Collaboration between ICARDA and Caussade Semences Group (France)
The collaboration between ICARDA and Caussade Semences Group (France) will support the further development of their respective plant breeding programs, especially for kabuli chickpea, lentil and grass pea.
ICARDA entered into this agreement for the further improvement of its plant breeding and crop improvement capacities in furtherance of the CGIAR vision of reducing hunger, improving human health and nutrition and enhancing resilience through high-quality international agricultural research, partnership and leadership. The collaboration will allow Caussade and its subsidiaries to produce new crosses for the commercialization of kabuli chickpea, lentil and grass pea in Europe.
Caussade may use some ICARDA breeding material for these crops within the European Union for five years for the purpose of research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. But access for non-commercial research by public sector organizations and also food security emergencies will remain in place.
ICARDA’s system of crossbreeding, genotypic and phenotypic characterization, selection and dissemination of genotypes on lentils and kabuli chickpeas (mainly based in Lebanon, Morocco and India) is unique in the world. Most of the chickpea varieties registered or in the process of being listed in the catalogues of European countries come from the breeding material distributed by ICARDA (known as International Nurseries), but without the benefit of collaborative research agreements such as this one with Caussade.
This agreement underscores ICARDA’s readiness for technical exchanges with the private sector which is not limited to sharing genetic material. Knowledge and methods on pulse crop improvements and value chains can be shared between Europe and the southern Mediterranean countries through the organization of technical and scientific seminars making it possible to set up more regular and informal exchanges; expert cross visits; co-supervision of PhD and master students on the agroecology of pulses; and the development of a shared experimentation network on the contribution of pulses to sustainability and the adaptation of cropping systems to climate change.
The food industry is looking for innovation with pulses on both sides of the Mediterranean basin. In France and in many countries of Europe there are strong national and international initiatives to promote crop diversification especially with legumes as a driver of a climate smart and nutrition sensitive agriculture. An additional strong incentive is the European Green Deal. Europe is to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050, with an ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.
The collaboration between ICARDA and Caussade is an opportunity to share expertise and knowledge on pulses in agri-food systems for the mutual benefit of Europe and the MENA region.
The potential for win-win situations, such as this one with Caussade, is high with the South having (still) a significant research investment on the “Genome to field” aspect of these pulses (gene banks, plant breeding, agronomy and crop protection) and the North starting to invest in the “plate to health” aspect (nutrition and health, food processes, food systems). The know-how provided to ICARDA feeds directly into its research and breeding programs for the benefits of the poors in the drylands.
The collaboration with Caussade ensures that access to genetic material that ICARDA holds in trust for the international community is not compromised. The collaboration complies with ICARDA’s obligations under the CGIAR Principles on the Management of Intellectual Assets, and also ICARDA’s obligations under the Standard Material Transfer Agreements that it signs when providing to third parties, such as Caussade, ICARDA breeding material for kabuli chickpea, lentil and grass pea.