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Naveen Patnaik, in his inaugural speech, acknowledged the contribution of international experts and scientists from the CGIAR in improving agriculture in the State of Odisha

The three-day Krushi Odisha 2024 conclave organised by the Government of Odisha with the theme ‘Celebrating Women in Agriculture’ was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of the State Naveen Patnaik at Janta Maidan. More than 70 per cent of the participants were women farmers and the lead women farmers were recognised and felicitated at the event.

Naveen Patnaik, in his inaugural speech, acknowledged the contribution of international experts and scientists from the CGIAR in improving agriculture in the State of Odisha.

The pre-inaugural session ‘Gender-responsive and Nutri-sensitive Food Systems – Delivering Nutrition and Health for All’ was led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in partnership with the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).

Commending the Government of Odisha on the initiative, the Director General of ICRISAT, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, underscored the organisation’s commitment to inclusive growth, noting that the empowerment of women in agriculture fosters positive change towards healthier food systems and a sustainable future. 

“Women in agriculture are not just contributors; they are leaders, innovators, and stewards of the land. It’s time to recognize and amplify their role in shaping the future of farming,” said Prof Pravat Kumar Roul.

“We need to work hand-in-hand with female farmers who are critical in shaping the diets of the family – empowering women farmers not only empowers current families but safeguards future families through improved health and nutrition in children,” said Dr Sean Mayes.

Naveen Patnaik, in his inaugural speech, acknowledged

The mobile facility will operate in the Medchal-Malkajgiri districts of Telangana, India, and offer on-site soil testing services to farmers, promoting the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices at the grassroots level

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) marked World Soil Day 2023 with the inauguration of ‘Technology on Wheels’, a new initiative designed to promote sustainable soil and water management practices among farmers.

This year’s World Soil Day theme, “Soil and Water: A Source of Life,” holds particular relevance for drylands, where there is a deficit of both water and soil nutrients. 

Cognizant of this inherent challenge, and the fact that soil and water account for 95 per cent of global food production, ICRISAT remains steadfast in addressing the urgent challenges posed by land degradation and the decline in soil health—particularly in the context of climate change. 

The newly launched ‘Technology on Wheels’, a mobile soil and water testing laboratory, reflects ICRISAT’s commitment to bridging the gap between scientific advancements and in-the-field implementation.  

Developed in partnership with the Laurus Charitable Trust, the mobile facility will operate in the Medchal-Malkajgiri districts of Telangana, India, and offer on-site soil testing services to farmers, promoting the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices at the grassroots level. 

Speaking at an event to mark the occasion, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT, highlighted ICRISAT’s longstanding efforts to bolster soil health across Asia and Africa by advancing scientific knowledge and fostering awareness of the interconnectedness between soil and water for resilient and sustainable agrifood systems. 

“We recognise that science and society, particularly farmers through their farming practices, help preserve life on Earth. At ICRISAT, we aim to provide innovative, easily implementable solutions that safeguard soils and secure water for our present and future,” Dr Hughes shared.

ICRISAT’s digitalised interventions include localised soil testing and soil-test-based crop management technologies, guiding farmers in crop and variety selection, and offering suitable technologies and inputs to enhance productivity, efficiency, and system profitability.

The mobile facility will operate in the

At the heart of the partnership is Assam’s goal of boosting the cultivation, production and consumption of three native millet crops: Finger millet (Maruadhan), Foxtail millet (Kauni Dhan), and Proso millet (Cheena Bajra)

The International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Government of Assam, India, have joined forces to advance climate-resilient and nutritionally enhanced food systems through the Assam Millet Mission.

At the heart of the partnership is Assam’s goal of boosting the cultivation, production and consumption of three native millet crops: Finger millet (Maruadhan), Foxtail millet (Kauni Dhan), and Proso millet (Cheena Bajra). 

Presently, millets are only cultivated across 6,000 hectares of land in 15 districts of Assam, including Nagaon, Bongaigaon, and Dhubri, contributing 97 per cent of the State’s millet production. 

Given Assam’s vulnerability to floods and its ancient preference for rice over millets, there’s a growing imperative to transition toward diversified agriculture that incorporates resilient and nutritious millets.

Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT lauded the partnership and hailed the Millet Mission as pioneering, particularly considering the region’s limited history of millet consumption.

“As the world’s largest millet producer and a driving force behind the International Year of Millets 2023, India stands at the forefront of the resurgence of millets.  

“ICRISAT is delighted to contribute its deep expertise in millet research to complement Assam’s visionary approach and ambitious millet value chain targets,” said Dr Hughes.

At the heart of the partnership is

With this collaboration, three high-quality platinum-grade genome assemblies have emerged, representing the active global breeding germplasm.

In an era marked by growing global population and climate change concerns, a collaborative research project between Corteva Agriscience, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was undertaken. The research has achieved a significant milestone by resequencing pearl millet genomes. This innovative approach has led to the development of new molecular markers, opening the door to creating millet cultivars with exceptional yield performance and improved nutritional quality.

Until now, the world of millet lacked reliable DNA markers. However, with this collaboration, three high-quality platinum-grade genome assemblies have emerged, representing the active global breeding germplasm. This remarkable achievement represents a 7000-fold improvement over previously published data. These newly identified DNA markers provide an invaluable roadmap for enhancing pearl millet productivity on a global scale, with far-reaching implications for addressing food security challenges.

At this pivotal juncture, the timing of this research is particularly important, given the recent G20 conversations on finding solutions to address food security and nutritional security, with millets being recognized as a key crop due to their exceptional nutrition and climate resilience. Moreover, with 2023 being recognized as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations General Assembly, further underscores the importance of millets in the face of global climate change.

This collaborative breakthrough promises to play a pivotal role in sustainable food production and nutritional security. The fidelity of the long-read sequences and improved resolution of haplotypes provided by these platinum-grade genome assemblies will aid in understanding the genomic distinctions characterizing global heterotic gene pools in pearl millet. This research also identifies structural variations that can be used to investigate traits related to heterosis, such as fertility restoration, disease resistance, and agronomy.

Furthermore, gene annotation and enrichment analyses revealed that the millet genome is enriched with cysteine and methionine coding genes, aligning with previous findings of higher amino acid concentrations in pearl millet compared to legumes such as pigeon peas and chickpeas. This discovery highlights the potential of millets and legumes as complementary components of a balanced diet to combat malnutrition.

As we navigate the challenges of global food security and climate change, the collaborative efforts of Corteva Agriscience, ICRISAT, and ICAR have illuminated a promising path forward. By harnessing the power of genomics, this research opens new doors for sustainable agriculture, healthier diets, and enhanced food security on a global scale.

With this collaboration, three high-quality platinum-grade genome

The award-winning submission highlighted community-led innovations in landscape management in Central India’s Bundelkhand region.

ICRISAT clinched the ‘UNDP Mahatma Award for Biodiversity’ for its remarkable contributions to humanity, its unwavering commitment to positive change, and its transformative impact on society.

The award-winning submission highlighted community-led innovations in landscape management in Central India’s Bundelkhand region. Through a combination of rainwater harvesting structures and agroforestry measures, biodiversity in the seven Bundelkhand sites, covering approximately 40,000 hectares, experienced a significant revival.

 Mugdha Arora, the Award Director, commended the institute for making it through the rigorous evaluation process and demanding jury rounds of the Mahatma Award selection. She congratulated ICRISAT in a letter that hailed the institute’s extraordinary accomplishments.

“Your dedication to social good has set a shining example for others to emulate. Your selection for the Mahatma Award 2023 is not just a recognition of your past accomplishments but also a celebration of your vision for a greener, bio-diversified, equitable, and sustainable world. Your commitment to making positive change has touched the lives of many and serves as an inspiration for all of us,” said Mugdha Arora.

“The UNDP congratulates ICRISAT on receiving the Mahatma Award. Biodiversity especially in the agricultural realm is something we value ICRISAT’s expertise in, and we look forward to a longer-term partnership with ICRISAT in this area” said Suneel Padale, UNDP Senior Program Officer, Biodiversity Finance and Sustainable Land Management.

The Mahatma Award 2023 was formally conferred upon ICRISAT at a ceremony  on September 30, 2023. As part of this honour, ICRISAT received a certificate and a specially crafted bust of Mahatma Gandhi, designed and produced by the Aditya Birla Eternal Gandhi Initiative.

The Mahatma Award was founded and instituted by Philanthropist Amit Sachdeva, also known as ‘The CSR Man of India’. The annual award is supported by the Aditya Birla Group and the United Nations Development Programme.

The award-winning submission highlighted community-led innovations in

Programme aims to equip research managers and leaders with practical tools and strategies to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and steer agricultural research and development.

Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT, addressed Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) training participants on August 21, 2023, at the invitation of the ICAR – National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (ICAR-NAARM) in Hyderabad, India.

NAARM’s Executive Development Programme (EDP) for leadership development is tailored to empower national research managers and leaders in various roles, including Directors and Assistant Directors General, with enhanced leadership capacities and competencies.

The event began with the Presidential Address by Dr Ch Srinivasa Rao, Director, ICAR-NAARM, followed by an overview by Dr G Venkateshwarlu, Joint Director and Program Director.

Dr Hughes elaborated on the critical role of transformative leadership in driving positive change and fostering innovation within the realm of agricultural research.

Her insights provided a launchpad for the participants to embark on their own leadership journey within the National Agricultural Research and Education System while appreciating the synergies and opportunities through collaboration with international institutes and global research organizations.

The program ends on August 26th and aims to equip research managers and leaders with practical tools and strategies to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and steer agricultural research and development toward greater efficiency and impact.

Programme aims to equip research managers and

The logo and official website of the India-Africa International Millet Conference unveiled during the event

To celebrate the International Year of Millets, the Ministry of Agriculture and Famers Welfare, Government of India and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Government of Kenya will be co-hosting the ‘India-Africa International Millet Conference’ in Kenya with support of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The international conference scheduled for 30-31 August 2023, will witness participation from government leaders, researchers, farmers, entrepreneurs and industry associations etc, from around the globe.

The official curtain raiser for the ‘India-Africa International Millet Conference’ was held in Nairobi, Kenya, giving the audience a glimpse of what to expect.

The event was graced by the High Commissioner of India to Kenya, Joint Secretary (Crops), Government of India, Principal Secretary, Government of Kenya and Director General, ICRISAT. Officials from the agricultural sector of Kenya, members of the diplomatic community, international agricultural research leaders, farmers and representatives from the private sector also attended.

Through the international conference, the Governments of India and Kenya aim to raise public awareness about millet as the ‘world’s emerging smart food. Additionally, the global event would also help highlight the South-South exchange and collaboration opportunities within the realm of millets.

With high levels of minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc and other vital nutrients, Millets are a treasure trove of health benefits. Additionally, they are also drought-resistant, pest-resilient, climate-friendly crops that can boost income opportunities and livelihoods of smallholder farmers, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

One of the key highlights of the Curtain Raiser event was the unveiling of the logo and website of the India-Africa International Millet Conference. The website will enable participants to register for the conference and learn more about the global event and Millets in general.

The Curtain Raiser event commenced with Dr Jacqueline Hughes, DG ICRISAT, briefing the audience about the agenda of the event. While enumerating the multiple benefits of millets, she spoke about the growing discourse around mechanization, seed systems, digital agriculture and value addition in millets. “We need to strengthen the value chains of millets to ensure consumer demand which will then assure farmers of profitable markets”, Dr Hughes noted.

The logo and official website of the

Economic attributes from over 23 testing trials of the new line compared to local checks showed that it has higher kernel yield, higher oil, oleic acid, and shelling percentage.

The collaborative work between Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU) and ICRISAT has led to the development of a Spanish bunch groundnut variety suitable for Kharif (rainy season) cultivation in Gujarat. This variety, named GG 39 (ICGV 16697), was released in March 2023 by the State Variety Release Committee of Gujarat.

The new variety with a maturity period of 113 days was developed using marker-assisted selection (MAS) at ICRISAT and underwent extensive testing from 2017 to 2021 before its release for cultivation.

Economic attributes from over 23 testing trials of the new line compared to local checks showed that it has higher kernel yield, higher oil, oleic acid, and shelling percentage. The variety exhibits several desirable traits, including high yield potential and high oleic acid content. The kernels are rose-colored, uniform in size, and spindle-shaped. In terms of disease resistance, stem rot disease was lower, while leaf spot, rust, and collar rot diseases were on par when compared to the check varieties.

Dr Janila Pasupuleti, Principal Scientist (Groundnut Breeding) and Cluster Leader-Crop Breeding at ICRISAT stressed the significance of developing and releasing high oleic acid groundnut varieties tailored to specific agroecologies. These varieties play a vital role in achieving higher pod and kernel yields while driving widespread adoption.”

ICRISAT scientist Dr Janila Pasupuleti visiting the groundnut breeding nurseries of JAU with scientists Dr R Madariya, Head of Main Oilseeds Station, and Dr Sapra, Scientist, Groundnut Breeding.

ICRISAT scientist Dr Janila Pasupuleti visiting the groundnut breeding nurseries of JAU with scientists Dr R Madariya, Head of Main Oilseeds Station, and Dr Sapra, Scientist, Groundnut Breeding.

Additionally, two Spanish Bunch high oleic acid groundnut lines developed through the JAU and ICRISAT partnership, and a Virginia Bunch high oleic acid line developed in collaboration with Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, have been promoted to the Advanced Varietal Testing stage by the All-India Co-ordinated Research Project on Groundnut (AICRP-G) at a national workshop held from May 24 to 26.

“Speaking about the modernization efforts at JAU, Dr R Madariya, Head of Main Oilseeds Station, highlighted their utilization of advanced technologies such as single seed descent (SSD), speed breeding, MAS, and the generation of high-quality yield data through multi-location testing in the state. Moreover, JAU actively supports the seed system network by supplying Breeder Seed, ensuring the accessibility and distribution of superior varieties.

Economic attributes from over 23 testing trials

The partnership aims to bridge the gaps in the agri-value chain and provide farmer-centric solutions like optimal markets for produce and fintech support.

NOIDA based Leads Connect Services, the premier agritech data, risk management, and financial services company, in collaboration with Agribusiness and Innovation Platform-International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (AIP-ICRISAT), recently organised a sensitisation program on marketing strategies for farmer producer organisations (FPO) in Hyderabad.

Leads Connect Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICRISAT at the event to study the dynamics of the agricultural value chain and develop sustainable solutions for all stakeholders in agriculture. The partnership aims to bridge the gaps in the agri-value chain and provide farmer-centric solutions like optimal markets for produce and fintech support.

Navneet Ravikar, Chairman & Managing Director of Leads Connect Services, signed the MoU with Victor Afari Sefa, a citizen of Ghana who joined ICRISAT in March 2022 as Director, the Global Research Program Enabling Systems Transformation, ICRISAT. LeadsConnect which is already working on Chilli, pulses and Turmeric value chain, this MOU will further open new avenues for CBBO, FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) Pan India to collaborate with Leads Connect Services to close chasms in the agri-value chain, prioritise the needs of farmers, providing better price for their produce thus empowering communities and stimulating economic growth. This collaboration with ICRISAT unlocks the potential to work in Africa as well for upliftment of the farming community.

The agritech company also launched its game-changing AGRANI app. The app is an end-to-end SaaS-based platform developed for all stakeholders in agriculture. It aims to connect all dots from farm-to-fork in the agricultural spectrum and provide farmer-first solutions using Space Tech Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. This is a part of the agritech’s initiative ‘Khet Se Kitchen Tak’, an agri value chain solution to support the farmers’ community, agri-businesses, and FPOs.

ICRISAT is a non-profit organisation that conducts agricultural research for rural development in various parts of the world. It also conducts workshops, seminars, and knowledge sessions to create awareness among the agriculture community.

“Launching AGRANI and signing the MoU was a revolutionary opportunity for us,” says Navneet Ravikar, Chairman and Managing Director of Leads Connect Services. AGRANI intends to bring farm advisory, financial services, and market linkage to the doorsteps of farmers, agribusinesses, and FPOs. It also provides timely access to finance for FPOs and agribusinesses for community infrastructure requirements like storage, processing and transportation.

Ravikar adds, “It’s a transformative value chain platform that will bring much-needed transparency to transactions held at the mandis and FPOs. Our mission is to empower and connect farm value chains to create a sustainable, scalable agribusiness ecosystem. With AGRANI, we are taking a step towards achieving this mission by providing farmer-centric solutions. And this is just the beginning. We look forward to continuing our mission of enabling farm value chains for a brighter and more profitable future.”

The partnership aims to bridge the gaps

The two-year project will prioritize carbon sequestration to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases, thereby mitigating the impact of climate change on the farming community.

Zuari Farmhub Ltd (ZFHL) has announced a new research partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) aimed to promote sustainable agricultural practices to improve farmer incomes in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.

The two-year project will prioritize carbon sequestration to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases, thereby mitigating the impact of climate change on the farming community. ​ The project will leverage ICRISAT’s world-class soil laboratory, which is accredited by the FAO, to develop science-led technologies using spatial data, modeling tools, big data analysis, and artificial intelligence.

The agreement was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Thursday by Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT, and Madan Mohan Pandey, Managing Director of ZFHL, in Hyderabad, India. Both parties expressed their delight at the prospect of working together to develop innovative solutions that meet the specific needs of farmers in India.

“It is a privilege to partner with ICRISAT, one of the best international agricultural research institutes, for customized modern solutions that meet farmers’ needs. Dwindling organic content in soils, indiscriminate use of fertilizers and the lack of information are critical issues in Indian agriculture that require urgent attention,” said Pandey.

Dr Hughes said that the partnership would utilise the expertise of some of the world’s best soil researchers and cutting-edge scientific techniques to promote sustainable agricultural practices and enhance farmer incomes but proof of concept is required.

“Seeing is believing. It is important for farmers to see the positive impact of improved soil on their crop yields and income before embracing new technologies,” said Dr Hughes.

In the first year of the project, ICRISAT will provide proof of concept of its science-led technologies to validate their effectiveness on improving soil for better crop yields and income. ​

“Artificial intelligence will be used extensively for pest and disease detection, and soil nutrient recommendations will consider farmers’ budgets and yield estimates,” said Dr ML Jat, Research Program Director, Resilient Farm and Food Systems, ICRISAT.

Deputy Director General – Research ICRISAT, Dr Arvind Kumar applauded the new collaboration which he said was essential in scientific research for the integration of diverse perspectives, expertise, and data, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex and interconnected nature of soil systems.

The two-year project will prioritize carbon sequestration

The collaboration will focus on expanding cultivated areas, deploying scientific technologies, and collaborating at all levels.

Hyderabad based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Indian Oilseeds & Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance the production of quality oilseeds in India.

The MoU was signed by ICRISAT’s Director General, Dr Jacqueline Hughes, and IOPEPC’s Chairman, Nilesh Vira, with the aim of strengthening long-term cooperation to increase the quantum and quality of oilseeds grown in India.

The collaboration will focus on expanding cultivated areas, deploying scientific technologies, and collaborating at all levels, including providing farmers with better quality certified seed and strengthening the supply chain of oilseeds. In addition, the partnership will promote food safety principles, recommend policies and programs to the Government of India and to support the growth of the Indian oilseed sector.

During the discussions, Vira stressed the importance of developing climate-resilient oilseed crops, given the unpredictable weather patterns affecting India’s agriculture. He cited the challenge faced by farmers in growing aflatoxin-free groundnuts, a crop that is increasingly in demand in the export market.

“Farmers want oilseed crops that can withstand climate vagaries. Changing monsoon patterns are affecting oilseed crops that usually take 110-120 days to mature. Farmers do not want to grow oilseeds due to unpredictable weather and we need to find solutions,” said Vira.

Kishore Tanna, Director-Groundnut Panel Convenor, IOPEPC said that India is importing 15 million tons of edible oil and that’s because farmers do not want to grow oilseeds, especially groundnuts.

Tanna also drew attention to the fact that groundnut exports to the European Union had dropped to around 6000-7500 tons due to stringent import rules on aflatoxin that call for levels of not more than 2 – 4 PPB for various grades of groundnut.

ICRISAT’s Director General, Dr Hughes, highlighted the need to eliminate intermediaries in the export value chain, thereby increasing the profits for smallholder farmers. She also emphasized ICRISAT’s commitment to finding solutions to eliminate aflatoxin in groundnuts, which has detrimental effects on all consumers.

“Aflatoxin elimination is a doable challenge for ICRISAT, and partnership with IOPEPC will help ICRISAT focus on key areas of intervention applicable for the peanut sector in India,” said Dr Hughes.

The visiting team shared several avenues to shorten the export value chain and establish direct connections between farmers and exporters. One successful example they cited was the short value chain for soybeans in Rajasthan and Gujarat, which has potential for replication in other crops. They also mentioned the growing popularity of e-markets as another potential avenue for connecting farmers and exporters.

The collaboration will focus on expanding cultivated

Important outcomes included identifying the critical need for aligning the centres’ research activities with the country’s priorities and planning for a similar meeting every year

At the invitation of the Government of India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, 16 International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs), including 10 CGIAR centres attended a meeting at ICRISAT Headquarters in Hyderabad, to update on their research activities in India and innovations in the pipeline.

Important outcomes included identifying the critical need for aligning the centres’ research activities with the country’s priorities and planning for a similar meeting every year in January/ February to synergise the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the IARCs’ research activities.

Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW), Government of India, who participated virtually, set the context of the meeting. In his concluding remarks, he expressed the need to ‘institutionalise’ the annual meeting to integrate knowledge from all the centres and plan effectively both for the short, medium and long-term research goals.

“Any knowledge, idea or practice useful to the farmer in India, should reach them as quickly as possible before the opportunity is lost. We need a sandbox environment to test new ideas/ knowledge and then quickly roll it out and find out how much it can be scaled out,” Manoj Ahuja.

Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary (Crops, Oil Seeds & Administration, CVO), DA&FW, who participated actively in the discussions, emphasised the need to build strong seed systems and facilitate easy accessibility of improved varieties to farmers. She said she was happy to be part of the ‘first common meeting’ of all the IARCs.

Temina Lalani-Shariff, Regional Director, South Asia, CGIAR, presented case studies on technologies developed by the One CGIAR for regions across India, which were appreciated by officials from DA&FW.

Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research ICRISAT, highlighted the many achievements of ICRISAT and its work across disciplines and across agriculture for the development value chain. He cited the example of soil and water conservation in Bundelkhand which caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and spoke of plans to out-scale to other regions.

Important outcomes included identifying the critical need

Internationally renowned science-based organisation and pioneering TechBio platform expected to deliver innovative nature-based solutions through exciting public-private relationship

A new cooperation framework was signed between the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Eagle Genomics at the International Conference on Innovations to Transform Drylands.

Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT, and Anthony Finbow, Eagle Genomics CEO, signed the agreement overseen by an international gathering of some of the world’s foremost dryland agrifood system experts. 

The MOU will see leading organisations – Eagle Genomics, the pioneering UK-based TechBio platform business applying network science to biology and ICRISAT, an India-headquartered international non-profit organisation that undertakes scientific research for development – collaborate at the intersection of life science and data science to help solve urgent global challenges in food security, nutrition, and agriculture. 

Anthony Finbow, Eagle Genomics CEO, said the collaboration with ICRISAT was a natural fit given the innovative and purpose-driven nature of both organisations, to improve the lives of those suffering from hunger and malnutrition. 

There is a growing awareness that malnutrition cannot be solved without a robust understanding of the role of the microbiome both in enhancing resilience to climate change but also in enhancing nutrient absorption. This includes ensuring access to safe and healthy food and targeting novel microbial-based solutions to improve nutrition, enhance wellness and reduce disease. ​

The e[datascientist] is a platform powered by network science1 and multilayer hypergraphs2, applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide a data-driven insight journey into solving complex problems and delivering greater impact in climate resilience, improving plant nutrient density, and increasing data-driven wellness and human health outcomes.

The platform integrates active learning at every step of the microbiome innovation journey, from characterising and describing microbiomes to a better understanding of complex causal mechanisms to elucidating host-microbiome interactions. Eagle Genomics is reinventing life sciences research and development by bridging the ‘translation gap,’ enabling scientific knowledge from a range of disparate sources and data sets to be integrated and analyzed through the e[datascientist] platform to create novel hypotheses and deliver robust, scientifically underpinned practical solutions.

Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General ICRISAT, said the MOU would see ICRISAT share datasets with Eagle Genomics, drawing upon extensive on-the-ground experience in Asia and Africa that had led to several agricultural world firsts. These include developing early maturing groundnut as well as high iron biofortified pearl millet, innovations that have directly responded to the challenges posed by climate change. This new partnership offers an opportunity to address, and even leapfrog beyond, the Sustainable Development Goals to drive science-based targets for regenerative agriculture.

Internationally renowned science-based organisation and pioneering TechBio

It will enhance productivity in the drought-prone areas of Central Zone consisting of Madhya Pradesh, Bundelkhand Area of UP, Chhattisgarh, Southern Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, where terminal drought is a major problem

ICAR – Indian Agricultural Research Institute,  New Delhi in collaboration with its Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya  Jabalpur, Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Gwalior and ICRISAT, Patancheru Hyderabad developed drought hardy and higher yielding chickpea variety ‘Pusa JG 16’ which will enhance productivity in the drought-prone areas of Central Zone consisting of Madhya  Pradesh, Bundelkhand Area of UP, Chhattisgarh, Southern Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, where terminal drought is a major problem and sometimes leads to 50-100 percent loss of yield.

Pusa JG 16 variety was developed by using genomic-assisted breeding techniques that allowed the precision transfer of drought-tolerant genes from ICC 4958 in the parental variety JG 16. The drought tolerance of this variety was affirmed through national-level testing by the All India Coordinated Research Programme of Chickpea.

AK Singh, Director, ICAR-IARI emphasised that the ‘Pusa JG 16’ variety will be a boon for the farmers of drought-prone areas of Central Zone of the country. He congratulated the breeders and all the partners on this outstanding achievement.

ICAR-IARI Chickpea team led by C Bharadwaj, Principle Scientist in collaboration with Rajeev Varshney and Manish Roorkiwal from ICRISAT, Anita Babbar from JNKVV and Indu Swarup from RVSKVV developed the variety.

Bhardwaj emphasised that besides being highly drought tolerant, this variety is resistant to fusarium wilt and stunt diseases, having short duration maturity (110 days) and a yield potential of >2ton/ha under drought stress conditions over the recurrent parent JG 16 (1.3 ton/ha).

It will enhance productivity in the drought-prone