Farmers get 54% higher grain yields under the dryland cereals project

Hope June 2010crop

Farmers get 54% higher grain yields under the dryland cereals project

Sorghum and pearl millet, two important dryland cereals, have registered higher yields during the last cropping season in India.

Implementors of the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) -Dryland Cereals project revealed this during their first annual progress review and workplan development meeting at Patancheru on 21-22 June. The project is being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.

Partners from Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidhyapeeth (MPKV), Rahuri; Marathwada Agricultural University (MAU), Parbhani and a scientist from Bayer Crop Sciences participated in the meeting along with ICRISAT scientists. The two university partners were instrumental in spearheading the project activities that resulted in an average 54% increase in grain yield and 30% increase in stover yields across the 6900 farmers’ fields (about one acre each) in two regions during the 2009-10 postrainy season.

DDG-R Dave Hoisington welcomed the participants and wished them success in their deliberations.

CLL Gowda, Global Theme Leader-Crop Improvement, introduced the participants and outlined the plan of the meeting, which included planning for next year.

Director General William Dar in his opening address called for turning “HOPE into Reality”. Highlighting the recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and FAO predicting the global rise of cereal prices, he stressed the

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the productivity of dryland cereals and pointed out that this could be achieved by working with the right mix of creative and effective innovations and partnerships.

Dr Dar emphasized that social engineering in itself is now more important than technology for creating impact, and the right talent should be harnessed to accelerate successful project implementation. “ICRISAT is now a

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member of the Consortium of CGIAR Centers. We are developing Mega-Programs to address food, nutrition security and environmental sustainability in partnership with NARS, ARIs, CSOs and the private sector. ICRISAT strongly believes that poor people, if given an opportunity, will change their future for the better. Hence we are in the process of mapping out a new Strategic Plan to 2020,” Dr Dar added.

George Okwach, Project Coordinator, provided an overview of the project and urged the group to strictly adhere to milestones and timelines in project implementation, pursue effective data capturing and management, and develop linkages with other organizations to harness synergies and take full ownership of the project.

Said Silim, Principal Investigator of the project, mentioned that the project is unique in India because both state agricultural universities and private sector partners are involved. He said that this would provide a good learning experience for effective project implementation in sub-Saharan Africa. He also indicated that lessons learned from this partnership development will be useful for Mega-Program 3 Dryland Cereals as well.

In the technical sessions, Belum VS Reddy, HC Sharma, A Ashok Kumar, P Parthasarathy Rao, G Basavaraj from ICRISAT, Sachin More and SS Ambekar of MAU, Parbhani; and SR Gadakh and VG Pokharkar from MPKV, Akola made presentations on the progress during the first year of project implementation.

Intense discussions were held and the program for Year 2 was fine-tuned. Later, Belum VS Reddy, P Parthasarathy Rao and A Ashok Kumar presented the work plans in the plenary session, where participants and session chairs suggested improvements.