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Rethinking pathways for agricultural research at Science Forum 2016

May 10,2016

ICARDA showcased improved varieties of lentil, chickpea, malt barely and faba bean at the Science forum 2016

The Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) Science Forum 2016 (SF16) was held from 12-14 April 2016 in Addis Ababa with the objective of rethinking pathways for agricultural research to stimulate inclusive development of rural economies in an era of climate change. More than 250 participants (scientists, policy makers, funding agencies and practitioners) attended the Forum. The forum discussions illustrated the contribution of agricultural research towards rural prosperity and highlighted achievements, challenges and future prospects, focusing primarily on Pathways, Partnership and Priorities (3Ps).

A Knowledge Share Fair was organized on April 12, 2016 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Addis campus. CGIAR centers and the Ethiopian Institutes of Agriculture (EIAR) showcased different technologies, publications, seed, sheep, chicken, fish etc. Participants showed keen interest in the improved varieties of lentil, chickpea, malt barley and faba bean that were released through the joint activities of ICARDA and partners from the National Research System. ICARDA also presented its initiative of including feed traits of the crop residues into national grain legumes breeding programs in Ethiopia which would greatly benefit livestock producers.

Information on genetic diversity and structure of Ethiopian indigenous sheep and goats was presented. It was explained to the participants how this information contributes to the implementation of community-based sheep and goat breeding systems established by ICARDA and ILRI with the national partner research institutes at six sites in Ethiopia.

Key components of the experimental marketing research activities, specifically the projects on “Economic impact of market facilities in central highlands of Ethiopia: Menz-Gishe” and “Smart marketing along the small ruminant value chains in Central Ethiopia” were presented. Highlighting the importance of these projects, Dr. Fentahun Mengistu, Director General of EIAR said that “these projects were crucial in the institute’s efforts to address the challenges faced by smallholder livestock keepers.”

As a part of the field visit, some participants visited irrigated seed production activities of ICARDA/CIP (International Potato Center) on malt barley and faba bean at Holetta Agricultural Research Center on April 15, 2016. Shortage of early generation seed (breeder, pre-basic and basic) often limits scaling up/out of improved technologies. To alleviate this problem, ICARDA, along with 12 key implementing partner research centers is working in the highlands of Ethiopia to multiply early generation seed for scaling up/out.

Initiated by the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC), SF16 reached out to scientists and scientific communities both from within and external to the CGIAR, who can make important contributions to the CGIAR research portfolio and its objectives of reducing poverty, improving food security, human nutrition and health, and environmental sustainability. The event was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).