Biofortified pearl millet varieties to fight iron and zinc deficiencies in India

By Dr Kedar N Rai This blog was first featured in ICRISAT Agri-buzz Micronutrient malnutrition because of iron and zinc deficiencies is a serious public health problem in low-and middle-economy countries worldwide.  In India alone, about 80% of the pregnant women, 52% of non-pregnant women, and 74% of children in the 6-35 months age group suffer from iron deficiency.  About 52% of children below 5 year are zinc deficient. Iron deficiency causes varying degrees of impairment in cognitive performance, and…

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Innovation in Dryland Agri

Upcoming publication: Innovations in Dryland Agriculture

Editors: Farooq, Muhammad, Siddique, Kadambot (Eds.)  Written by experts in the fieldPresents innovations in dryland agriculture researchFocuses on sustainable and profitable food production systems in drylands In this book leading scientists in the field describe the basic principles of dryland agriculture, and synthesize recent experiences and innovations in dryland agriculture research and development. It is a ready reference on the subject and reinforces the understanding for its utilization to develop environmentally sustainable and profitable food production systems. Various elements of…

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Pearl Millet

High-iron pearl millet varieties identified for fast track improvement in Africa

Pearl millet varieties GB 8735 and ICTP 8203 have been selected for fast track improvement and release in Niger, Ghana and Senegal. The selected varieties along with local controls are being tested on-farm at more than 30 locations across five countries. This is part of an initiative for biofortification of pearl millet and sorghum. Other key achievements of the initiative include: Creating a database on commercialized open pollinated varieties of pearl millet for Fe (iron) and Zn (zinc) density over…

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Ms Haerns and Dr Chaponda at the launch of MSIDP II project.

Boost for Malawi farmers from improved seed systems and root and tuber crops technologies

About 320,000 smallholder farmers in Malawi will benefit from two projects that aim to further strengthen the country’s legumes and cereal seed systems as well as increase contributions of root and tuber crops to food security, nutrition and incomes. Two Irish Aid funded projects, Malawi Seed Industry Development Project-Phase II (MSIDPII) and Root and Tuber Crops for Agricultural Transformation in Malawi (RTC-ACTION Malawi) were launched on 26 September. ICRISAT leads the MSIDPII while RTC-ACTION Malawi is led by the International…

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Participants at the sorghum innovation platform meeting. Photo: ICRISAT

Connecting farmers with the sorghum value chain in Nigeria

Sorghum farmers in Nigeria and large commercial buyers are coming together for improving the supply of quality seeds to farmers and assuring them a ready market for grains. A ‘Sorghum Innovation Platform’ meeting was held recently so that stakeholders could interact and find common grounds for addressing the challenges hindering growth, as well as discuss measures to close the demand-supply gap. During the event, farmers and other stakeholders who benefitted from seed distributed by the Honeywell Group gave feedback and…

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Participants in the field during the training. Photo: ICRISAT

Capacity building of NARS partners on millets and sorghum

A five-day training workshop for NARS cereal breeding technicians was organized by ICRISAT-Nairobi at their Kiboko field station from 8-12 August. The objective of the workshop was to enhance participants’ knowledge and capacity on theory and practical application of emasculation, pollination, seed production and data collection in sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet for improved management of their breeding programs. The training brought together 12 participants from Kenya (6), Ethiopia (1), Tanzania (4) and Malawi (2). The training was conducted by…

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Dr Maureen Cheserek, Nutritionist, Egerton University, addressing mothers at Elgeyo Marakwet. Photo: ICRISAT

Smart Food nutrition activities kick off in Kenya

To improve the nutritional status of women in the reproductive age and children below five years, an awareness drive under the Smart Food campaign has been launched in selected counties in Kenya. The aim is to promote increased consumption of nutrient dense, drought tolerant crops (sorghum, millets, pigeonpea, groundnut, cowpea and green gram) and appropriate dietary practices in the project areas using social behavior change communication approaches. The Smart Food team in Kenya will support the initiative, by disseminating nutrition…

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Launch meeting of CINTRIN in Cambridge, attended by all partners of consortium. Photo: ICRISAT

New partnership to optimize use of nitrogen in cereal crops

A team of researchers from India and the United Kingdom (UK) have come together to develop new cereal crop varieties, that use nitrogen efficiently, which in turn, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make farming more profitable and sustainable. The partnership will explore natural variations of cereals and basic research in model plants to deliver new varieties of cereals with enhanced nitrogen use efficiency. With funding of £10 million (GBP) (US$13,084,500) through the Newton Bhabha Fund, UK; Biotechnology and Biological…

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Women groups exhibiting their products Photo TA Azee, ICRISAT

Building efficient supply chains in Nigeria

Building efficiencies across the supply chain, from input supply to marketing, is key to achieving success. To this end a first of its kind ‘Agricultural Inputs Fair’, was organized in Kano, Nigeria. The aim was to provide farmers with good quality inputs (improved seed varieties, agro chemicals and equipment), at affordable prices from genuine sources, and link them to agricultural extension services. At the fair, nearly 70% (4,500 kg) of assorted improved varieties of seeds brought to the fair by…

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The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals) is a partnership between two members of the CGIAR Consortium – ICRISAT (lead center), and ICARDA, along with a number of public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers globally.
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