South Asia


Barley varieties with higher antioxidant potential identified

Barley is one of the oldest cultivated cereals and is well known for its health benefits and medicinal value. Barley and malt are now gaining renewed interests as ingredients for the production of functional foods owing to their concentration of soluble fiber, β-glucan and bioactive compounds. Many of these bioactive compounds have high antioxidant activity. Barley varieties with higher antioxidant activity are beneficial as food for human consumption. The Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR), Karnal, India in…

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The millet that can survive the heat

Blog post by A K Jayalekha, Lead Breeder – Pearl Millet, Bayer BioScience Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad, India Pearl millet, the staple cereal in arid and drier semi-arid regions of India is one of the most resilient among the cereals. The nutri-dense pearl millet is the only crop among the millets which can tolerate harsh climatic conditions of high temperature and low moisture. This beautiful annual C4 (Carbon Fixation) crop can give you more with less – the crop is capable of…

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Barley (4)

R4D priorities set for barley in South Asia

At the fourth Regional Coordination Meeting of South Asia and China Program of ICARDA, the research priorities and work plan for barley across different countries in the region has been chalked out. Prioritizing pre-breeding and trait discovery efforts for use of landraces and wild relatives in incorporating better tolerance to different stresses was emphasized. Drought, heat, cold/frost, salinity were identified as key traits for abiotic stresses, and similarly, aphid tolerance spot blotch and stripe rust resistance were identified as priority…

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Trials of post-rainy sorghum hybrids sought by private sector seed industry

Trials of post-rainy sorghum hybrids and distribution of the hybrids to as many private sector seed companies as possible was a major recommendation of the private sector seed industry at a recent consultation meeting. This would enable the companies to test the hybrids in multiple locations and identify the best ones for commercialization. Currently, private sector presence is dismal in the sorghum seed chain as open pollinated varieties are predominant in post-rainy sorghum. This initiative would ensure their active participation…

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New barley variety released in India; demonstrates resistance to yellow rust

A new variety of spring barley developed from ICARDA germplasm is promising Indian farmers higher yields and resistance to yellow rust disease – a significant and growing threat to crop production in South Asia, and globally. Barley is an important crop for India’s farmers: as an important source of food and feed, and in hilly regions, one of the main sources of subsistence for poor communities. However, barley farmers face a series of constraints – not least the limited availability…

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Spread the word on smart foods

Pearl millet is a nutritionally superior cereal. It has the highest folic acid content among cereals; lowers heart disease and cancer risks; and is recommended also for pregnant women. We should enhance consumption of pearl millet through a strong advocacy campaign for smart foods, said ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar during his keynote address at the Pearl Millet Scientists Field Day held at ICRISAT global headquarters in India. Delivering the address, Dr Dar dwelt on the history of ICRISAT’s…

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Barley for food use in South Asia and China was identified as key thematic area

The third Regional Coordination Meeting of ICARDA South Asia and China Regional Program with emphasis on “Strategic Partnership towards Enhancing Food and Nutritional Security in South Asia and China” was organized at Beijing China at Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) on 16-21 June 2014. The meeting reviewed ICARDA’s barley and food legumes program in South Asia and China             Research partners from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan participated in the review meeting.…

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Barley for Africa and Asia: Public-private-partnerships for barley in food processing have potential to boost incomes in marginal communities

New nutrition sources for populations, increase farmer income and new expertise for national research partners. A public-private-partnership between ICARDA and Mexican company Impulsora Agricola (IASA) is a win-win-win for smallholder farmers, crop researchers and local industry. Improved barley varieties are provided to Mexico’s commercial food products market, ICARDA gains new expertise in barley, and smallholder farmers have potential new income streams, producing barley for national markets. In developing countries, barley brings benefits to smallholder communities living in the world’s most…

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Sorghum defying heat conditions in India

Sorghum is proving its resilience in withstanding extreme temperatures in summer.  ICRISAT’s experiments during 2013-2014 identified some promising sorghum lines (B-lines, R-lines and varieties) which flowered normally and showed 100% seed set under temperatures exceeding 400C. The material identified will help developing varieties to help smallholder farmers fight climate change. Sorghum is grown on 2 million ha in summer across India and it is recommended to undertake seed production of post-rainy sorghum cultivars in early summer to reduce the lag…

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Seed Consortium strengthens postrainy sorghum seed value chain in Maharashtra, India

An innovative seed consortium developed by ICRISAT and its partners has started yielding results in strengthening the sorghum seed value chain. For 2014 postrainy season around 300 tons of seed enough for 30,000 ha has been made available as a result of the seed production undertaken in 2013. It is proposed to cover 1,000 ha under seed production during 2014 postrainy season which is more than double the area under seed production in 2013. These results were shared at the…

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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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