ICRISAT-HOPE project annual meet for pearl millet – South Asia held at Patancheru
Two meetings of the ICRISAT-HOPE project for Pearl Millet – South Asia being implemented in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana in India, were held on 16-17 January at ICRISAT-Patancheru to report progress for 2011 and devise work plans for 2012. Sixty participants including scientists from state agriculture universities (SAUs), the private sector and ICRISAT attended the meeting’s inaugural session.
Welcoming the participants, Dr Oscar Riera-Lizarazu, Director, Dryland Cereals, briefed the participants about the objectives of the meeting. Meanwhile, in his introductory remarks, Dr Yilma Kebede of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) highlighted the foundation’s goals to reduce poverty, leading to food self-sufficiency and income generation. He stressed that “the target of the project is to improve the farmer’s income towards poverty alleviation, and that national partners must intensify efforts to generate impacts on the ground.” In his opening message, DDG Dr Dave Hoisington pointed out the need to make the project sustainable, and to focus on research that has impact in the farmer’s fields in India.
N Nagaraj, P Parthasarathy Rao, SK Gupta and Rajan Sharma presented the progress reports for objectives 1, 5, 3 and 6, respectively, followed by presentations from the NARS partners in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. Discussions on activities for the 3rd year of the project and finalization of work plans for 2012 saw active participation by the private sector.
The meeting also featured a panel discussion on “Seed production to grain utilization: Role of private sector in pearl millet value chain” in which the possibility of including alcohol, feed and fodder industries in the pearl millet value chain through the project was explored.
In his concluding remarks, Project Coordinator George Okwach congratulated the team for successfully accomplishing the tasks committed for 2011 and urged the partners to contribute success stories to the project website.