|| Global research themes GT-Crop improvement and management Leaders note
Crop improvement and management
Dr CL Laxmipathi Gowda
Global Theme Leader
The overall goal of this Theme (called Crop Improvement for short) is to contribute to sustainable growth in crop production, farm income, food security and environmental protection through the development of improved and diversified cultivars, eco-friendly and cost-effective pest management practices, efficient seed supply systems, and commercialization of diversified and alternative uses of crop produce.
The purposes of the Theme are:
- To undertake genetic diversification and enhancement of ICRISAT mandate crops for high and stable grain and fodder yield with acceptable quality;
- To develop cost-effective and eco-friendly integrated pest management (IPM) technologies;
- To address alternative crop produce utilization strategies, including food and feed safety issues, and prospects for commercialization;
- To increase adoption of improved varieties by farmers through formal and informal seed-supply chains and systems,
- To develop institutional mechanisms between public and private sector stakeholders to ensure sustainable demand for public sector-bred improved varieties; and
- To accelerate technology exchange and information sharing, using both conventional methods and information and communication technologies (ICT) for capacity building of NARS, to achieve on-farm impact, and improve human and livestock health.
The expected outputs (with indicators in Italics) are:
- Genetically diverse trait-specific populations and breeding lines developed for use in NARS programs [ Increased availability of diverse germplasm sources and breeding materials ]
- Regionally adapted parental lines, varieties and hybrids developed for SAT regions
[Enhanced and newer options of locally-adapted cultivars]
- Effective disease and insect pest management technologies developed [Increased adoption of cost-effective and eco-friendly IPM packages]
- Technologies for improved food, feed and fodder quality and safety disseminated
[Better options for food and feed safety to improve health of humans and livestock]
- Crops for diversification and stability of systems enhanced [Better options for crop diversification and sustaining crop-livestock productivity]
- Dual-purpose and forage cultivars of mandate crops evaluated and promoted
[Increased options for raising livestock and crop productivity]
- Potential and opportunities for commercialization of diversified alternate crop uses assessed [Better and novel products, safer food and feed, increased market
- NARS capacity and impact accelerated through participatory approaches and technology exchange [Efficient research methods and technology exchange
- Regional release of improved varieties adopted by regional/state and national governments [Seed catalogs, databases, GIS maps, release procedures]
- Revolving fund scheme and village seed bank schemes promoted for ensuring quality seed supply to farmers [ Policies and procedures for schemes, technical management guidelines, financial management recommendations]
- Code of conduct for emergency/relief seed in chronic crises adopted by donors and humanitarian agencies [Seed needs assessment, and production and distribution methodologies and procedures]
- Improved varieties developed through the use of conventional and biotechnology tools adopted by farmers [Seed sales statistics, comparative case studies and adoption/impact studies]
With the vast genetic resources available at the ICRISAT genebank, and our mandate to provide enhanced breeding material and improved varieties to farmers, crop improvement is a priority activity. Emphasis will be on development of parental lines for cereals and varieties for legumes in Asia, and on varietal development and strengthening of participatory breeding, and varietal selection approaches in sub-Saharan Africa.
Improved varieties need good crop management to produce high yields, including eco-friendly IPM for crop protection. Resistances to biotic constraints (eg, pod borers in chickpea and pigeonpea, aflatoxin in groundnut, grain mold and Striga in sorghum and downy mildew in pearl millet) will be integrated with other pest management strategies, including bio-pesticides. Opportunities to increase market demand through alternative uses for crop produce, commercialization, and linking income generating industrial utilization strategies with technology development activities will be further strengthened. For details about our work on Aflatoxin research visit www.aflatoxin.info.
The following five projects under the Medium-Term Plan (2007-2009), incorporate research activities in Crop Improvement and Biotechnology:
- Sustaining biodiversity of Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Small Millets, Groundnut, Pigeonpea and Chickpea for current and future Generations (MTP Project No.2)
- Producing more and better food from the staple cereals and legumes of the west and central African (WCA) SAT (sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut) through genetic improvement (MTP Project No.3)
- Producing more and better food from staple cereals (sorghum and millets) and legumes (groundnuts, chickpea and pigeonpea) at lower cost in eastern and southern African (ESA) SAT through genetic improvement (MTP Project No.4)
- Producing more and better food at lower cost from staple cereal and legume hybrids in the Asian SAT (sorghum, pearl millet and pigeonpea) through genetic improvement (MTP Project No.5)
- Producing more and better food at lower cost from staple open pollinated cereals and legumes (sorghum, pearl millet, pigeonpea, chickpea and groundnut) through genetic improvement and crop management in the Asian SAT (MTP Project No.6)
Details about these projects can be found in the projects sub-section of our web page. Scientists’ names are listed in the staff sub-section. Please do not hesitate to contact any of our scientists for clarification or for more information about our research. Also, we would welcome comments for improving the information given here. Thank you for your visit.