A European Union delegation visiting the ICRISAT regional center in Mali, led by Ambassador Bart Ouvry, praised ICRISAT and reaffirmed the group’s support for the Institute’s work to improve the food and nutritional security of Malian farmers.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Kristina Kühnel, Ambassador of Sweden and representatives of the Embassies of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Denmark who visited the hub on June 29.
Ambassador Ouvry congratulated ICRISAT for winning the 2021 African Food Prize and for celebrating 50 years of making scientific and humanitarian impact globally.
“This research center deserves our support; develops solutions to enable Sahelians to increase the quality and quantity of food. A fundamental issue in view of the world food situation”, said HE Bart Ouvry after a tour of the ICRISAT facilities.
In his opening presentation, Dr. Ramadjita Tabo, Regional Director, ICRISAT-West and Central Africa, gave an overview of ICRISAT’s work over 50 years.
“Founded in 1972, ICRISAT’s mission is to help build the capacity of 600 million people to overcome hunger, poverty and environmental degradation in the semi-arid tropics through climate-resilient agriculture,” said Dr. Tabo .
In close collaboration with national research systems and their partners, ICRISAT has fostered success in agricultural research by developing new high-yielding, nutrient-rich crop varieties adapted to diverse agro-climatic zones.
The institute has also led the development and dissemination of improved varieties and hybrids of sorghum, millet and peanuts, which have allowed farmers to improve their productivity, supported by technologies for water conservation and integrated soil fertility management, such as fertilizer microdosing. . Through its genebanks, the Institute conserves valuable genetic resources of millet, sorghum and groundnuts.
The visit began with an exhibition of “Smart Food” products made from millet, sorghum, peanuts and cowpeas.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Agathe Diama, Regional Head of Communications and Smart Food Coordinator, ICRISAT – West and Central Africa, spoke about the growing importance of Smart Food.
“The Smart Food initiative aims to promote a healthy diet through the production and development of nutrient-rich, climate-resilient and locally available crops to improve the nutrition and living conditions of smallholder farmers,” said Ms. Diam.
“The “Smart Food” initiative aims, in particular, to provide children with a balanced daily intake of food through the use of biofortified cereals with iron and zinc,” added Dr. Tabo.
The delegation also visited ICRISAT’s state-of-the-art aflatoxin laboratory, gene bank and experimental greenhouses. Demonstrations using digital technology for agricultural surveys and innovative port harvesting equipment were praised for overcoming traditional data collection challenges.
ICRISAT – EU Collaboration
ICRISAT Director General Dr. Jacqueline Hughes said the delegation’s visit was very welcome and encouraging given the growing food security challenges developing countries face in light of shifting geopolitics, climate change and weak institutional frameworks, as some of the problems they face. predominantly agrarian developing economies.
“ICRISAT recognizes the generosity and ongoing support the EU provides to address some of the most critical challenges facing smallholder dryland farmers today, and we are delighted to work in partnership to deliver the required solutions that are required.
“Our collaboration on the EU-funded project, ‘Improving Crop Productivity and Climate Resilience for Food Security and Nutrition in Mali’ is just one example of this approach.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with our friends and partners in the EU to strengthen our collaboration to better respond to the food and nutrition needs of an estimated 2.1 billion people in drylands,” said Dr Hughes.
ICRISAT’s regional research center located in Samanko, a few kilometers from Bamako, hosts several other research institutes (Worldveg, ICRAF, IITA, ILRI) working to improve crop productivity and climate resilience for food security and nutrition in Mali.
The development of agriculture and the improvement of food and nutritional security is an important area of intervention for the European Union.
ICRISAT is implementing the EU-funded project “Improving agricultural productivity and climate resilience for food security and nutrition in Mali”. The project aims to contribute to the sustainable increase in agricultural productivity and farmers’ income in the context of climate change in four regions (Sikasso, Kayes, Segou and Koulikoro), targeting 10,000 farmers.
The Netherlands and Germany are also funding research projects through ICRISAT to scale up improved varieties of groundnuts and new high-yielding, nutrient-rich varieties of sorghum and millet.