GLDC Research Communications

GLDC Research is communicated through collaborative work by the participating centres, highlighting our constant emphasis on partnerships and collaboration. Watch this space as we share some unique ideas that highlight the broad thematic areas and solutions.

CRP-GLDC Newsletter 2021 Quarter 2

This newsletter presents our impacts not as stand-alone but with important cross-cutting aspects. Amidst the COVID-19 circumstances, the impact we have created in collaboration with partners is highly significant, especially the integrations of cross-cutting considerations that enrich our research for development and interventions.

Innovation profile: Cowpea variety IT89KD-288

Cowpea varieties have been a key driver to agricultural income growth since the 1990`s. It helps augment crop nitrogen needs, and improve food, income, and nutrition security. IT89KD-288 is a dry-season dual-purpose cowpea variety for mixed crop-livestock systems in Nigeria. Adoption of this high-yielding, drought-tolerant, nematode- and insect pest-resistant cultivar has helped reduce poverty by 5% in Nigeria in 2016, which is equivalent to about 929,450 people lifted out of poverty. Accompanying innovations such as innovation platforms, seed systems, extension services and training have helped adoption by other beneficiaries while also helping linkages between stakeholder networks.

Innovation profile: First high-oleic groundnut cultivars commercialized in India

High-oleic groundnut is preferred by the food industry for enhanced shelf-life and consumer health benefits. Enabling technologies and extensive testing resulted in the development and launch of two high-oleic groundnut cultivars in India in 8-years of time as against the normal 12-15 years, consequently increasing nutrient levels more rapidly. Fast-tracking the delivery of these innovations in farmers` fields will build on strong partnerships with farmer groups and the private sector to produce quality seed and execute harvest procurement agreements with processors.

High-yielding biofortified crops address hidden hunger and food insecurity in the drylands of Asia and Africa

Five grain legume and dryland cereal crops have achieved substantial progress and impact around biofortification to improve their nutritive value and contribute to nutrition security in addition to food security. Common bean, lentil, pearl millet, and sorghum biofortification mainly address malnutrition among several beneficiary groups in east and southern Africa, and South Asia, while groundnut biofortification (high-oleic content) has clear market pull anticipated by the health and food processing industry in India. This infographic presents the results and impact of biofortification research for development the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals has co-enabled with partners.

Youth Strategy: Targeting and Engaging with Youth in Agriculture in the Semi-Arid Tropics

The CRP-GLDC Youth Strategy is based on studies conducted in 2019 and 2020 by teams of researchers in the drylands of Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania using common focus group discussions, key informant interviews and life history interview guides. Findings presented in this paper call for further research on youth, understanding local definitions of “youth” so that young people are not excluded from programs. Other strategies include access to financial, market, and technical leverage across the entire value chain, access to profitable technologies, and gender equity and greater access to education.

Revision in the Theory of Change

Unlike in its original version, CRP-GLDC will now contribute to the SRF through one distinct impact pathway (integrative solutions) focusing on genetic resources enhancement through breeding for pre-determined priority traits informed by both the production and consumption domains; seed system and value chain innovations and development and agronomic management. The purpose of the revision of the ToC was to integrate the FP6 and the new cross-cutting theme on Markets and Partnerships in Agri-Business (MPAB), assess what has been achieved so far or is projected to be achieved in the remaining time frame of the CRP-GLDC, and re-align the ToC and impact pathways to be more realistic and reflective of the current logic and operational mechanism of the program.

Better beans for Africa

Insufficient iron in diets is a leading cause of anemia, a condition that particularly affects pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under the age of five. Through collaborative plant breeding efforts with farmers and other partners, CGIAR scientists have developed and scaled up dozens of varieties of iron-biofortified beans in an effort to address the problem.

High-iron pearl millet for better health

Pearl millet is a nutritious and affordable staple crop in parts of India, relied on by many resource-poor farming families and rural communities. Yet overall dietary health remains poor – 59% of children under the age of five in India are anemic, generally due to a lack of iron in diets, and 38% are stunted, due to a lack of zinc. Anemia further afflicts 54% of pregnant women, posing risks to both child and adult health.

Cold- and Disease-tolerant Winter-sown Chickpea Varieties

Chickpea is a staple crop that brings major economic advantages to smallholder family-farm households as a reliable source of income and can act as a nutritious alternative to meat protein either within households and for market consumers. Chickpea also improves soil quality when rotated as a break crop in conventional cereal-dominated farming systems. Despite these advantages, yields of chickpea sown in spring are low due to its poor resistance to Ascochyta blight and cold temperatures, and they are often uninformed about best winter sowing practices. Due to the drawbacks of spring sowing, and to optimize winter rainfall, ICARDA developed an innovation package that includes improved Ascochyta blight resistant and cold-tolerant chickpea seed varieties with bred-in traits that address specific needs of the regions. It also includes training courses for farmers in better production practices such as improved winter sowing, crop rotation, and conservation agriculture.

Quick-maturing Legumes for Fallow Land in South Asia

ICARDA scientists introduced early-maturing legume varieties that grow within short rice fallow seasons in South Asia, combating regional nutritional deficiencies and increasing farmers’ incomes.

South Asian diets rely heavily on legumes, yet demand outstrips supply further exacerbating regional vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Until recently, a vast area of over fifteen million hectares lays idle (fallow) every year for three months between rice harvests. To take advantage of the fallow land ICARDA developed nutritious legume crops that reach maturity quickly and can be produced within the fallow window. The result was a significant increase in farmers’ incomes, boosting the national economy and better household nutrition and food security.

Extra early Biofortified Lentils for South Asia

ICARDA biofortified lentil varieties can mature quickly within the short fallow season and are a rich source of protein, iron, and zinc, helping fight regional deficiencies.

Every year in South Asia, vast tracts of land lie idle (fallow) between harvests of crops such as rice and the next planting season. With millions in the region suffering from malnutrition, especially micronutrient malnutrition (deficiency of vitamins and minerals), ICARDA, alongside partners in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, researched, developed, and released improved varieties of lentils, a common food across the region. However unlike standard lentils, ICARDA varieties reach maturity quickly, are high in protein and natural vitamins, and are micronutrient-dense, biofortified with zinc and iron (to fight regional deficiencies).

Leveraging farmer household aspirations to target and scale agricultural innovations – an approach build on novel partnerships and methods

Historically, agricultural researchers fail to consider household aspirations in the design, targeting and dissemination of agricultural research. Most approaches implicitly assume that households want to maximize returns or outputs from their agricultural activities, neglecting the fact that most households have multiple income streams which demand their attention. While consideration of these trade-offs and interplays has been acknowledged, there has been no significant research, due in part to the lack of the tools needed to understand household aspirations. A partnership between ICRAF, ICRISAT and the Cynefin Center is shedding light on how multiple income streams interact and the role they play in determining household aspirations. The communication product itself is a useful tool to highlight the journey this took and the persistence required to explore new approaches to ultimately generate new knowledge.

Chickpea App

The Chickpea App is a communications innovation that bridges between science and education/public information, and reaches out to new audiences, engaging children and youth in dryland communities. The Chickpea App aims to encourage and educate children and youth to acquire and use new knowledge about the benefits and usages of chickpea.

Youth and children are the farmers, consumers, scientists, and policymakers of tomorrow, and on a daily basis they play a role as information intermediaries who can share information within their families and wider social circles.


VSLA success story

The Village Savings and Loan Association is empowering women across five districts in Ghana to start small businesses, increase productivity and pay for school fees and farm inputs. This has been possible through greater access to loans through the VSLA saving kit, varietal demonstrations, and training in community seed production.


Cowpea seed production combined improved varieties, trainings and multi-stakeholder platforms are some interventions by the Tropical Legumes III project that are striving to reverse the trend of rural migration in Ghana.

Nutrition Field Schools

A mix of best agricultural practices among farmers and nutrition practices and recipe training among rural women in Mali is transforming diets, has reduced cases of child malnutrition and is slowly bringing about behaviour change to overcome malnutrition in families and the community.

Young people from Kiembara’s artisanal gold sites return to agriculture

What does one do when the exploitation of gold becomes a major source of income for families at the expense of agriculture, such as in the Kiembara commune in Burkina Faso? The DRYDEV program has introduced technologies and technical innovations to recover degraded lands and improve agricultural productivity. All it takes is an attractive combination of farming techniques for farming to become attractive to young people, thereby creating sustainable jobs in the sector.

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