Healthier soils

Key successes

Acid soils of eastern India

Soil health mapping of 37,500 samples from farmers’ fields across 30 districts of India’s state of Odisha found over 90% soils to be acidic and over 80% deficient in boron.

Redress: Over 4,000 soil test-based nutrient management demonstrations were conducted and crop-specific nutrient doses prescribed to build healthier soils.

    Government of Odisha and non-governmental organizations.
Related story
Restoring degraded lands, improving livelihoods in Niger

Impoverished soils are the bane of the African Sahel.

Redress: A combination of soil and water conservation technologies, fencing, farmer associations, sharing of plots with women and training on cropping enabled 11,970 women in 197 villages in Niger to reclaim 175 ha of degraded land, earning them revenue ranging from US$ 1,800 - 4,420/ha, about 9 to 22 times more than the traditional system.

Related publication

Bado BV and Bationo A. (2018). Integrated Management of Soil Fertility and Land Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa: Involving Local Communities. Advances in Agronomy (TSI), 150. pp. 1-33. ISSN 00652113

Related report

Restoration of Degraded Land for Food Security and Poverty Reduction in East Africa and the Sahel:Taking Successes in Land Restoration to Scale

Game of slopes in Eastern Africa

Why does land fertility response to fertilizer input vary in any given area in the highlands of Ethiopia resulting in significant yield differences?

Redress: Studies revealed fertilizer response decreases with increasing slope due to decrease in soil organic carbon, clay and soil water content. Yield on foot slopes are up to three times higher than that on hillslopes.

    GIZ-ISFM+ Ethiopia, Africa RISING-Feed the Future and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research.
Related story

Breathing life into dying soils in harsh landscapes of the Ethiopian Highlands

Photo: S Punna, ICRISAT


Soils are the foundation of a healthy food system. Decreasing availability of land for agriculture makes it important to ensure its optimum utilization. Continual land degradation needs to be halted and reversed with holistic integrated land management strategies for healthier crops and heathier foods.


Our approaches include creating sustainable soil conservation models for adoption; facilitating a movement among communities to sustain and generate greater impact; practicing in-situ and ex-situ soil conservation for greater sustainability and rehabilitating degraded lands through multi-pronged methods


"Breaking the vicious circle of poverty, poor soils, low inputs and soil degradation that farmers are trapped in is a challenge. Right from the paradigm of “external input” of the 1960s and 1970s to the latest concept of integrated soil fertility management, most approaches remain crop oriented or livestock oriented, with less attention to local communities themselves, which are at the heart of land resource management. New integrated and participative approaches that rope in the socio-economic conditions of rural communities in global strategies to manage crop-livestock systems and land resources including rangelands are needed."

Dr Boubie Vincent Bado, Principal Scientist, Dryland Systems and Livelihood Diversification, West and Central Africa Program

Chander G, Wani SP, Gopalakrishnan S, Mahapatra A, Chaudhury S, Pawar CS, Kaushal M and Rao AVRK. (2018). Microbial consortium culture and vermi-composting technologies for recycling on-farm wastes and food production. International Journal of Recycling of Organic Waste in Agriculture. pp. 1-10. ISSN 2195-3228

Thomas R, Reed M, Clifton K, Appadurai N, Mills A, Zucca C, Kodsi E, Sircely J, Haddad F, Hagen C, Mapedza E, Woldearegay K, Shalander K, Bellon M, Le Q, Mabikke S, Alexander S, Leu S, Schlingloff S, Lala-Pritchard T, Mares V and Quiroz R. (2018). A framework for scaling sustainable land management options. Land Degradation & Development (TSI). pp. 1-13. ISSN 10853278

Wani SP, Chander G and Pardhasaradhi G. (2018). Soil Amendments for Sustainable Intensification. In: Soil Amendments for Sustainability: Challenges and Perspectives. Taylor & Francis, pp. 3-17. ISBN 9780815370772 (Book Chapter)

Wani SP and Patil MD. (2018). Securing soils through people-centric watershed management for sustainable agricultural development. In: A Better World. Volume 4. Actions and commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals. Tudor Rose for UNCCD, UK, pp. 28-32. ISBN 978-0-9956487-5-3 (Book Chapter)

Falk T, Kadiyala MDM, Gumma MK, Kumar S, Whitbread AM, Limberger S and Bartels L. (2018). Advancing knowledge on the costs and benefits of sustainable soil fertility management in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh /India. Project Report. ICRISAT.

Friedrichsen CN, Daroub SH, Monroe MC, Stepp JR and Wani SP. (2018). Mental Models of Soil Management for Food Security in Peri-Urban India. Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems, 3 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2575-1220

Healthier Soils

Sustainable solutions for water resources

Key successes

Tuning into Heavy metal

There exists a need for cost-effective, energy-efficient and eco-friendly wastewater treatment technologies that can also remove heavy metals.

Redress: An algae-based treatment technology called PHYCOSORB was developed. It removes nitrate, phosphate and heavy metals from wastewater. This technology has the potential to produce biodiesel and biomolecules like bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers. Trials have shown metal removal efficiency of 60 -70 %

Related publication

Marella TK, Datta A, Patil MD, Dixit S and Tiwari A. (2019). Biodiesel production through algal cultivation in urban wastewater using algal floway. Bioresource Technology 280: 222-228.

Water not Wasted

Water shortage during crucial crop growth phase is known to affect yields in Ballari of Karnataka state, India.

Redress: A treatment unit that can produce 18 m3 per day of treated wastewater was installed at the village level. The unit’s removal efficiencies for Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), sulfate, phosphate, nitrogen, total suspended solids and total coliform were 64.7%, 57.0%, 32.0%, 62.1%, 96.2% and 89.2%, respectively. As on date, five farmers farming 2.8 hectares of land with meagre water resources are the beneficiaries and are reporting yield increases.

    JSW Foundation, University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, Government of Karnataka and Pranathi Rural Development Society (PRDS).
Related stories
Easing out erosion in West Africa

Water runoff leading to soil erosion is affecting fertility and yields in watershed villages of Mali.

Redress: Introduced farm-level practices like contour bunding with fast growing plant species to control runoff. Composting and irrigation through deep wells powered by solar energy improved production of sorghum and millet by 72% and 58%, respectively increasing farmer income by 20%.


Association Malienne d’Eveil au Développement Durable, Cooperatives of the Mouvement Biologique du Mali, Institut d’Economie Rurale, International Livestock Research Institute, World Vegetable Center, Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Related story

Contour bunding preserves soils and boosts farmers’ incomes by 20% in Mali – new study

Related publication

Birhanu ZB, Traoré K, Gumma MK, Badolo F, Tabo R and Whitbread AM. (2018). A watershed approach to managing rainfed agriculture in the semi-arid region of southern Mali: Integrated research on water and land use. Environment, Development and Sustainability 21 (5): 2459–2485.

Photo: S Punna, ICRISAT


The dual objectives of environmental conservation and enhanced food security are centered around water. This is why water initiatives have been the core of ICRISAT’s approach for people in the semi-arid tropics.


Our approaches include community-based watershed management; water-efficient innovations for conservation and cultivation and management of water and resources.


"Increasing population and growing demand for food and feed mean greater competition for land and water among different users and uses in sub-Saharan Africa. Participatory watershed management practices involving at least 30% women and youth will help strengthen rural community resilience through soil and water conservation technologies such as contour bunding. Improving crop productivity (grain, residue, fodder) using contour bunding can ensure food security in the semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa"

Dr Birhanu Zemadim Birhanu - Senior Scientist - Land and Water Management, West and Central Africa Program

Salian R, Wani SP, Reddy R and Patil MD. (2018). Effect of brewery wastewater obtained from different phases of treatment plant on seed germination of chickpea (Cicer arietinum), maize (Zea mays), and pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan).  Environmental Science and Pollution Research (TSI), 25 (9). pp. 9145-9154. ISSN 0944-1344

Unver O, Wahaj R, Lorenzon E, Mohammadi K, Osias JR, Reinders F, Wani SP, Chuchra  J, Lee P and Sangjun IM. (2018). Key and Smart Actions to Alleviate Hunger and Poverty Through Irrigation and Drainage.  Irrigation and Drainage (TSI), 67 (1). pp. 60-71. ISSN 15310353

Sishodia RP, Shukla S, Wani SP, Graham WD and Jones JW. (2018). Future irrigation expansion outweigh groundwater recharge gains from climate change in semi-arid India.  Science of The Total Environment (TSI), 635. pp. 725-740. ISSN 00489697

Pittock J, Ramshaw P, Bjornlund H, Kimaro E, Mdemu MV, Moyo M, Ndema S, Van Rooyen AF, Stirzaker R and de Sousa W. (2018). Transforming smallholder irrigation schemes in Africa. Monograph. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). (Monograph)

Water Resources

Enhanced nutrition of crops

Key successes

Africa’s first fortified pearl millet

The prevalence of malnutrition, especially in West and Central Africa, needs urgent attention along with better farm practices.

Redress: The launch of Chakti, an extra-early maturing pearl millet variety with bold grey grains and enhanced iron of 57 parts per million (ppm). Also launched ICMV 167001, with 50 ppm iron, 45 ppm zinc and yielding 1.6 tons per hectare. Its bold white grains are preferred by food processors.

Way ahead

Push for greater adoption by farmers


AINOMA seeds company; Amate Seeds company; INRAN (Niger); ISRA (Senegal); INERA (Burkina Faso); IER (Mali); SARI (Ghana); UDUS- Sokoto (Nigeria)

Related stories

ICRISAT releases bio-fortified pearl millet varieties

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

New pearl millet variety to help fight malnutrition in Africa

Du millet enrichi au fer peut aider à combattre l’anémie

Heralding the high-oleic groundnut

Groundnut varieties with higher oleic acid content have longer shelf life, making them more attractive to the market.

Redress: Fast-track approach primes 16 groundnut breeding lines with over 80% oleic acid content as against 45-50% in the regular varieties. As part of the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP), India, final testing is complete and ready for release.


Asia- ICAR-DGR, Junagadh, India; ANGRAU-ARS, Tirupati; UAS-Dharwad, Dharwad; UAS-Raichur, Raichur; TNAU, Coimbatore

Related publication

Janila P, Pandey MK, Shasidhar Y, Variath MT, Sriswathi M, Khera P, Manohar SS, Nagesh P, Vishwakarma MK, Mishra GP, Radhakrishnan T, Manivannan N, Dobariya KL, Vasanthi RP and Varshney RK. (2016). Molecular breeding for introgression of fatty acid desaturase mutant alleles (ahFAD2A and ahFAD2B) enhances oil quality in high and low oil containing peanut genotypes. Plant Science 242: 203–213. ISSN 0168-9452

Case Studies

Iron and zinc content in sorghum landraces in Nigeria analyzed

Exploring crop landraces can make a difference to nutrition outcomes

Redress: An analysis of Fe and Zn content in 403 Kaura and Farafara landraces of sorghum in Nigeria showed average concentration of 70 ppm Fe and 46 ppm Zn.


IAR-ABU Zaria; National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) Ibadan, Nigeria.

Exploring traditional food for better nutrition

Food products developed from locally grown crops could help combat malnutrition and poverty.

Redress: A collaborative study has established that the nutraceutical properties of traditional food products can be enhanced by using varieties of millets rich in bioactives and by optimizing cooking methods. A higher Total Phenol Content was observed in upma mix made with sorghum (3.79 ±0.03 mg CE/g) and health drink made with millets (2.365 ± 0.02 mg CE/g) compared to an upma mix (2.56 ±0.04 mg CE/g) and health drink mix (1.34 ± 0.03 mg CE/g) made with rice. Higher antioxidant activity was also observed in an upma mix made with sorghum and health drink made with millets


University of Pretoria, South Africa

Related story

Making traditional food fashionable again will boost nutrition and food security

Related publication

Alavi S, Mazumdar SD and Taylor JRN. (2019). Modern convenient sorghum and millet food, beverage and animal feed products, and their technologies. Pages 293-329 in Sorghum and Millets: Chemistry, Technology and Nutritional Attributes. Elsevier.

Photo: S Punna, ICRISAT


Decades of crop improvement programs have focused on crops in semi-arid, rainfed systems to achieve multiple goals of productivity, profitability and better nutrition.


Our approaches include crop improvement through modern breeding methods for enhanced nutrition traits; identifying wild and indigenous varieties for nutritional properties and working with the national system and government to release varieties and facilitate adoption.


"Improving genetics to enhance crop nutritional quality holds the key to meeting food industry needs and market demand, and to drive nutrition-sensitive agriculture. One of the key challenges in improving crop nutrition quality is combining nutritional quality traits with high yield potential and adaptation traits in a single cultivar. Notwithstanding the challenge, multi-institutional crop improvement teams commercialized biofortified sorghum and pearl millet cultivars, and more recently ‘High Oleic’ groundnut cultivars were identified for release for the first time in India."

Dr P Janila - Principal Scientist - Groundnut Breeding, Crop Improvement, Asia Program

Laplaze L, Sparvoli F, Masmoudi K and Hash CT. (2018). Harvesting Plant and Microbial Biodiversity for Sustainably Enhanced Food Security. Frontiers in Plant Science (TSI), 9 (42). pp. 1-27. ISSN 1664-462X

Anitha S, Tsusaka TW, Munthali TW, Musukwa M, Mwangwela A, Kalumikiza Z, Manani T, Kachulu Land Kumwenda N, Musoke M and Okori P. (2018). How immediate and significant is the outcome of training on diversified diets, hygiene and food safety? An effort to mitigate child undernutrition in rural Malawi. Public Health Nutrition (TSI), 21 (6). pp. 1156-1166. ISSN 1368-9800

Jakkula VS and Wani SP. (2018). Zeolites: Potential soil amendments for improving nutrient and water use efficiency and agriculture productivity. Scientific Reviews & Chemical Communications, 8 (1). pp. 1-15. ISSN 2277-2669

Ashok Kumar A, Srivastava RK, Govindaraj M, Gorthy S, Gaddameedi A, Kunapareddy A, Kotla A and Jaganathan J. (2018). Application of Plant Breeding and Genomics for Improved Sorghum, and Pearl Millet Grain Nutritional Quality. In: Sorghum and Millets: Chemistry, Technology and Nutritional Attributes. Elsevier, pp. 51-68. ISBN 978-0-12-811527-5 (Book Chapter)

Govindaraj M, Kanatti A and Rai KN. (2018). Breeding Biofortified Pearl Millet Cultivars Unlock Millet Markets for Nutrition. In: Proceedings of 3rd International Millet Symposium (3rd International Symposium on Broomcorn Millet), August 8-12, 2018, Marriot Inn, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Wani SP and Sawargaonkar GL. (2018). Future Smart Crops for paddy fallow agri-food systems in Southeast Asia. In: Future Smart Food - Rediscovering hidden treasures of neglected and underutilized species for Zero Hunger in Asia. FAO, Bangkok, Thailand, pp. 61-78. ISBN 978-92-5-130495-2

Friedrichsen CN, Daroub SH, Monroe MC, Stepp JR and Wani SP. (2018).Mental Models of Soil Management for Food Security in Peri-Urban India. Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems, 3 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2575-1220 (health)

Nutrition of crops

Healthier value chains

Key successes

Driving demand in untapped African and Asian urban markets

Building large markets for farmers can be achieved by growing urban demand. Modern convenience products are typically required and finding ways that these are also healthy and tasty is important.

Redress: Processed millet, sorghum and pigeonpea products were tested in urban markets in Tanzania and Myanmar and showed positive market response. In Myanmar, focus group testing of a wide range of processed foods revealed acceptance across age groups, with more than 60% of the consumers saying they would buy Smart Foods. In Tanzania, product options were demonstrated with processors. One processor was selected to design a final product and test market acceptance through actual sales. In just one week, she generated an additional US$ 2,672 in revenue, creating a market demand of almost 1,000 kg of grain per week. This work was undertaken by Smart Food and SOMNI project funded by the Australian government and IFAD. Scaling out these Smart Foods in urban markets can bring benefits to processors and farmers alike.


Asia: Joanna Kane-Potaka; Africa: Christine Wangari, NARS partners

Related story

The Stories of ‘Sorghum’ Agatha And 'Seed' Mary

South India’s entrepreneurial farmers

Dryland farmers need more profitable avenues through value chains and expertise.

Redress: The Agribusiness and Innovation Platform of ICRISAT established processing units in villages in partnership with a global corporate’s model to create opportunities for 6,000 dryland farmers. Also created entrepreneurial opportunities and enhanced nutrition of women and youth.


Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre

Related story

Over 6,000 farmers to benefit from agribusiness initiatives in Andhra Pradesh, India

Nutri-Food Baskets reach out to tribal Telangana

Women and children in tribal households were found to be affected by malnutrition, a concern that is high on the priority of development agenda.

Redress: The Agribusiness and Innovation Platform introduced a Nutri-Food Basket to 5000 tribal households, especially for pregnant and lactating women and children under five years. The basket's components were prepared from local ingredients to provide energy, protein, fat and micronutrients. After 9 months, tests showed a 73% decline in wasting (severe underweight) in the children.


Kisangates Agroinformatics India Pvt. Ltd



Farming needs to be more economically viable for millions of small and marginal farmers in the semi-arid tropics of the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ICRISAT’s unique approach of demand-driven innovation across the value chain enables farmers to achieve improved incomes.


Our approaches include public-private partnerships, from the field to the policy level; engaging women and youth in value chains and leadership and innovation potential and possibilities for market opportunities.


"We designed and implemented a variety of social and behavior change interventions that aimed at improving feeding practices in rural communities. The nutrition initiative, being part of a larger project that took on a whole value chain approach, ensured that communities not only had the appropriate nutrition information and skills in food preparation, but due to efforts by our crops team, they also had access to food."

Ms Christine Wangari - Communications and Projects Specialist, Eastern and Southern Africa Program

Laplaze L, Sparvoli F, Masmoudi K and Hash CT. (2018). Harvesting Plant and Microbial Biodiversity for Sustainably Enhanced Food Security. Frontiers in Plant Science (TSI), 9 (42). pp. 1-27. ISSN 1664-462X

Sidibe A, Totin E, Thompson-Hall M, Traore OT, Traore PCS and Olabisi LS. (2018). Multi-scale governance in agriculture systems: Interplay between national and local institutions around the production dimension of food security in Mali. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences (TSI), 84. pp. 94-102. ISSN 15735214

Sharma KK, Pothana A, Prasad K, Shah D, Kaur J, Bhatnagar D, Chen ZY, Raruang  Y, Cary JW, Rajasekaran K, Sudini H and Bhatnagar-Mathur P. (2018). Peanuts that keep aflatoxin at bay: a threshold that matters. Plant Biotechnology Journal. pp. 1-10. ISSN 14677644

Kane-Potaka J. (2018). Breaking the food-system divide with Smart Food: good for you, the planet and the farmer. In: Proceedings of the Crawford Fund 2018 Annual Conference, 13–14 August 2018, Parliament House, Canberra ACT, Australia.

Selvaraj A, Karnan RV, Majumdar S, Divya Nancy G, Mane H, Durgulla P, Suchiradipta  B and Siva Shankar A. (2018). Sustainable Agricultural Development through Value Addition and Linking of Farmers to Markets in Telangana State of India.Advances in Research, 17 (5). pp. 1-10. ISSN 2348-0394

Vabi MB, Chris EO, Ayuba K, Babu MN, Aisha MA, Haruna, Sanusi GS, Gaya MS, Alabi  O, Adobe K and Ajeigbe HA. (2018). Towards a successful management of aflatoxin contamination in legume and cereal farming systems in northern Nigeria: A case study of the groundnut value chain. African Journal of Agriculture and Food Security, 6 (7). pp. 269-276. ISSN 2375-1177

Orr A, Donovan J and Stoian D. (2018). Smallholder value chains as complex adaptive systems: a conceptual framework. Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, 8 (1). pp. 14-33. ISSN 2044-0839egional Food Systems, 3 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2575-1220 (health)

Healthier Value Chains

Communities make healthier production choices

Key successes

Spreading seeds: Growing demand for biofortified pearl millet

Small and marginal farmers find it difficult to access seeds of improved varieties such as biofortified pearl millet.

Redress: High-yielding pearl millet hybrids ICMH 1202 (AHB 1200) and ICMH 1203 (HHB 299) biofortified with iron and zinc were notified for all-India cultivation. Breeder seed of Dhanashakti variety was supplied nationally, while hybrids GHB 1203 and GHB 1225 were identified for Gujarat state. Additionally, 36 biofortified inbreds (70-113 ppm Fe; 36-60 ppm Zn) were shared with partners.


Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Utnoor; Kisangates Agro informatics Private Limited; Ridgeland Industries Pvt Ltd; Boutique Foods LLP; Mathesis Engineers Pvt Ltd.;Dream NGO

Related stories

ICRISAT releases bio-fortified pearl millet varieties

Proceedings of the52ndAnnual Pearl Millet Workshop All India CoordinatedResearch Project on Pearl Millet

Tech for tribal farmers of Telangana, India

Smallholder farmers in remote areas often do not have exposure to technologies.

Redress: Over 500 tribal farmers from across Telangana were trained in new technologies in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, vegetable cultivation, fisheries and dairy farming. Training included field and industry visits.


ICAR-AICRP-PM; CCSHAU-Hisar; NARP-Aurangabad; JAU-Jamnagar; RARI- Durgapura; MPKV- Dhule West Africa (15 partners); IER; GRAADECOM; EUCORD; CAAD, CAEB; AMEDD; AKF; BØRNEfonden; AOPP; AMASSA; World Vision; ADAF/Gallè; Sahel 21; Plan International; Faso Kaba

Cutting down aflatoxin contamination in Africa

The huge concern of aflatoxin in Africa could be managed with better practices.

Redress: Integrated crop management technologies were demonstrated in West Africa leading to effective adoption by farmers. This resulted in significant reduction in aflatoxin contamination of up to 11.2 ppb in groundnut, higher crop value and improved health and nutritional security.


Aga Khan Foundation; Association des Organisations Professionnelles Paysannes (AOPP); Catholic Relief Services (CRS); Compagnie Malienne pour le Développement des Textiles Nord- EST (CMDT-EST); Compagnie Malienne pour le Développement des Textiles - SUD (CMDT-SUD); European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD); Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER); myAgro; Sproxil

Related story

Promoting Climate-Smart farming in sub-Saharan Africa

Improved tech, enhanced crop production

Better farm practices, including latest agri-technologies and training, can help struggling farmers raise their productivity and incomes.

Redress: About 40,835 farmers in Mali were trained on various improved technologies for millets and sorghum and over 32,028 farmers applied them in their own farms. This was part of the Africa RISING’s Large-scale Diffusion of Technologies for Sorghum and Millet Systems (ARDT_SMS) project.

Results: Yields increased by up to 60%


Aga Khan Foundation; Association des Organisations Professionnelles Paysannes (AOPP); Catholic Relief Services (CRS); Compagnie Malienne pour le Développement des Textiles Nord- EST (CMDT-EST); Compagnie Malienne pour le Développement des Textiles - SUD (CMDT-SUD); European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD); Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER); myAgro ; Sproxil.

Related stories

Innovation Platforms in Mali set up to sustain impact of Africa RISING project

Better Seed and Technologies Bring Windfall to Nah Dramé

Knowledge + Passion: Women’s Recipe in Millet and Sorghum Production in Mali

Africa Rising's Diffusion of Technologies for Sorghum and Millet Systems

Photo: S Punna,ICRISAT


Adoption of improved varieties, uptake of new technologies and sustainable on-farm practices are some of the choices that improve the health of crops, livestock and people. While research may help develop these, it is the farmers who make these improved choices for healthier production.


Our approaches include increasing efficiency of smallholder farmers with tools and technologies; greater adoption of varieties with relevance to climate change and nutritional traits and involving in interventions that make a positive impact on livestock and human health.


"Today, feeding the world simply by means of calories is no longer viable. We have been struggling for decades to address malnutrition in developing countries despite huge investments in public health by governments. Biofortification breeding in staple food crops is an emerging sustainable solution to this problem. Biofortification is happening together with yield improvement and adds value to crops by narrowing down the genetic gaps between yield and nutrition. Therefore, nutritional traits should be the central goal of crop breeding in national and international research institutes."

Dr Govindaraj Mahalingam - Senior Scientist - Pearl Millet, Breeding, Crop Improvement, Asia Program

Wani SP and Raju KV. (2018). Corporate Social Responsibility: Win-win Propositions for Communities, Corporates and Agriculture. CABI. ISBN 9781786394514

Sidibe A, Totin E, Thompson-Hall M, Traore OT, Traore PCS and Olabisi LS. (2018). Multi-scale governance in agriculture systems: Interplay between national and local institutions around the production dimension of food security in Mali. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences (TSI), 84. pp. 94-102. ISSN 15735214

Parimi V, Kotamraju V and Sudini H. (2018).On-Farm Demonstrations with a Set of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Proved Cost-Effective in Reducing Pre-Harvest Aflatoxin Contamination in Groundnut. Agronomy, 8(2) (10). pp. 1-13. ISSN 2073-4395

Production Choices

Communities make healthier consumption choices

Key successes

Aware and attentive to aflatoxin

Awareness about aflatoxin can reduce contamination that damages crops and decreases incomes.

Redress: Over 35,000 stakeholders, 46 schools and 127 women groups in Mali were sensitized about aflatoxin’s effect on nutrition and health, through training sessions and media campaigns. This resulted in higher awareness and better preparedness in the general population. In Mali, an earlier report showed prevalence of aflatoxin contamination in farmer granaries (450 ppb), in traders stocks (120 ppb) and in groundnut markets (250 ppb), much higher than international standards (4 ppb in the EU and 20 ppb in the United States).

From 2015-2018, samples from improved technology plots and farmers’ practices plots had an average of 3.64 ppb and 18.36 ppb of aflatoxin levels respectively.


Africa – Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania

Related story

Promoting climate-smart farming in sub-Saharan Africa

Delivering nutrition messages through Smart Food community ambassadors

Building a dedicated cadre of community messengers.


Parents of over 60,000 children below age 5 were reached with Smart Food nutrition messages. In just one year, women and children’s behavior changed significantly towards a more micronutrient-rich diet with a 15% increase in diet diversity for women and almost 80% increase for children.


Egerton University, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) ; part of Feed the Future Kenya Accelerated Value Chain Development (AVCD) Program, Kenya

Related story

Stories of impact: From the drought tolerant crops value chain

Schooling pigeonpea and finger millet in Tanzania

Behavior change is at the core of building markets.

Redress: Pigeonpea, finger millet and sorghum were introduced in school meals to over 2,000 children in four schools in central Tanzania. This was possible after working with school chefs to design menus and also conducting fun information sessions with students. Feedback showed that 87% of children changed their negative perception about these crops; 91% and 98% of the children wanted to include pigeonpea and finger millet respectively in school meals.


Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)

Related story

Tanzania Activities

Related flyer

Smart Food in Tanzania: Pilot study to make healthier and cost-effective school meals

Signing up Smart Food brand ambassadors

Engaging ambassadors to reach more people.

Redress: Niger’s First Lady, Dr Lalla Malika Issoufou, pledged her support to Smart Food and led Niger’s first national millet festival. Three celebrity African chefs based in Paris and London became Smart Food Ambassadors, spreading the word through media. Chef Aissatou M’Baye, the Senegalese culinary blogger based in Paris, developed and shared millet and legume recipes through her social media, reaching nearly 500,000 people with 876,437 comments (impressions).

Related stories

 Niger government takes higher stand on pearl millet

Smartfood Ambassadors

Senegalese chef champions the benefits of Smart Food through social media

1ère Edition du Festival International du Mil (festimil) à Niamey

Maximizing nutritional benefits from millets in diets

How millets are cooked and combined with other foods can lead to greater acceptance and nutritional impacts

Redress: About 1,500 school children in two schools in the state of Karnakaka were fed a millet-based meal. Children from two other schools fed the standard fortified rice and sambar midday meal were the control group for comparison. Ten percent of the children were tracked for their growth (using anthropometric measurements) and sensory evaluations were noted every month to see if the children liked each of the millet meals. After just 3 months, children showed 50% faster growth, an average increase in height of 1.5% and average increase in weight of 5% than those eating the usual fortified rice-based meals, from the time of the baseline measurement. The rice consuming control group showed an average increase in height of 1% and average increase in weight of 3% from the baseline. Also the children rated the millet-based meals 4.5 or higher out of 5 for taste, including eating little millet as rice. This Smart Food study was undertaken together with Akshaya Patra.


AkshayaPatra Foundation

Related publication

Anitha S, Kane-Potaka J, Tsusaka TW, Tripathi D, Upadhyay S, Kavishwar A, Jalagam A, Sharma N and Nedumaran S. 2019. Acceptance and impact of millet-based mid-day meal on the nutritional status of adolescent school going children in a peri urban region of Karnataka State in India. Nutrients 11 (9):1-16.



Driving the demand for healthier foods through greater momentum for healthier crops and dietary diversity is key to a healthier food system. As part of this process, a consumer buzz is being created around the nutrition and ecological aspects of crops in the semi-arid tropics.


Our approaches include awareness around concerns such as aflatoxin for ensuring healthier consumption; working with influencers and policy makers to create greater momentum for millets, sorghum and legumes; promoting consumption of value-added products with improved health benefits and introducing Smart Food to new consumer groups to widen the consumer segment.


"Enhancing the consumption of dryland crops can play a catalyzing role in creating economic opportunities for rural communities, entrepreneurs and youth. The challenge lies in making available appropriate and affordable processing technologies to deliver nutritious and scientifically validated value-added food products to consumers to ensure sustainable business enterprises and demand for dryland crops. Providing an “ecosystem” by setting up agribusiness incubators to foster innovation and entrepreneurship is key to ensuring the sustainability of entrepreneurs, more so among rural communities."

Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar - Chief Operating Officer (COO), NutriPlus Knowledge (NPK) Program, Agribusiness & innovation Platform

Murendo C, Nhau B, Mazvimavi K, Khanye T and Gwara S. (2018). Nutrition education, farm production diversity, and commercialization on household and individual dietary diversity in Zimbabwe. Food & Nutrition Research (TSI), 62. pp. 1-12. ISSN 1654-6628

Padmaja R, Pramanik S and Kasala K. (2018). Understanding the links between farmer’s income and nutritional status: a panel data analysis in the semi-arid tropics of India. In: Contemporary Issues in Indian Agriculture. Social and Economic Change Monographs (60). Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, pp. 26-44. ISBN 8177911597

Consumption Choices

Science for healthier farming

Key successes

Endgame for aflatoxin in peanut

Aflatoxins produced by fungi, mainly Aspergilli, are a health hazard in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where the fungi thrive. Aflatoxin is associated with carcinogenesis in humans and animals. Until recently, controlling fungal infection in peanuts before harvest was a major challenge given the complexity of peanut-aspergilli pathosystem.

Redress: Two lines of peanut were developed, one with over-expression of certain plant defense proteins (defensins) and the other that can silence a few genes in the invading fungus. These showed that aflatoxins can be kept at bay and how the two methods, Overexpressing Defensins and Host-induced Gene Silencing, could together make peanuts nearly immune to aflatoxin. The publication of these results showed very high impact.


Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Missouri, Louisiana State University (LSU) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Related publication

Sharma KK, Pothana A, Prasad K, Shah D, Kaur J, Bhatnagar D, Chen ZY, Raruang Y, Cary JW, Rajasekaran K, Sudini H and Bhatnagar-Mathur P. (2017) Peanuts that keep aflatoxin at bay: a threshold that matters. Plant Biotechnology Journal. pp. 1-10. ISSN 14677644

Integrated approaches, improved incomes in south India

Low yields, inefficient water use and low income are deterrents to increasing investments in agriculture.

Redress: Through an integrated approach in some districts of Karnataka state in India, interventions including improved cultivars, mechanization, crop intensification and diversification, fodder development, water management and pest and nutrient management led to 15-20% increase in water use efficiency, 15-40% yield increase and income rise of over US$ 120-150 per hectare in four districts of the state.


Government of Karnataka, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, International Rice Research Institute, International Livestock Research Institute, International Water Management Institute, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research and Karnataka state agriculture universities.

Related publication

Bhoosamrudhi: Improving Rural Livelihoods through Innovative Scaling-up of Science-led Participatory Research for Development

Agronomy in Nigeria gets a boost

Improvements in agriculture to be conveyed to farmers across the region for increasing productivity.

Redress: Training in agronomy in Nigeria resulted in improved post-harvest handling by farmers and extension agents. Use of new technologies contributed to grain yield increases of 30% to 64% (improved varieties), 27% to 38% (seed dressing) and 20% to 55% (tillage practices).


Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and AfricaRice.

Breaking India's pigeonpea yield barrier

Pigeonpea productivity remains one of the concerns for major pulse producers like India.

Redress: Participatory management practices were demonstrated across 7,500 hectares in 15 districts of five Indian states. Farmers were shown seed treatment, in-situ soil and moisture conservation techniques, nipping and line sowing. Demonstrations with ICPH 2740, a pigeonpea hybrid, resulted in yields averaging around 1.5 tons per hectare. The highest recorded yield was 3.8 tons per hectare in Osmanabad, Maharashtra state.

    Department of Agriculture, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, NGO partners, Maharashtra State Seed Corporation and National Seeds Cooperation.
Insights into chickpea's genome diversity

Tapping into the best genetic material is key to accelerating genetic gains in crops.

Redress: Whole genome sequencing of 429 chickpea germplasm lines sampled from 45 countries lays the foundation for large-scale characterization of germplasm, population genomics and serves as a resource for trait dissection, accelerating genetic gains in future breeding. Genome-wide association studies identified 262 markers and several candidate genes for 13 traits.

    Department of Agriculture, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, NGO partners, Maharashtra State Seed Corporation and National Seeds Cooperation.
Gender-responsive agriculture for SSA

Gender-responsive research is essential for improved outcomes in smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa. How can agriculture be gender-responsive?

Redress: Through trainings organized by Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT), agricultural researchers learnt the theory and practice of gender-responsive research for equitable participation in research activities for the benefit of women farmers, entrepreneurs and farm organizations across sub-Saharan Africa.

    Gates Foundation-funded Tropical Legumes III, Cornell University and Makerere University.

Photo: L Vidyasagar, ICRISAT


Scientific research is the base of our work in the semi-arid tropics. From innovations to building capacity of researchers to partnering institutions for better impact, the science base provides opportunities for improving livelihoods and building healthier communities.


Our approaches include genomics to fast-track improvement of crops with healthier traits; tested practices for improved outcomes in smallholder agriculture; genebank repository of millets and legumes in the world for biodiversity conservation and gender-responsive research for men and women farmers’ equitable participation.


"Engaging with GREAT project to customize a training for our TL III partners was the structured opportunity to get the ‘breeder and the social scientist’ in the same room talking about their common agenda, unravelling the disciplinary facets of their breeding program. Each discipline presented, asked questions and together started making ‘joint’ plans that were gender responsive. In the busy schedules of implementing our different pieces of activities in programs, we miss the opportunity to speak to each other and transform our delivery to be truly gender responsive."

Dr Esther Njuguna Mungai - Senior Scientist (Gender Research), Eastern and Southern Africa Program

Gaur PM, Varshney RK, Upadhyaya HD, Vadez V, Sharma KK, Bhatnagar-Mathur P, Sameer Kumar CV, Janila P, Srinivasan S, Sajja S, Sharma S, Thudi M, Roorkiwal M, Saxena RK, Pandey MK, Ranga Rao GV, Sharma M, Sudini H, Gopalakrishnan S, Ganga Rao NVPR, Fikre A, Ojiewo CO, Shewayrga H, Motagi BN and Okori P. (2018). Advances in Food Legumes Research at ICRISAT. Ethiopian Journal of Crop Science, 6 (3). pp. 1-47. ISSN 2072-8506

Maru YT, Sparrow A, Butler JRA, Banerjee O, Ison R, Hall A and Carberry PS. (2018). Towards appropriate mainstreaming of “Theory of Change” approaches into agricultural research for development: Challenges and opportunities. Agricultural Systems (TSI), 165. pp. 344-353. ISSN 0308521X

Chander G, Pathak P, Wani SP, Pardhasaradhi G and Dasgupta SK. (2018). Scaling-up of Science-led Development - Sir Dorabji Tata Trust Initiative. In: Corporate Social Responsibility: Win-win Propositions for Communities, Corporates and Agriculture. CABI, pp. 145-160. ISBN 9781786394514

Varshney RK, Singh VK, Kumar A, Powell W and Sorrells ME. (2018). Can genomics deliver climate-change ready crops? Current Opinion in Plant Biology (TSI), 45 (B). pp. 205-211. ISSN 1369-5266

Govindaraj M, Ashok Kumar A, Srinivasan S, Janila P, Hingane A, Sajja S and Gaur PM. (2018). Biofortification research on dryland cereals and grain legumes at ICRISAT. In: IPNI Research Cooperators' Meet 2018 & International Symposium on "Advancements in Soil, Water and Plant Nutrition Research", November 02-03, 2018, Vasantrao Naik State Agricultural Extension Management Training Institute (VANAMATI) (Nagpur).

Dinesh D, Zougmore RB, Vervoort J, Totin E, Thornton P, Solomon D, Shirsath P, Pede  V, Lopez Noriega I, Läderach P, Körner J, Hegger D, Girvetz E, Friis A, Driessen P and Campbell B. (2018). Facilitating Change for Climate-Smart Agriculture through Science-Policy Engagement. Sustainability (TSI), 10 (8) (2616). pp. 1-21. ISSN 2071-1050

Sameer Kumar CV, Ganga Rao NVPR, Saxena RK, Saxena KB, Upadhyaya HD, Siambi M, Silim S, Nand Reddy KN, Hingane AJ, Sharma M, Sharma S, Lyimo SD, Ubwe R, Makenge  M, Gad K, Kimurto PK, Amane M, Kanenga K, Obong Y, Monyo E, Ojiewo CO,  Mallela Venkata NK, Polineni Rao J, Lakkireddy P, Chourat S, Singh I, Sajja S, Beliappa SH and Varshney RK. (2018). Pigeonpea improvement: An amalgam of breeding and genomic research. Plant Breeding (TSI). pp. 1-10. ISSN 01799541

Thornton PK, Whitbread AM, Baedeker T, Cairns J, Claessens L, Baethgen W, Bunn  C, Friedmann M, Giller KE, Herrero M, Howden M, Kilcline K, Nangia V, Ramirez-Villegas J, Kumar S, West PC and Keating B. (2018).A framework for priority-setting in climate smart agriculture research. Agricultural Systems (TSI), 167. pp. 161-175. ISSN 0308521X

Kumar S, Kadiyala MDM, Gumma MK, Elias Khan P, Khatri-Chhetri A, Aggarwal P, Murthy CSR, Chakravarthy K and Whitbread AM. (2018). Towards climate-smart agricultural policies and investments in Telangana. CCAFS

Science for Farming

Research for human health

Key successes

Promising resource: Lower Glycaemic Index pearl millet hybrid seeds

It is projected that approximately 41 million people will have type 2 diabetes by 2045. Even a 1% reduction in the incidence of diabetes through a modification in diet could have significant social and economic impacts.

Redress: This project builds on the hypothesis that pearl millet has significant genetic variation for favorable starch components leading to low glycaemic index (GI), and lower and stable plasma glucose levels. Ten high SDS (slowly digestible starch) lines were crossed with a common good general combiner seed parent 843-22A to generate 10 testcross hybrids for multilocation evaluation. Two of the commercially viable hybrids showed good grain yield, agronomic superiority and disease resistance (blast and downy mildew), making it ready to commercialize hybrid seeds.

    Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), Government of Telangana, CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals
Addressing anemia and nutritional deficiencies among tribal mothers and children in India

The tribal districts of Asifabad, Jayashankar Bhupalpally and Bhadradi Kothegudem in Telangana, India show lack of dietary diversity and nutritional deficiencies manifesting as stunting and wasting in children and anemia among pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under 6 years.

Redress: Project "Giri Poshana" (tribal nutrition) provides nutrition support to 13,000 tribals using energy dense and nutritionally balanced food products developed by ICRISAT, using locally available sorghum, millets and pulses and covering 12 mandals (administrative units) spread across 414 angawadi (community feeding) centers. Capacity building and creating awareness about nutrition and food safety has been an integral part of the initiative. The Government plans to expand this intervention to 30 fully Scheduled mandals of the state within 2-3 years.

    Ridgeland Industries Pvt Ltd, Regal Foods Pvt Ltd, Mathesis Engineers Pvt Ltd., Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), Government of Telangana and CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals.

Diet diversification program aims to improve health of 13,000 tribal people in South India

Managing malnutrition in Bangladesh

There is a high rate of malnutrition among children in the flood affected “Char areas" (river banks) of Bangladesh

Redress: Four hundred and sixty four primary school children between 5 to 10 years in Jamalpur and Lalmonirhat districts of Bangladesh were provided with energy dense peanut-based supplements (peanut bar and peanut biscuits) formulated using peanuts grown by smallholder farmers. This resulted in improved attendance of children in the schools. An end-line study to monitor the effect of the intervention on anthropometric parameters and hemoglobin levels after 6 months of feeding trials is in progress.

    Pran Agro Ltd and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI)
Drive for dietary diversity in Zimbabwe

Nutrition level in small farm households is often low. Lack of dietary diversity is one of the reasons.

Redress: Two studies in 3,801 households revealed that promoting nutrition education, crop diversification with pulses and livestock diversification, and improving access to markets improved dietary diversity of farm households by 9 to 24%.


Department for International Development, Government of UK and FAO

Related publication

Nutrition education, farm production diversity, and commercialization on household and individual dietary diversity in Zimbabwe

Improved ELISA-based protocol developed; identified hypoallergenic groundnut lines for major allergens

Monitoring groundnut-based products and their sources to detect allergens is key to developing improved groundnut varieties with minimum/no allergens and in estimating the levels in groundnut-based products in the food chain to ensure food safety.

Redress: Developed the first ELISA-based protocol for five allergens to estimate their quantities in groundnut kernels. Wide variation was found in allergen proteins in allergens Ara h 1 (77 – 46,106 μg/g), Ara h 2 (265 - 5426 μg/g), Ara h 3 (382 - 12676 μg/g), Ara h 6 (949 - 43375 µg/g) and Ara h 8 (0.385 - 6 μg/g). More samples are being screened to identify genes and alleles responsible for allergenic proteins for further deployment in accelerated development of hypoallergenic groundnut varieties using genomics-assisted breeding.


Asia- ICAR-Directorate of Groundnut Research, Junagadh, India

Related publication

Pandey AK, Varshney RK, Sudini HK, Pandey MK. 2019. An improved enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based protocol using seeds for detection of five major peanut allergens Ara h1, Ara h2, Ara h3, Ara h6 and Ara h8. Frontiers in Nutrition.



Underpinning much of our scientific research in enhanced crop, value chains or consumption is the objective of better human health. The rural communities of food producers as well as those impacted by the consuming practices are tackled simultaneously through food.


Our approaches include working to identify the health and nutrition needs of the community; providing solutions towards addressing these concerns through the pathway of sustainable food production and consumption and study impact in contributions to human health.


"When talking about health with rural women and in rural communities, I realize that the biggest challenge is their understanding of “health”. They relate health to disease. Women, most of the time, relate health to their children’s or family health and not their own health. As a researcher, I first make them understand the difference between health and disease. Then follows the more detailed conversation about their health, children’s health and how it is linked to food, nutrition, well being and happiness."

Dr Padmaja Ravula - Senior Scientist - Gender Research, Markets, Institutions, Nutrition & Diversity, Innovation Systems for the Drylands Program

For more information


Friedrichsen CN, Daroub SH, Monroe MC, Stepp JR and Wani SP. (2018). Mental Models of Soil Management for Food Security in Peri-Urban India. Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems, 3 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2575-1220

Vabi MB, Ogara I, Toba AF, Oluwabaniwo F, Alabi O, Ajeigbe HA and Denloye  S. (2018). Aflatoxins in Nigerian Groundnut: Continuous Threat to Health, Agriculture and Foreign Trade, Policy Brief 35. ICRISAT.

Njoroge SMC. (2018). A Critical Review of Aflatoxin Contamination of Peanuts in Malawi and Zambia: The Past, Present, and Future. Plant Disease (TSI), 102 (12). pp. 2394-2406. ISSN 0191-2917

Sharma KK, Pothana A, Prasad K, Shah D, Kaur J, Bhatnagar D, Chen ZY, Raruang Y, Cary JW, Rajasekaran K, Sudini H and Bhatnagar-Mathur P. (2018). Peanuts that keep aflatoxin at bay: a threshold that matters. Plant Biotechnology Journal. pp. 1-10. ISSN 14677644

Human Health


Board Chair message

Dr Paco Sereme

Health is one of the biggest concerns in this world today and is key in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of a consortium that is the CGIAR System, we have to show how we are contributing to the SDGs.

This year we are referring to ‘Healthy Food Systems’ – the need of many people and focus of institutions across the world. This is a holistic approach which includes natural resource management, water, the environment, crop and animal health, and human health, of course.

It has been decades since ICRISAT has focused its research programs on the productivity and nutritional quality of our mandate crops and also on how those crops are reacting to climate change. A new initiative (Systems Biology) that the Board has approved is dealing with key questions such as: What is the impact of our mandate crops? What is the impact if we are using those crops in a compound diet? We are trying to link agriculture and health, and we are not alone. ICRISAT is doing this in partnerships and our science is contributing to addressing the big concern that is health.


Director General message

Dr Peter Carberry

I’m very pleased to present ICRISAT’s Annual Report 2018. This showcases our work on science, holistic development and achieved impacts. We strongly believe in the potential of science to make a difference in the lives of small and marginal farmers in the semi-arid tropics, as has been our mission for over 46 years. Critically, how to explicitly manage for risks in agriculture, especially climate-related, but also nutritional, environmental and societal, presents the real challenge for science and technology today.

At a time when the world is focusing on global challenges of food security, nutrition and climate resilience, ICRISAT’s learnings and research on hardy dryland crops in semi-arid ecologies have never been more relevant. The 2018 Annual Report with the theme ‘Healthy Food Systems: The Foundation for a Better World’ captures how nutrition and environmental resilience have been progressively integrated into all our research that encompasses the agricultural R4D value chain.

The CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals, which ICRISAT leads, reported significant impacts in 2018. We cherish the many partnerships that we have formed through this global research partnership and look forward to more exciting science and impact in the year ahead.


Highlights 2018

Healthy Food Systems – ICRISAT’s theme for the 2018 Annual Report

Back to Top

Across the semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa, ICRISAT’s work for over 46 years has intertwined scientific research in agriculture, but the underlying emphasis has been on health, the environment and livelihoods. This edition of the Annual Report is an effort to place at the center of discourse, the institution’s contribution to ‘Health’ and ‘Healthy Food Systems’ – not just from the perspective of people, but also for the planet, sustainable living and a healthier world. Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, it also effectively feeds into the existing and emerging priorities of the CGIAR.

Research outcomes

CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (CRP-GLDC)

Back to Top

This is the first year that ICRISAT is reporting on the CRP-GLDC, a CRP that we are gratified to lead along with our valuable partners. This CRP aims to increase the productivity, profitability, resilience and marketability of nine grain legumes and cereals through priority research for development initiatives.


Key results

  • Expansion of multilocation and national testing sites resulted in commercialization of 73 cultivars of the GLDC crop commodities in 16 target countries of Africa and Asia.
  • An ex-ante poverty impact evaluation conducted by the CRP-GLDC showed that early-maturing and drought-tolerant grain legumes and dryland cereals varieties and hybrids with resistance to pests and diseases are the priority research and technology options.
  • The role of gender norms and social change in technology adoption and distribution of benefits from adoption was established.
  • Modelling frameworks are being considered to evaluate the trade-offs and co-design farming systems, besides looking at portfolios of household activities, enterprises and management practices that enhance livelihoods.
  • Breeding for heat tolerance in chickpea and pearl millet and for low nutrient adaptation in cowpea and groundnut were mainstreamed.
  • Machine-harvestable chickpea and lentil to promote youth and women entrepreneurship, high oleic groundnut for nutrition and grain sorghum suitable for brewing were market traits of industrial importance that were focused on.
  • Modernized breeding efforts and pre-breeding for prioritized traits together with genomics, transgenics, phenomics and breeding tools were undertaken.

Progress towards the CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework

  • 361,000 ha: Chickpea in Myanmar under improved cultivars, released through a partnership between Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) and ICRISAT
  • 1.845 million ha: Area covered by pearl millet hybrids commercialized in India under the Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC); gave an additional income of US$ 74 per ha, equivalent to US$ 133 million per year in India
  • 572,000 households: Direct beneficiaries of the adoption of innovative technologies in Karnataka state, India
  • Yields double from 660 kg/ha (1998) to 1400 kg/ha (2017): Adopting of new chickpea varieties
  • Adoption of biofortified pearl millet cultivar Dhanashakti in India; 35,000 farmers >65,000 ha
  • New biofortified cultivars released contributing to improved diets:
    • India: Sorghum (Parbhani Shakti)
    • Bangladesh: Lentil (Barimasur 9)
    • Nepal: Lentil (Khajuro Masuro 4)
    • Kenya: Pearl millet (EUFM 403) in Kenya)


Multi-model systems analysis was used to identify Low Emissions Development Pathways – exploring synergies and trade-offs in south India

The Crop Network Group (CNG) as a platform for crop Product design, development, testing advancement and delivery in Africa

Introgression of high oleic trait in groundnut

Capacity development:


Full list of capacity development activities:



Peer-reviewed publications 252

Open Access 159

ISI 156

Full list of publications:

Communication Highlights

Back to Top

Global media footprint 

Increased global media coverage with a footprint of over 110 media exposures




Communicating science 



  • 50 videos created to share messages.
  • Over 147 original stories written for the web and newsletter
  • Revival of ICRISAT Happenings as a weekly internal newsletter and monthly external

Highlights 2018

Governing Board

Paco Sereme
Burkina Faso, Chair, ICRISAT GB
(From Oct 2018)
Nigel Wells Kerby
Britain, Chair, ICRISAT GB
(Till Sep 2018)
Trilochan Mohapatra
India, Vice Chair ICRISAT GB
David Bergvinson
Canada, Director General, ICRISAT
(Till Oct 2018)
Peter Carberry
Director General, ICRISAT
Rachel K Chikwamba
SK Joshi
Shobhana Pattanayak
(Till Sep 2018)
Sanjay Agarwal
(From Oct 2018)
Sissel Rogne
Wendy Umberger
Oluwande Muoyo
(Till Apr 2018)
Folasade Ogunde
(From Apr 2018)
Laurie Tollefson
Paul C Anderson
(Till Aug 2018)

Governing Board

About Us


We believe all people have a right to nutritious food and a better livelihood.


This belief has been the driving force for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) since it was instituted in 1972. Today, the journey of transformation has extended its horizons over 6.5 million square kilometers of land across 55 countries.

ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that addresses key concerns of food and nutrition security, in a sustainable manner. The dryland tropics increase the stress of poverty and hunger on people, making it important to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our innovations enable communities to move to better livelihoods, working across the entire value chain – from improved seeds and technologies to post-harvest agri-business and enhanced market access.

The key pillars of our work address poverty, nutrition and environmental degradation contributing thereby, towards the SDGs. ICRISAT focuses on improved productivity and nutritive properties of six crops – chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet – selected specifically for their hardiness, appropriate to the semi-arid regions.

Headquartered near Hyderabad, India, ICRISAT has offices in West and Central Africa (Niger, Mali and Nigeria) and Eastern and Southern Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia), to increase resilience of dryland farming and ability of smallholder farmers to withstand stress and shocks with system, policy, technology options and enhanced capacities. The “Science of discovery to science of delivery” outlook, sparked a transformative dynamic to reach millions of people.

ICRISAT is part of the CGIAR consortium, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future, carried out by 15 research Centers in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. ICRISAT leads in the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) and contributes to CRP Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE), CRP Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), CRP Policies Institutions and Markets (PIM), CGIAR Genebank Platform and CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.

For more information about ICRISAT, for ICRISAT’s scientific information  


ICRISAT-India(Headquarters) Patancheru, Telangana, India
ICRISAT-Mali(Regional hub WCA) Bamako, Mali
ICRISAT-Kenya(Regional hub ESA) Nairobi, Kenya
ICRISAT-India Liaison Office New Delhi, India


ICRISAT-Niger Niamey, Niger
ICRISAT-Nigeria Kano, Nigeria
ICRISAT-Ethiopia Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ICRISAT-Malawi Lilongwe, Malawi


ICRISAT-Mozambique Maputo, Mozambique
ICRISAT-Zimbabwe Bulawayo, Zimbabwe


ICRISAT appreciates the support of CGIAR investors to help overcome poverty, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the harshest dryland regions of the world. See for full list of donors.


About Us

Financial Summary

Financial Summary
Financial Summary

Financial Summary