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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

4. Benefitting Smallholder Farmers in Africa: Role of ICRISAT

Authors: Amit Chakravarty, Anthony Whitbread, Pooran Gaur, Aravazhi Selvaraj, Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Jonathan Philroy, Priyanka Durgalla, Harshvardhan Mane, Kiran K. Sharma

Published in: India–Africa Partnerships for Food Security and Capacity Building

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

Smallholder farmers across the drylands of Africa and Asia face similar challenges—low agricultural productivity, lack of profitable alternative livelihoods, lack of access to technology, capital, and markets, low resilience to face climate change and other issues. The challenge before African countries is to transform agriculture from the predominantly subsistence orientated smallholder systems to more sustainable, efficient and market-orientated ones which create jobs for the youth on a rapidly growing continent. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) provides a global platform for regular knowledge exchange between agricultural research and development professionals from Africa and India. We share some of our experiences over four decades of work in Africa and India mainly through:
i.
Exchange of germplasm and breeding material to develop new varieties suitable to the agro-ecologies of African countries and
 
ii.
Supporting market-orientation through entrepreneurship and innovations in the agribusiness sector in Africa.
 
ICRISAT uses crop improvement as a core approach to providing crop varieties that are adapted to the ecologies of sub-Saharan Africa. These include varieties that are resistant to a wide range of biotic and abiotic stresses and acceptable by farmers and markets. These successful crop improvement programmes have been underpinned by the genetic resources available in the ICRISAT gene banks in India and Africa, resulting in the development and release of over 452 varieties and hybrids of cereals and legumes in 34 African countries. Agri-based entrepreneurship promotion is another key approach towards improving the economic prosperity of smallholder farmers in the region and harnessing Africa’s youth bulge. Through its Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP), ICRISAT has developed and implemented novel agribusiness entrepreneurship promotion models in twelve African countries in partnership with a diverse set of stakeholders from the agricultural and rural development ecosystem. Other areas of intervention which are not discussed in this paper include the natural resource management programmes that have created knowledge, technologies and practices that enable resilience in the farming system. In addition, the socio-economic programmes are key to understanding the potential for adoption of technologies including new varieties.
Footnotes
1
A plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding.
 
2
An allele is a variant form of a gene.
 
3
Drought in chickpea, groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet; heat in chickpea; salinity and acidity in sorghum.
 
4
Fusarium wilt and Ascochyta blight in chickpea; wilt and sterility mosaic in pigeonpea; rosette and stem rot in groundnut; grain mould, anthracnose and charcoal rot in sorghum; downy mildew and blast in pearl millet; and blast in finger millet.
 
5
Helicoverpa pod borer in chickpea; Helicoverpa and Maruca pod borers in pigeonpea; shoot fly, stem borer, midge and head bug in sorghum.
 
6
Striga in sorghum and finger millet.
 
7
A landrace is a domesticated, locally adapted, traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species.
 
8
Fortified food with medicinal value.
 
Literature
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Metadata
Title
Benefitting Smallholder Farmers in Africa: Role of ICRISAT
Authors
Amit Chakravarty
Anthony Whitbread
Pooran Gaur
Aravazhi Selvaraj
Saikat Datta Mazumdar
Jonathan Philroy
Priyanka Durgalla
Harshvardhan Mane
Kiran K. Sharma
Copyright Year
2021
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54112-5_4

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