Hyderabad, India (07 November 2016) ― Two global CGIAR research programs on legumes and dryland cereals are helping improve farmers’ productivity and consumption of 12 crops in sub-Saharan Africa, South and South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals presenting the highlights. Seated on the dias (L to R) Steve Beebe, Bean Program Leader, CIAT; David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT; Jill Findeis, Director, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri, USA; Michael Baum, Director, BIGM, ICARDA; Peter Langridge, University of Adelaide, Australia; Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General, IITA. Photo: Srujan Punna, ICRISAT

Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals presenting the highlights. Seated on the dias (L to R) Steve Beebe, Bean Program Leader, CIAT; David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT; Jill Findeis, Director, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri, USA; Michael Baum, Director, BIGM, ICARDA; Peter Langridge, University of Adelaide, Australia; Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General, IITA. Photo: Srujan Punna, ICRISAT

The programs along with national and international public and private partners have developed and released over 256 new legume varieties (chickpea, common bean, cowpea, faba bean, groundnut, lentil, pigeonpea and soybean) and 119 dryland cereal varieties (barley, finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum) for these regions, since their inception in 2012. The impacts of the research to date were discussed in a recent meeting involving more than 125 key stakeholders that included global partners, scientists, Steering and Advisory Committee members of CGIAR Research Programs on Grain Legumes, and on Dryland Cereals. The stakeholders came together at a three-day meeting (3-5 October 2016 at ICRISAT-Patancheru, India) to review the progress and outputs made during the first four years of the two programs.

The two CGIAR Research Programs, Grain Legumes, and Dryland Cereals, were launched in mid-2012 in response to the global challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and climate change. With a strong global partnership, they brought together knowledge, expertise, and experience from stakeholders in the public and private sectors, governments and farmers worldwide. The two programs completed their first phase in December 2014 and are currently in a two-year extension phase. Delivery of outcomes and impact from the two programs has been significant since their inception.

Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals highlighted the key achievements of the first four years of the ambitious 10-year research programs targeting grain legumes and dryland cereals.

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In his message, Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) stressed that both Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals that deal with the 12 nutritious and climate-smart commodities are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These crops are critically important for farmers to realize the full economic potential in a sustainable manner.

Dr Jill Findeis, Director, Division of Applied Social Sciences at University of Missouri, USA and Chair, Steering and Advisory Committee for Grain Legumes, commended the achievements and the impact created by Grain Legumes in a very short period.

 Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals presenting the highlights. Seated on the dias (L to R) Steve Beebe, Bean Program Leader, CIAT; David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT; Jill Findeis, Director, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri, USA; Michael Baum, Director, BIGM, ICARDA; Peter Langridge, University of Adelaide, Australia; Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General, IITA. Photo: Srujan Punna, ICRISAT

Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals presenting the highlights. Seated In a conversation. (L to R): Prof. Peter Langridge, University of Adelaide, Australia; Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CRPs Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals; Dr Greg Edmeades, Independent Consultant, New Zealand; Prof. Margaret Smith, Cornell University, US. Photo: Srujan Punna, ICRISAT

While appreciating the key achievements made by Dryland Cereals against the enormous scope of the program involving four crops in different systems with different constraints, Prof. Peter Langridge, University of Adelaide, Australia and Chair, Steering and Advisory Committee for Dryland Cereals, emphasized that the four dryland cereal crops are critical for the target countries, and that focus on their research would continue.

Dr Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) – one of the four participating centers of Grain Legumes, underlined the importance of strong partnerships and networks established under the program. She said these partnerships and networks would provide a strong basis for future collaboration for more impactful research in the areas of dryland cereals and grain legumes.

Dr Steve Beebe, Program Leader, Agrobiodiversity Research Area, Bean Program, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), recalled the conceptualization of the game-changing product lines for Grain Legumes in the original proposal. He was proud that the team accepted and tackled the challenge of addressing abiotic stress that was the primary cause for stunting the legume yields in the target regions.

Dr Michael Baum, Director, Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management Program, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), explained how ICARDA’s decentralization plans aligned effectively with the two CRPs. He also highlighted some of the key achievements in Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals. The partnerships with private sector industry to learn and understand the malting barley industry helped the barley research in Dryland Cereals. Similarly, re-establishment of faba bean in Egypt and expansion of rice-lentil fallows in Bangladesh and India by developing early maturing lentil varieties are some examples of impacts for Grain Legumes.

Over the three days, the coordinators of the 15 game-changing product lines of Dryland Cereals and Grain Legumes presented the progress in their areas of research. A poster session with about 81 posters highlighted the scientific achievements of the programs. All presentations and posters can be accessed at: http://grainlegumes.cgiar.org/grain-legumes-review-meeting/

The CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes is a partnership among four CGIAR Research Institutes: ICRISAT (lead center), CIAT, ICARDA, and IITA, along with several public and private institutes and organizations, governments and farmers worldwide. The program focuses on improving the productivity and consumption of eight priority grain legume crops — chickpea, cowpea, common bean, faba bean, groundnut, lentil, pigeonpea, and soybean that are primarily grown by smallholder farmers in South and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Central and Western Asia, North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals is a partnership between two members of CGIAR — ICRISAT (lead center) and ICARDA, along with a number of public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers globally. The program focuses on improving four dryland cereal crops including barley, finger millet, pearl millet, and sorghum in the dryland regions of Africa and Asia.

We would like to thank all donors who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

CGIAR (www.cgiar.org) is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR Centers in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector.