India-based ICRISAT new agricultural innovations helps Chinese farmers and scientists

December 4th, 2007 - 6:23 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, Dec.4 (ANI): The India-based International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a non-profit and non-political research organization, has helped Chinese agricultural scientists and rural communities embrace diverse agricultural innovations.
This partnership has resulted in higher incomes and better living conditions for Chinese rural folk.
“Our partnership with China, aimed at improving key crops and natural resources, has benefited this country in multiple ways, while also strengthening our work for the rest of Asia,” claimed Dr. William Dar, ICRISAT’s Director General.
According to Dar, an outstanding example of the benefit of this partnership has been the astonishing comeback of the hardy legume pigeonpea in provinces like Yunnan and Guangxi, besides others.
China’s pigeonpea revival is the result of a collaboration between ICRISAT and various local partners, including the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Kunming, Yunnan , and the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GxAAS) at Nanning, Guangxi.
Starting in the 1990s, ICRISAT supplied appropriate seeds and production technologies, together with training.
Since then, Chinese partners have established strong research and extension programs for introducing pigeonpea in diverse cropping systems. To popularize the use of pigeonpea for food, Chinese food technologists further developed a variety of snacks and other items, even pigeonpea noodles, using dry and green pigeonpea seeds.
As a result of their efforts, the area planted to pigeonpea has expanded from just 50 hectares in two provinces during 1999 to 100,000 hectares in 12 provinces last year.
The crop is now commonly seen growing on roadsides, slopes and riverbanks. Its strong root system, particularly in perennial varieties, helps hold the soil in place.
The pigeonpea is especially useful in southern China, where 90 percent of the land is hilly.
The pigeonpea revival is expected to receive a further boost, according to ICRISAT scientist Dr. K.B. Saxena, when new hybrid varieties reach the country.
International exchange of disease-resistant groundnuts has reinforced China’s leadership in the production of this crop, while also benefiting various countries of Southeast Asia.
China, already a world leader in groundnut production, began collaborating with ICRISAT in research on this crop.
ICRISAT provided its Chinese partners with varieties resistant to various foliar diseases as well as capacity strengthening. For its part, China supplied groundnut lines resistant to bacterial wilt.
According to ICRISAT scientist Dr. Shyam Nigam, most of the senior scientists working on groundnut in China have undergone training at ICRISAT.
Moreover, they play an active role in Asian research networks, through which resistant groundnut lines from China were used to deal with bacterial wilt disease in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand.
China remains Asia’s number one groundnut producer, registering more than 14 million tons in 2004.
ICRISAT has also helped watershed development projects in Yunnan and Guizhou Provinces.
China now belongs to a regional network of countries including India, Thailand and Vietnam which have successfully improved watershed management with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and scientific support from ICRISAT. (ANI)

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