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Director’s Message

GLDC is up and running. The Program is a prospectus offering global partnerships in research leading to development outcomes for livelihood and nutritional benefits to farmers and consumers of the legumes and cereals of the drylands. Critical to achieving such outcomes is how GLDC partners with agents for change, with those who innovate and who seek leverage from science. So, welcome and thanks to our partners who joined the GLDC bid and my invitation to new partners who wish to join this global initiative.

This GLDC Update contains stories on how research is helping change lives. We throw light on nutrition messaging interventions in the tribal region of Telangana district in India; a relevant message on World Tribal Day (August 9). We’ve initiated a six-month Gender Internship Program which received 20 entries from seven countries and we are in the process of short listing. Through this newsletter, we will keep you updated on what’s happening in the GLDC portfolio. Ensure you also check out our webpage to stay connected. I welcome your feedback.

Over the coming months, I look forward to meeting many GLDC stakeholders and promoting the program as providing significant return on their investment in research.

Peter Carberry

Global program for grain legumes and dryland cereals launched

Over 150 participants from 25 countries met on 14-16 February 2018 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to identify better models for partnering as part of the launch meeting of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC). Dr Peter Carberry, Director of GLDC, underlined that the Program’s approach is of finding ways to add value to what is already being undertaken. Linking initiatives and building on each other’s strengths will be a key focus of the approach. Read more

Workshops and conferences

7th IFLRC International conference pushes for stronger multidisciplinary research and cross-country collaborations

A team of 15 scientists led by Dr Peter Carberry participated in the 7th International Food Legume Research Conference (IFLRC-VII) held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 6-8 May 2018. The event was jointly hosted by ICARDA and INRA. Recommendations to improve farmers’ incomes through sustainable production and marketing of legumes and an emphasis on stronger multidisciplinary research partnerships and enhanced cross-country collaborations to develop and promote improved varieties for nutrition security were the highlights of the conference. More than 300 scientists and big data experts joined policy makers, traders and entrepreneurs in various discussions and workshops to come up with recommendations on strengthening research on legumes. Read more

ISPC foresight workshop homes in on system-level prioritization of CGIAR research

The challenges of producing more food and fibre for a growing population, adopting sustainable production methods, and adapting to an ever changing climate call for innovative and new solutions that agricultural research can offer. Against this background, the International workshop on ‘State of Foresight in the CGIAR’ was organized by the CGIAR’S Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC), on 9-10 May 2018, at University of Aberdeen. About 30 scientists from different CGIAR institutes, ISPC members and research and development think tanks from different advanced institutes participated in the workshop. Read more

Bolstering NARS partners with systems modeling training

The use of systems modeling tools and decision support systems can be of great advantage to farmers by helping them plan their farming activities based on weather predictions. ICRISAT has been actively involved in building up the capacities of its NARS partners in this area. Workshops, hands-on training sessions, and information exchange programs conducted by ICRISAT’s Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD) team increase awareness and use of these technologies among extension agents and subsequently, the farmers. Read more

Stories and more

India’s first biofortified sorghum launched: Moving towards better nutrition

India’s first biofortified sorghum, with significantly higher iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentrations of 45 ppm and 32 ppm respectively, was formally launched on 5 July 2018. Developed by ICRISAT, it was released for cultivation by Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth (VNMKV), Maharashtra. The improved variety ICSR 14001, released as ‘Parbhani Shakti’ by VNMKV, offers a cost-effective and sustainable solution to address micronutrient deficiency. Read more

Africa’s first biofortified pearl millet variety aims to combat anaemia

For millions of women and children in Africa anaemia is a significant public health concern—and diets deficient in iron are often to blame. But consuming a new variety of pearl millet called chakti—with an additional 20% of the estimated average requirement of iron—may improve their nutritional status and help them reach their physical and cognitive potential. This scientific breakthrough is thanks to plant breeders at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) under the work of HarvestPlus. Read more

Empowered women & an enriched community: Groundnut story of Northern Nigeria

Mrs Hadja Talatu Idrissa of Bunkure, near Kano, Nigeria, is the leader of a 25-women group in groundnut production and processing. They began to get involved with the Tropical Legumes III (TL III) project four years ago with a small seed pack of 5 kg each in their community farmland. From the harvest of this crop, they planted in a bigger farm plot the following year. Read more

A thriving community of women seed producers

It started with just three women farmers who were part of a pilot from Pagou village, Burkina Faso, who were trained on improved groundnut seed production in 2015. The three women brought in 180 new members to three multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs). These numbers are expected to grow to 540 by the end of 2018, creating an increasing community of women seed producers. Currently, there are 23 such trained women farmers in Pagou. Read more

3 Sorghum varieties released in Nigeria

Nigeria’s National Committee on Variety Naming, Registration and Release on 26 July 2018, approved the registration and release of two medium-maturing sorghum varieties, SAMSORG 47 as ZAUNA-INUWA, SAMSORG 48 as KAURA BORNU, and an early medium-maturing variety, SAMSORG 49 as CF35:5, in Nigeria. Read more

Resilience over profitability: Could agricultural research deliver on both?

“Although in recent years we are inclined towards separating the two issues while designing research, reviewing our agricultural research for development over the past 45 years shows that it is possible for research to develop win-win technologies,” says Kai Mausch lead author of a ‘new study’ looking at how ICRISAT research could improve both farmers’ resilience and their incomes.  Read more

Who are those people we call farmers?

Just about six percent of rural households in Kenya, aspire for their children to become farmers. This is highlighted through a recent study that interviewed 624 rural households from Embu and Kitui in eastern Kenya. The study found however, that 65% households hoped to increase their farm incomes. Closely linked to a recently published theoretical paper on the importance of aspirations, this publication focuses on household aspirations to understand its link to the potential for technology adoption. Read more

Major step forward in chickpea and pigeonpea

Breeding high nutritional varieties of chickpea and pigeonpea just got easier. With new technology, genomic processes that could have taken years, have been completed in just a few months. This has been possible by work of scientists from ICRISAT headquartered in India, in collaboration with NRGene, Israel who have helped create multiple assembly lines of pigeonpea and chickpea genomes. This means scientists can not only better understand crop traits, they can also significantly speed up work on improved varieties. Read more

World Tribal Day (August 9)

Talking nutrition with adolescents in tribal regions of Telangana

India’s tribal population is generally at risk of malnutrition owing to its dependence on primitive agricultural practices, poverty, illiteracy, and poor personal and environmental hygienic practices. Lack of access to healthcare, poor communication, traditional beliefs and customs aggravate the situation. Our conversations with adolescents belonging to the Gond tribes from the erstwhile Adilabad district, in Telangana, have focused on nutrition outcomes, common dietary habits, and understanding nutrition and health behavior. Read more

Grant to develop communication outputs

GLDC has invited proposals to support communications outputs that will be funded by a grant of approximately USD 5,000 each. The grant will fund the production of communication outputs that support the objectives of the program, and is open to IITA, ICARDA, ICRAF, ILRI, IWMI, Bioversity International, ICRISAT, IRD, CIRAD and CSIRO. The communication products can be in any medium e.g. videos, success stories and narratives, an interactive timeline, infographics, blog post, webinar, social media event or interviews or any new innovative approaches. It can cover any GLDC relevant issues. It can be about the work and success of a project or more generally about broad ‘issues’. The preference is to highlight the ‘bigger issue’ and present approaches or challenges around the issue.

Deadline for proposal submission: 20 August 2018

Grant amount: Maximum of approximately US$ 5000 per accepted proposal

Gender Internship Program

Part of GLDC’s mission is to implement gender research while strengthening capacities of gender researchers in the drylands. In pursuit of this, the program invited applications from new Masters graduates from Eastern and Southern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania) to pursue a 6-month Gender Internship Program on three topics:

  • Youth transitions in the drylands
  • Gender dynamics in the program’s seed systems
  • Synthesis of gender gaps in dryland legumes and cereals production in ESA

We received 20 applications from seven countries and are in the process of short listing.

The internship provides applicants the opportunity to be affiliated with gender researchers/mentors from the program, lend their skills to a specific research topic in the program’s Gender Research Portfolio, exposure to a network of gender researchers in the region, and an opportunity to explore if gender research is a pathway they would want to engage with in career development.


Genomic-enabled prediction models using multi-environment trials to estimate the effect of genotype × environment interaction on prediction accuracy in chickpea

Molecular mapping of QTLs for heat tolerance in chickpea

Money matters: The role of yields and profits in agricultural technology adoption

A review of the available land cover and cropland maps for South Asia

Genomic and transcriptomic analysis identified gene clusters and candidate genes for oil content in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.)

Molecular mapping and inheritance of restoration of fertility (Rf) in A4 hybrid system in pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.)

Stability analysis in chickpea genotype sets as tool for breeding germplasm structuring strategy and adaptability scoping

Standard Operating Procedures for groundnut breeding and testing

Post-harvest management and associated food losses and by-products of cassava in southern Ethiopia

Morphophysiological diversity of rhizobia nodulating pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan L. Millsp.) growing in Ethiopia

Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) growing in Ethiopia are nodulated by diverse rhizobia

Phenotypic characteristics and preliminary symbiotic effectiveness of Rhizobia associated with haricot bean growing in diverse locations of Southern Ethiopia

Heat tolerance responses of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) genotypes in the thermal zone of Ethiopia, a case of Werer Station

Innovative partnership approach to chickpea seed production and technology dissemination: Lessons from Ethiopia

Genomics, genetics and breeding of tropical legumes for better livelihoods of smallholder farmers

Who are those people we call farmers? Rural Kenyan aspirations and realities

Can genomics deliver climate-change ready crops? High-density genetic map using whole-genome re-sequencing for fine mapping and candidate gene discovery for disease resistance in peanut

The RNA-Seq based high resolution gene expression atlas of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) reveals dynamic spatio- temporal changes associated with growth and development

Accelerating genetic gains in legumes for the development of prosperous smallholder agriculture: Integrating genomics, phenotyping, systems modelling and agronomy

GLDC office: ICRISAT, Patancheru 502 324, Telangana, India; Tel +91 40 3071 3221; E-mail


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