Monthly Archives: June 2015

Building the skills of the next generation

Peter Carberry portrait shotAs David is on leave I have been selected to contribute a guest entry in his journal.  Since starting as Deputy Director General at ICRISAT on the same day, 4th January this year, I have worked very closely with David and I am really happy to talk about one of our focus areas – providing learning opportunities for students.

Right now on ICRISAT campus in Hyderabad, we have 105 post-graduate scholars, research fellows and interns (48 women and 57 men), with 52 completing their PhDs. Whilst the majority are Indians, we also have participants from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Philippines, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda and United States.

Our most recent PhD graduates from ICRISAT’s entomology unit, who presented seminars last week, include Ms Shaila, now senior research fellow at Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Ms Pavani who will advise farmers as research associate with Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Wyra village Telangana, and ICRISAT research fellow Md Riazaddin.

Cornell students

Under-graduate students from Cornell University, USA

We are currently hosting various under-graduate students from US universities, including Iowa State University, and most recently Cornell University (at left) through the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative. Four Princeton University students are with the International Water Management Institute team. Read more

Inspiration for agriculture in India and the world

A standing ovation for Prof MS Swaminathan

A standing ovation for Prof MS Swaminathan

It was a real honor to sit next to Prof. MS Swaminathan this week during the plenary lectures marking the Silver Jubilee Foundation Day of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences – an organization he started in 1990, of which I am pleased to say, ICRISAT is now a member.

Listening to details of M.S. Swaminathan’s career was amazing. In his presentation I was impressed with the clarity in which he remembered names, events and feelings over his 60 year journey in agricultural research for development. His passion for inclusion of women, preserving our planet by calling for an Evergreen Revolution in agriculture, and for helping tribal people who are the most disadvantaged in India, was an inspiration to me – and to the world.

Meeting with current and past leaders of India’s most influential agriculture institutions gave me a rich and deep perspective of the people behind the science that drove the first Green Revolution and in positioning young scientists to realize the Evergreen Revolution in India over the coming years. Read more

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Enterprising ‘climate smart’ villages

I recently had the opportunity to visit two villages close by the ICRISAT headquarters in India which have begun to stem the tide of people leaving the farm, by developing a wider diversity of livelihood options on the farm.

The villagers of Nandyalagudem and Boringthanda in the state of Telangana have been supported by the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) to (1) better manage rainfall variability and (2) become commercially viable through changing their farming techniques and introducing new enterprises for both women and men.

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It was fascinating to see how farmers are engaged in the research for development process. This was eloquently demonstrated through the introduction of new strains of silk worm and drip irrigation of mulberry (above left). Other women were getting involved in backyard poultry enterprises (above right). These initiatives dramatically increased the income of farmers and created economic opportunities to attract youth to return to their villages. Read more