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Africa is on the threshold of a new beginning, and ICRISAT can help

Along with investments from national governments, ICRISAT can help African countries boost their agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security, and enhance livelihoods of their smallholder farmers. This was emphasized at a virtual conference organized by the Collective for the Renewal of Africa (CORA) recently. The Collective, a pan-African initiative of over 100 social scientists, researchers, historians, community leaders, and more, seeks to produce knowledge that can help break the cycle of exogenous development models in Africa by promoting innovative African thinking and practices

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Africa is on the threshold of a new beginning, and ICRISAT can help

  1. 1. Newsletter Happenings In-house version 23 April 2021, No.1903 Conference Africa is on the threshold of a new beginning, and ICRISAT can help ICRISAT’s contribution to mitigating climate change impacts ▪ ▪ Biofortified pearl millet with high iron and zinc levels ▪ ▪ Genomics tools for rapid and accurate identification of climate-resilient traits in crop breeding process ▪ ▪ Climate mitigation techniques and practices such as seed dressing, tillage practices, fertilizer microdosing, African Market Gardens, contour bunding, agroforestry, etc. ▪ ▪ Crop-livestockintegrationespeciallyintheSahelianregion ▪ ▪ Digital decision support tools such as weather information and farming advisories on mobile phones etc. Along with investments from national governments, ICRISAT can help African countries boost their agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security, and enhance livelihoods of their smallholder farmers. This was emphasized at a virtual conference organized by the Collective for the Renewal of Africa (CORA) recently. The Collective, a pan-African initiative of over 100 social scientists, researchers, historians, community leaders, and more, seeks to produce knowledge that can help break the cycle of exogenous development models in Africa by promoting innovative African thinking and practices During the panel discussion ‘Harnessing the Potential of Science, Technology and Endogenous Knowledge’ at the conference, Dr Ramadjita Tabo, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Regional and Research Program Director, ICRISAT-West and Central Africa, focused on agriculture, which remains critical to Africa’s socio-economic development and said, “We have a wealth of agricultural technology and knowhow at our disposal, but we need adequate investment in agriculture and development from the national governments to take Africa towards reducing poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition.” Highlighting ICRISAT as a leader in agricultural research in the drylands, with a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa, Dr Tabo said, “If we can create an environment of enabling science and technology, Africa can surely make its way to the forefront of food grain exporters in the near future.” “The application of biotechnology in agriculture has resulted in new crop varieties with improved tolerance to pests and diseases, and higher nutritional value,” said Dr Tabo. “We have Africa’s first biofortified pearl millet variety called Chakti that aims to combat anemia. A large pool of good dual-purpose millet and sorghum were recommended for nutrition for their high iron and zinc content and for improving crop-livestock farm system. Genomics is making it possible for scientists to identify genes that are linked to particular diseases. Genomic tools have been used and are expected to be intensified to find resistance or tolerance in drylands crops to the Fall armyworm.” Dr Tabo talked about emerging advanced technologies with the potential to effectively mitigate climate change in Africa. “We have seen the efficacy of good agricultural practices that led to an increase in system productivity (see box). Contour bunding technology has been successful by increasing crop yields by more than 30%, and improving household economy by 20%,” he said. Photo: ICRISAT

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