramasamy Perumal, Associate Research Scientist, Texas A&M University, is visiting ICRISAT-Patancheru from 19-23 June. Dr Perumal met with staff and students in sorghum breeding, pathology, genomics, and germplasm research groups. He discuseed source materials that could be introduced to the US for sorghum improvement, and explored opportunities for strengthening research collaboration in areas related to sorghum disease resistance breeding and assessment of genetic diversity in sorghum and its pathogens.

Medak farmers plant sweet sorghum
ICRISAT, Rusni Distilleries and Aakruthi Agricultural Associates (AAI) have been spearheading the campaign to plant sweet sorghum in farmers’ fields in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh since May.

Ethanol from sweet sorghum produced at Rusni
The pioneering project to produce ethanol from sweet sorghum, being implemented jointly by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Rusni Distilleries, has achieved a significant milestone with the first batch of ethanol flowing out of the distillery at Mohammed Shapur village in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Noble Group explores sweet sorghum ethanol
The Noble Group, the 13.8 billion dollar European industrial house that is also involved with corn- and sugarcane-based ethanol distilleries, is exploring the possibility of working with ICRISAT on developing sweetsorghum based ethanol plant in Southern Italy. Mr Aldo de Bonis, Senior Consultant to the Group, visited Patancheru on 12 and 13 June, to see the research and development activities at ICRISAT and Rusni Distilleries.

Meeting with the new Philippine Ambassador
Rex Navarro shares ICRISAT’s approach in harnessing communication for resource mobilization before faculty members and researchers of state colleges and universities from Southern Luzon, Philippines, training at the Agricultural Training Institute at the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus.

Workshop for NAIP proposal on value chain of bio-fuel crops
A Stakeholders’ Consultation Workshop to prepare the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) proposal on Value chain of biofuel crops in rainfed areas was held at ICRISATPatancheru on 5 June.

ICRISAT’s BioPower impresses BP
A high level delegation from BP (formerly British Petroleum) comprising Mr Phil New, Vice President & Head-BP Biofuels; Mr Paul Bennett, Director, Business Development- ASPAC; and Mr Vivek Sharma, Manager, BP Biofuels India ,visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 7 June. The purpose of their visit was to study the feasibility of sweet sorghum-based ethanol technology on a commercial scale.

ICRISAT’s BioPower impresses BP
A high level delegation from BP (formerly British Petroleum) comprising Mr Phil New, Vice President & Head-BP Biofuels; Mr Paul Bennett, Director, Business Development- ASPAC; and Mr Vivek Sharma, Manager, BP Biofuels India ,visited ICRISAT-Patancheru on 7 June. The purpose of their visit was to study the feasibility of sweet sorghum-based ethanol technology on a commercial scale.

CGIAR Consortium strengthens agriculture in Central Asia and Caucusus
Director General William Dar, in his capacity as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee of the CGIAR Consortium for Central Asia and Caucusus (CAC), presided over a meeting to review the progress and decide the future action plan of a consortium of organizations working for agricultural development in the region.

David Bergvinson visits Patancheru
Dr David Bergvinson, Program Officer - Agricultural Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited ICRISAT-Patancheru last week. Bergvinson is the Program Officer in-charge of the recently-approved Legumes I project and will be in-charge of the Legume II project.

Understanding zinc nutrition for crops
A Team of scientists from ICRISAT- Patancheru – Cherukumalli Srinivasrao, Ranjana Bhattacharjee and A Ashok Kumar – participated in the International Conference on Zinc Nutrition and Genetics of Crops held from 24 to 26 May at Istanbul, Turkey. Around 175 participants representing 16 countries attended the conference.

WCA Training Workshop on Hybrid Sorghum and Pearl Millet Breeding
A group of 39 sorghum and pearl millet researchers participated in a training workshop in Mali aimed at strengthening technical skills through systematic review of principals and techniques for successful hybrid breeding, sharing experiences, and identifying priority opportunities and requirements for hybrids in the region.

Mobilizing Regional Diversity in West and Central Africa
Pearl millet and sorghum breeders from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, as well as scientists from ICRISATIndia (Tom Hash), ICRISAT-Mali (E Weltzien and F Rattunde), ICRISAT-Niger (B Haussmann), and University of Hohenheim (H Parzies) came together in Bamako from 20 to 22 April to review progress, share experiences, and plan second year activities within the frame of the BMZ funded project “Mobilizing Regional Diversity for Creating New Potential for Pearl Millet and Sorghum Farmers in West and Central Africa”.

A tripartite MOU in the Philippines
ICRISAT signed a tripartite agreement with the Philippines Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and the University of Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB) to improve agricultural productivity and welfare of smallholders through strategic research on hybrid technology development for pigeonpea and sweet sorghum.

CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project partners meet
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of the small scale farmers in Asia organized its Annual Review and Planning meetings in India on 2 and 3 April (at ICRISATPatancheru); China on 5 and 6 April (at Liaoning Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Shenyang); and Thailand on 9 and 10 April (at Field Crops Research Institute, Bangkok).

Meeting with IFAD
During his trip to Rome, Director General William Dar had a meeting with senior officials of the International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD), including Dr Kanayo Nwanze, Vice President, on 4 April. Dr Dar discussed current collaborative projects and the projects in the pipeline.

International Women’s Day celebrated at Niamey
The ICRISAT Women Association marked the International Women’s Day (IWD) in Sadoré, Niger on 8 March, by organizing a special event attended by the First Lady of Niger, Madam Hadjia Fati Tandja, and all female Ministers and Members of Parliament.

PM honors Palaniswamy
The Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, felicitated Mr AR Palaniswamy, Managing Director of Rusni Distilleries (India) Limited, as the Individual Achiever for Economic and Social Development on 14 March in New Delhi. The International Achievers Development Organization organized this event.

DG presents pro-poor biofuel research at Gates Foundation meeting
ICRISAT promoted a pro-poor biofuel initiative that does not compromise on food security at an international brainstorming session organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at Seattle, USA, on 19 and 20 March. Director General William Dar highlighted ICRISAT’s initiatives with the commercial production of ethanol from sweet sorghum and biofuels from jatropha and pongamia as examples of how the poor and marginal farmers of the drylands can generate improved incomes from the global DG presents pro-poor biofuel research at Gates Foundation meeting biofuel revolution without losing out on food production.

A Strategy for conserving sorghum genetic resources
ICRISAT in partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) organized an Expert Consultation Meeting for Developing a Strategy for the Global Conservation of Sorghum Genetic Resources. The meeting was held from 12 to 14 March at ICRISAT-Patancheru, and was attended by 28 participants from India, China, Ethiopia, France, Nigeria, Sudan, Australia , the GCDT and ICRISAT.

Midterm evaluation of CFC project
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grain in poultry industry to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Asia underwent midterm evaluation exercise from 6 to 10March.

Conserving sorghum germplasm
ICRISAT in partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust is hosting an Expert Consultation Meeting for Developing a Strategy for the Global Conservation of Sorghum Genetic Resources at the Great Lakes Conference Room (Building 307), from 12 to14 March.

ISBA 2007 conducted at Patancheru
The Agri business Incubator at ICRISAT along with ICICI Knowledge Park and the University of Hyderabad organized the first annual conference of the Indian STEP and Business Incubator Association (ISBA 2007) at ICRISATPatancheru from 25 to 27 February. STEP is Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks. The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and the Government of Andhra Pradesh were among the main sponsors of the conference.

Driers and godowns help farmers get higher returns
Under the project funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), ICRISAT installed sorghum and pearl millet ear head driers were installed in the project villages to help farmers to harvest the crops at maturity. Storage structures were constructed to store the harvest of the crops. These efforts have helped the farmers to store their produce appropriately;

Projects launched in Mali and Nigeria
Two of the four national program partners of ICRISAT in Mali and Nigeria for the IFAD-funded project, Growing out of poverty: Intensifying sorghum and millet based systems using local biodiversity and new market opportunities, launched their projects in the recent weeks.

Midterm Evaluation of CFC project
The midterm evaluation of the project supported by the Common Fund on Commodities (CFC) on the Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grains in poultry feed industry to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia will be held from 6 to 10 March.

Learning Program on Sorghum
A 12-day International Learning Program on Sorghum Hybrid Parents and Hybrid Research and Development from 6 to 17 February was organized both at ICRISAT- Patancheru and at National Research Center for Sorghum (NRCS), Rajendranagar. The program was designed to cover the entire gamut of sorghum breeding in general and hybrid parents and hybrids improvement and production in particular.

Unravelling the energy-water nexus
A two-day conference organized by IWMI, ICRISAT, FAO and the International Water and Resource Economics Consortium, at Patancheru on 29 and 30 January, unravelled the impact of biofuels on agriculture and the linkages between energy prices and water use in agriculture. The conference brought together 30 experts from international agricultural research institutes, universities and the private sector.

Team ICRISAT makes impact in the Philippines
Team ICRISAT made multiple impacts in the Philippines in the recent weeks, with the impact starting with the President through multiple Filipino institutions being impressed with ICRISAT’s ethanol from sweet sorghum technology, pigeonpea varieties, watershed and ICT4D initiatives.

ICRISAT promotes sweet sorghum ethanol in the Philippines
It was the most appropriate timing for ICRISAT’s initiative on producing ethanol from sweet sorghum in the Philippines. The initiative was launched immediately after the Philippine Government passed a policy to encourage biofuels in the country.

An MoU for agro-ecology training
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ICRISAT and the University of Philippines Open University (UPOU) to start a Post Graduate (MS) Program in Agro- Ecology, through the distance education mode. ICRISATDirector General William Dar and UPOU Chancellor Felix Librero signed the MoU on 22 January.

Better profits from bulk marketing
Under the CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project to enhance the use of sorghum and pearl millet as poultry feed, small and marginal scale farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra were able to realize better market prices and enhanced income from the practice of bulking and bulk marketing of their farm produce.

Cornell President visits Patancheru
It was the time for strengthening partnerships when the high-level delegation from the Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, led by its President, Dr David J Skorton, visited ICRISATPatancheru on 7 January.

Training on storage pest management
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Enhanced utilization of sorghum and pearl millet grains in poultry feed for improvement of livelihoods of small scale farmers in Asia organized a training program on 28 December on Storage pest management for sorghum and pearl millet for the farmers from two clusters of Andhra Pradesh.

Philippine delegation visits Patancheru
An 11-member delegation from the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) visited ICRISAT-Patancheru from 30 May to 2 June. The delegation was led by Dr William Medrano, Executive Director, CHED, and consisted of presidents of nine state colleges and universities in the Philippines and one from the private sector.

Regional sorghum and pearl millet breeder’s meeting at Bamako
A workshop to strengthen public-private partnership (PPP) was jointly organized by the ICRISAT-led program for the Sustainable Commercialization of Seeds in Africa (SCOSA) and the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) in Bamako, Mali from 8 to 12 May. ICRISAT has already gained considerable recognition for its innovative PPPs.

CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project completes one year in Asia
The CFC-FAO-ICRISAT project on Increasing the use of sorghum and pearl millet grains in poultry feed industry in Asia held its Annual Review and Planning meeting and Steering Committee meeting on 25 and 26 April at the Sorghum Research Institute (SRI), Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences (LAAS), Shenyang, China. Prior to this, in-country project review and planning meetings were held to develop work plans for the second year in India, Thailand and China.