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.
Areas of special interest is in soil mapping, integrating dryland crops, trees and livestock within the semi-arid tropics of Africa and South Asia, levering digital technologies to provide targeted information and market opportunities for rural families, and gaining a deeper understanding of technology adoption, especially form a systems perspective.
ICRAF is leading an exciting project supported by a wide range of private sector partners to sequence 101 African crop and tree species that are currently underutilized. By making the sequence and re-sequencing data available for 100 varieties/collections for each species, it is anticipated that this information will renew interest in these crops/trees and open up economic opportunities for their commercialization and use by farmers in Africa.