Participants of the IAC meeting. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Dr Rajendra Singh Paroda, Executive Secretary of the Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), has been elected as the first Chair of the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) of the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes. The committee held its first meeting at the ICRISAT
Dr Paroda, a recipient of the Padma Bhushan – a prestigious civilian award in India, has made significant contributions in the field of crop science and towards strengthening the national agricultural research systems in India and in Central Asia and the Caucasus. He has headed and chaired several organizations including the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The IAC which is part of the governance and management structure of the Research Program provides external orientation and guidance in prioritizing research for development strategies, activities, and resource allocation. It was organized in August 2013 with members from a broad representation of disciplines and regions within the Research Program’s focus and priorities.
(From L to R) Dr O Ndoye, Dr SH Sabaghpour, Dr J Mulila-Mitti, Dr RS Paroda, Prof K Siddique and Prof F Wachira at the IAC meeting. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT
Members of the committee in attendance at the meeting were Prof Kadambot Siddique, Chair and Director of the Institute of Agriculture, University of Western Australia; Dr Joyce Mulila-Mitti, Crops Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Accra, Ghana; Dr Ousmane Ndoye, Program Manager, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), Senegal; Dr Sayyed Hossain Sabaghpour, Director General, Agricultural Research and Natural Resources Center of Hamedan Province, Iran; and Prof Francis Wachira, Deputy Executive Director, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Uganda.
Other members namely, Prof Fred Muehlbauer from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Grain Legume Genetics and Physiology Research Unit, Washington State University; and Dr Jill Findeis, Director, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, were unable to attend the meeting.
In his interaction with the IAC, ICRISAT Director General, Dr William Dar stressed on the potential of and the need to promote grain legumes. “The farm gate value of grain legumes is US$24 million which is the same as that of wheat, and the economic benefit of grain legumes is almost US$5 billion,” Dr Dar said. He also highlighted the productivity, dietary and environment performance of grain legumes.
“After the green revolution and attaining food security, we need nutrition security for the future. Therefore this program is all the more important, also to achieve environmental sustainability” said Dr Paroda.
Click to view Dr Paroda’s message
Steering committee members, Dr Jeffrey Ehlers, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Dr Asnake Fikre, Director of Crop Research Process, Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research, also interacted with the committee.
Dr Noel Ellis, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes facilitated the interaction presenting the overall vision and overview of the current activities, plans and finances of the program. The Product Line Coordinators also briefed the delegates on the ongoing activities of the Research Program.
Dr Emmanuel Monyo, Tropical Legumes II Coordinator and Prof Douglas Cook of the University of California – Davis explained the synergy between the recently initiated bilateral USDA-funded chickpea project and the Research Program.