Touring the molecular laboratory at the World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi.
It was good to meet up with the leadership team at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) under the able leadership and boundless energy of Tony Simons. We are grateful for the hospitality and support the Centre offers ICRISAT. The wide range of development partners on the campus is also really valuable to foster partnerships.
We toured the molecular lab that is a reflection of the close collaboration between ICRISAT and ICRAF as we train young scientists to apply new tools to unlock the rich genetic diversity of African crops.
Following an introduction of the areas each director leads within ICRAF, we discussed areas of overlapping interest and opportunities for collaboration. Tony put out the challenge to increase the number of projects we collaborate on given the importance of agroforestry in the dryland tropics of Africa and Asia. Read more
I see great opportunities in Malawi for ICRISAT to help catalyze increased smallholder incomes through growing improved sorghum and millets, to solidify our involvement in groundnut, and to help expand the footprint of pigeonpea and chickpea.
With important collaborations, ICRISAT is helping to create a new opportunity to increase the availability of an early maturing, drought tolerant pigeonpea variety by gifting 10 tonnes of seed that will service 2000 farmers and jump start the production of seed to reach more farmers. The variety is called Mwaiwathualimi, which translates to “lucky” for farmers having access to a pigeonpea variety that matures early!
We are also testing and increasing the availability of improved chickpea varieties – I saw the material being tested in the field this week and it looks promising.
ICRISAT’s Patrick Okori and I standing in a nursery of promising finger millet varieties. Patrick ate finger millet porridge growing up and I didn’t. Could this be the reason for our height difference?
In the last two years we have also brought in new varieties of sorghum and finger millets, which I also saw in the field in Chitedze Research Station. We are excited about opening up new opportunities for expanding the food basket with nutritious and climate smart crops like finger millet.
In my discussions with the Agriculture Minister he made a commitment to scale up the production of sorghum seed of Macia that was developed at our Bulawayo station in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s. We are already making plans for the upcoming season to plant 10 hectares for seed production.
With partners at the CORAF/WECARD workshop
This week I joined some 200 people at a workshop on integrated agricultural research for development (IAR4D) – an initiative of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD).
The aim was to debate and discuss the challenges facing the scaling up and out of technology through innovation platforms to smallholder farmers, including how to foster stronger engagement with the private sector. Read more
Dr Bergvinson along with participants of the Global Planning Meeting 2015, signing the ICRISAT mission. Over 220 staff from headquarters and other locations took part in the event.
We have an obligation and a moral imperative to contribute to the improvement of the lives of 800 million poorest of the poor in the dryland tropics of the world. We cannot be in a better place at a better time to serve them than now,” said Dr Chandra Madramootoo, ICRISAT Governing Board Chair.
At ICRISAT’s Global Planning Meeting held on 27-31 January at the global headquarters, Dr Madramootoo stressed the importance of redefining the organization’s culture – core beliefs, shared feelings, and values – and empowering all staff to embrace and make it front and center of everything they do. Read more
Demand-driven innovation key to fighting poverty in the drylands
Dr David Bergvinson, new ICRISAT Director General, addressing senior management, scientists and staff at the ICRISAT global headquarters in Hyderabad, India, and virtually, at various ICRISAT locations in Africa. (Photo: PS Rao/ICRISAT)
“Inclusive and demand-driven innovation is the key to fighting poverty, eradicating hunger and malnutrition, and providing environmentally sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the drylands.” This was according to Dr David Bergvinson, as he assumed office as Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for a five-year term effective 1 January 2015. Continue reading