With dignitaries at the 2017 GODAN Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Abraham Ali (AGRA)
I recently had the opportunity to be part of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) 2017 summit in Nairobi, Kenya, from 14-16 June. The monumental potential that data has to build resilience for food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture was evident at this event hosted jointly by the Government of Kenya and the GODAN Secretariat.
Hon. Willy Bett, the Kenya Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, rightly said during a press conference at the summit: “In the climate change era where drought has become a new and constant reality, we cannot build resilience without the right type of data being available to inform the decisions we make. Only an evidence-based approach using credible data will help us transform our economies through agriculture.” Read more
This week I was joined in New Delhi, India by CGIAR centers’ leaders and national program partners including our most important partner and host ICAR that was represented by the new Director General Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra as well as ICAR’s Deputy Director General of Crops Dr. JS Sandhu.
The gathering was to discuss site integration in India, which is part of the CGIAR’s larger efforts to identify national priorities and planned activities so we can align our CGIAR Research Program (CRP) proposals to support demand-driven innovation and effectiveness by optimizing our resources for impact in India through site integration plans. Read more
I recently attended the 23rd International Grasslands Congress which was held in Delhi for the first time in order to focus on the challenges grasslands in India face as they come under increasingly intense pressure. Some 200 international delegates attended along with about 300 scientists from across India.
The Congress was hosted by the Range Management Society of India as well as ICAR-Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute and the overall focus of the meeting was looking at how to optimize the land resources of a country: do we view grasslands as just a grazing opportunity for open range stock or do they provide other environmental benefits? Discussion at the conference focused on the fact that grasslands offer a wealth of biodiversity – both in species growing above ground and also in the micro-organisms in the soil. It’s a rich bank of biodiversity that we all need to think about how to utilize and preserve for future generations.
With Dr A. Pattanayak, Director of ICAR-VPKAS
I co-chaired the first session prior to the launch of the Congress with Dr A. Pattanayak, Director of ICAR-Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan (VPKAS) based in Almora, Uttarakhand. His organization is engaged in hill agricultural research for the North-Western Himalayan region of India.
meeting with Honorable State Minister of Agriculture Dr Mandefro (left)
It was wonderful to gain an overview of the progress being made, and the challenges faced in agriculture, from a wide range of partners in Ethiopia last week.
The Honorable State Minister for Agriculture, Dr Wondirad Mandefro, met with myself and ICRISAT Governing Board Chair, Dr Chandra Madramootoo.
He explained that while Ethiopia has made significant progress in the production and productivity of agriculture, the drylands are lagging behind and their development is extremely important for future food security of the country. Read more
In discussion with two of our scientists working on the HOPE project – Tilahun Amede and Tom Hash.
My final task in Nairobi this week was a working session with staff on the HOPE project, grappling with issues and developing a proposal for the sorghum and millet value chains.
This included talking about the science of delivery and adoption of new technologies by smallholder farmers. We discussed how HOPE fits within an overall country strategy and the important role of markets to translate surplus production into profitability. We also looked at ways to compress the time it takes an improved variety to reach a farmer.
I was enthused by the energy level of the conversations and the commitment of staff to ensure the project is well positioned to achieve impact at scale through a broad range of strategic partnerships along the commodity value chain.