Second visit to Nigeria and Ghana under ITPGRFA-BSF Grant.

Background of the visit.

Dr. Aryo Feldman, External Coordinator for CFF  made a visit from 13-20 August 2017 to Nigeria and Kumasi in Ghana under the ITPGRFA-BSF project. This visit was the continuation of the first visit in December 2016.  The main objectives of the visit were:

  1. Visit field partners to assess standard of field work and sites
  2. Pass on protocols, research tools and minor levels of technique training
  3. Planning ways forward, particularly in terms of future experiments, training, field work and visits
  4. Understand issues, challenges and limitations faced by field partners: scientific, administrative, financial and environmental

 Visit to Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria

From Left : Dr. Oyatomi Olaniyi, Ben Faloye and Dr. Feldman visiting one of Bambara groundnut growing sites

From left : Dr. Oyatomi Olaniyi, Ben Faloye and Dr. Feldman visiting one of Bambara groundnut growing sites

During the trip to IITA, Nigeria, Dr. Feldman visited all three field sites growing bambara groundnut: Mokwa, Niger state, Badeggi, Niger state (both on National Cereal Research Institute campuses), and Kabba, Kogi state (on Ahmadu Bello University Zaria campus). The sites were visited during rainy season which is the best time to grow bambara groundnut. The plants were at the early stage of growing between 7 to 27 days. All 3 sites are purely rainfed and grown without any input to reflect the capacities of local farmers. During the visit,  Dr. Feldman also went through a short training on how to use the SPAD meter and its protocol for use.

Dr. Feldman then had a chance to visit Etju market to find bambara groundnut being sold. One bowl fetched NGN 500/600 (±USD1.67) and seeds were mainly cream coloured with some mixing of patterned, brown and purple seeds. Given that now is the planting season for the crop, this is the highest price of the year. For example, compare it to NGN 350 per bowl for mottled black seed, NGN 400 (±USD1.11) for cream one in Mokwa market in December 2016.

 Few discussions have been held mainly centred around the ITPGRFA-BSF project and Mr. Ben Faloye MPhil/PhD, which falls squarely into it. So far, seeds had been grown for multiplication and basic characterisation, so the next step would be to perform more detailed phenotyping and begin genotyping. Mr. Ben Faloye is keen to start on sexually crossing parental lines and perform some genetic work. Next planting was planned to be in October 2017 in Ibadan. Once there is sufficient seed numbers, a high throughput drought screen needs to be performed on the panel as guided by the IITA plant physiologist, Dr. Feldman and potentially Tafadzwa Mabhaudi at University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa (UKNZ), who is an expert in plant-water relations in minor crops, including bambara groundnut.

 

Visit to Council For Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Ghana

From left : Dr. Joseph Nktiah Berchie, Dr. Feldman and Mr. Kennedy Agyeman

From left : Dr. Joseph Nketiah Berchie, Dr. Feldman and Mr. Kennedy Agyeman visiting bambara groundnut growing site which has been  recently harvested

During the trip to CSIR-CRI, Ghana, Dr. Feldman went to the on-station field site, which bambara groundnut had been harvested three days prior to his arrival. There had been heavy rains and so yields were variable due to variation to wet adaptation. Seeds were currently being solar dried and yield data was being collected.

 A discussion was held during the visit between Dr. Feldman, Dr. Joseph Nketiah Berchie and Mr. Kennedy Agyeman to discuss issues related to the ITPGRFA-BSF Project. Dr. Joseph Nketiah Berchie expressed his wish to work more closely with IITA in general, given their regional and research ties. Mr. Kennedy Agyeman was keen on having the DArT/genotyping data coming from the AG Panel being a means of his PhD incorporating a genetic component. The next planting will be in the minor season (September 2017) and will include two sites further north in drier environments, in addition to the on-station field site. The two outstations would be on farmers’ fields, which would give opportunity for farmer evaluation, including in comparison to their own growing material. There should be enough planting material for all three sites as seeds have been multiplied for two seasons.

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Second visit to Bogor Agriculture University, Indonesia under ITPGRFA-BSF Grant.

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Bambara groundnut farm located close proximity to BAU; previously planted with groundnut

Bambara groundnut farm located close proximity to BAU; previously planted with groundnut

On 5-8 July 2017 Dr. Feldman had a visit to Bogor Agricultural University (BAU), Indonesia under ITPGFRFA-BSF Grant. He visited farm in close proximity to BAU campus: Kampung Mangis, Cibeureum. Five Indonesian bambara groundnut landraces were planted (names: Sumedang, Tasik Malaya, Gresik, Madura, Sukabumi). Previously groundnut was grown at the site and now was the first time bambara groundnut was being cultivated there. Goat manure was applied and the farm was purely rain-fed.

Through discussions, it was proposed that the most suitable places in Indonesia for bambara groundnut farming are Sumedang (West Java, highland, dry) and Madura (East Java, lowland, dry). Dr. Feldman had a chance to visit the potential field sites in Sumedang where the ITPGRFA Project will take place. The area was certainly drier than Bogor, which receives rainfall daily.

During the visit, Mr. Faizal, the Masters student on the ITPGRFA Project presented his project proposal which focus on the relationship of testa colour with drought tolerance. The project is scheduled to be running from July 2017-April 2018. In the first season, it was proposed to cultivate five / potentially six Indonesian landraces, segregated by colour and harvested on per plant basis (so as to genetically purify them): Madura (black), Sumedang (cream, brown, dark purple), Gresik (dark purple, black), Sukabumi (black), Tasik Malaya (brown, black) and potentially Bogor (unsure of colour(s).

 There would then be opportunity to correlate molecular data with testa colour, with characterisation to be done in CFF/UNMC. Observations and measurements would also be taken to assess and evaluate crop performance and physiology (depending on the availability of equipment) under rain-fed conditions.

Dr. Feldman visited one of the potential field sites (highland and dry area) in Sumedang, West Java

Dr. Feldman visited one of the potential field sites (highland and dry area) in Sumedang, West Java

In the second season, the best performing purified Indonesian landraces would be grown alongside core parental lines (global germplasm), as well as local farmer planting material. Crop performance and physiology would be evaluated but with the added component of farmer outreach by comparing current farmer management techniques and genetic material to the common Project protocol and germplasm.

 A discussion also held to have a collaboration between CFF and BAU for application of possible Indonesian research grants.  Main focus area will be on current farming practices, genetic resources, environments, food processing and markets for bambara groundnut in Indonesia (East and West Java).

Visit to Bogor Agriculture University, Indonesia under ITPGRFA-BSF Grant.

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Dr. Feldman visited the Division of Seeds Science and Technology, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Bogor Agriculture University (BAU) from 13 to 14 February 2017. This visit was a continuation of the previous visits of partners under International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – Benefit Sharing Fund (ITPGRFA – BSF) project. The objectives of this visit were:

  1. Visit field partner to assess standard of field work, sites
  2. Pass on protocols, research tools and minor levels of technique training
  3. Planning ways forward, particularly in terms of field work and future visits
  4. Understand issues, challenges and limitations faced by field partners
  5. Explore possibilities of obtaining external grant funding
  6. Raise interest in current bambara groundnut research as well as CFF in general

 

13 February 2017

Dr. Feldman visiting screen house. From left : Prof. Satriyas. Dr. Feldman and Maryati Sari

Dr. Feldman visiting screen house. From left : Prof. Dr. Satriyas. Dr. Feldman and Maryati Sari

Dr. Feldman met with Prof. Dr. Satriyas, a PhD student, Maryati Sari, and a Masters student, Happy. The students are working on bambara groundnut at IPB; in terms of seed health and mapping, respectively. He then visited the screen house, where they were growing the core parental lines and local farmer lines in poly bags. Maryati is particularly interested in the two traits of dormancy and indeterminacy. Happy is looking at local farmers in the West Java area. Prof. Dr. Satriyas and Dr. Feldman discussed the potential collaboration between BAU and CFF in terms of laboratory work particularly regarding molecular genetics. Further discussion has to be arranged with Dr. Wai Kuan Ho and Dr. Sean Mayes to find out which possible areas can be covered.

 

14 February 2017

Dr. Feldman with staff of BAU

Dr. Feldman with staff of BAU

Dr. Feldman met with several staff in Faculty of Agriculture, including the Head of School. He was updated with the research that was going on in the Agronomy and Horticulture Division. Dr. Feldman then delivered a seminar about the research being done at CFF entitled ‘Research progress in bambara groundnut and other underutilised crop species’. The audience was interested in how CFF perceived underutilised crop research, especially in contrast to researching major crops. He announced the collaborative relationship between CFF and the university. Dr. Feldman invited the other researchers to have a collaboration with CFF in order to become part of a wider research community.

During his visit, Dr, Feldman also gave his hand to assist Prof Dr. Satriyas to setup up a Masters student, Muhammad Fauzan Farid Al-Hamdi from Department of Seed Science and Technology to be part of the Treaty project. Dr. Feldman will act as part of the supervisory committee and will give guidance in technical and English writing. Another student has to be sought to complete the remaining 1-2 years of the project.

 

Seminar given by Dr. Feldman

Seminar given by Dr. Feldman

On the same day, he visited the IPB Agribusiness Development Center which is an impressive initiative that is around nine years old. It sets up the value chain from production to retail (major supermarkets), linking to approximately 150 local small-holder farmers. It instills organic practices, which mean that the fresh produce obtains a premium price. It has its own nursery to ensure high quality seedlings, which are dispersed to local farmers. It also has its own post-harvest unit, which sorts out good from bad quality harvested material, and packs them with a BAU sticker. This increases consumer perception of quality via a trusted brand. Farmers’ returns depends on retail sales in the same manner that the production scale depends on the retail demand. Farmer income is enhanced as BAU cuts out the middle man, working on a non-profit basis. Many farmers find the emphasis on organic and high quality produce to be restrictive to their usual practices. Therefore, the Center has to try to change farmers’ mindsets via outreach.

 

Conclusion

The visit reinforced a lot of positive aspects of researching undertutilised crops, such as a scientific community that is passionate about their crop(s) of study. However, it also made clear some of the negative issues that perhaps are not always so obvious. Firstly, in biological terms, these crops will have certain nuances that are not always so well known, and so researchers can run into difficulties with new problems. Growing Bambara groundnut in polybags under wet conditions evidently had adverse effects to its growth and health. Secondly, from the viewpoint of young scientists, the prospect of researching underutilised crops may not seem attractive as there are likely to be a lack of resources available, including financial resources. However, it should be emphasized that researching underutilised crops also has a lot of opportunity for new researchers. Not only are there more challenges to address but there is also more room to become a leader in the field. Finally, following trends of funding bodies, grants are increasingly concerned about sustainable agriculture, nutritional security and diversification of farming systems and diets. Underutilised crops has an important role to play in all of these topics.

Visit to Nigeria and Ghana under ITPGRFA-BSF Grant.

Background of the project

In March 2015, CFF (as project leader) and partners (the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria (IITA), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute, Ghana (CSIR-CRI), and Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia (BAU) received grant approval from the Third Round of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – Benefit Sharing Fund (ITPGRFA – BSF) for the project “Genetic and trait characterisation of farmer and genebank sources of bambara groundnut for the development of drought tolerant lines in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia”. The project will last three years and will involve molecular breeding and field trials with bambara groundnut in four countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria) to improve drought tolerance and reduce the cooking time for this legume. This project has, at its core, a marker supported international breeding and selection programme for bambara groundnut with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The aim is to improve an already nutritionally valuable and drought resilient legume for food security, environmental protection and income generation for the world’s most vulnerable regions.

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Background of the visit.

Dr. Aryo Feldman, the Senior Research Coordinator of BamYIELD Programme, CFF has make a visit from 5 December 2016 to 5 January 2017 to Ibadan in Nigeria and Kumasi in Ghana under the ITPGRFA-BSF project and other CFF related matters. The main objectives of the visit were:

  1. Visit field partners to assess standard of field work and sites
  2. Pass on protocols, research tools and minor levels of technique training
  3. Plan ways forward, particularly in terms of field work and future visits
  4. Understand issues, challenges and limitations faced by field partners

 

Visit to International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria

On 5 to 9 December 2016, Dr. Feldman visited IITA, Nigeria, to discuss the ITPGRFA-BSF project. This included the issues and details of the project’s IITA PhD student, Ben Faloye, as well as catching up on the progress in field experiments, demonstrating the online data input system and details of the transfer of resources. He also visited field sites in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria at both Kabba, Kogi state and Mokwa, Niger state; and a field site in Kudu in Niger state. All sites were  purely irrigated by rain and so had varying levels of moisture conditions  (weather increased in aridity the further North it was). Data sharing and discussions on various aspects of bambara groundnut research was held    mainly with Dr. Oyatomi Olaniyi and Ben Faloye, Seedbank Managers in IITA.

The IITA various sites, used to grow bambara groundnut in contrasting environments in Nigeria.

The IITA various sites, used to grow bambara groundnut in contrasting environments in Nigeria.

 

Visit to Council For Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Ghana

CSIR - CBI on-site bambara groundnut plot, growing various types of bambara groundnut

CSIR – CBI on-site bambara groundnut plot, growing various types of bambara groundnut

On 10 to 13 December 2016, discussions on the ITPGRFA-BSF project and site  visits were held in CSIR-CRI mainly with    Mr. Kennedy Agyeman, a Research  Scientist and Dr. Joseph Nketiah Berchie, a Principal Research Scientist of  CSIR-CRI.Dr. Berchie was   interested in earliness – potentially as a trait associated with photoperiod insensitivity  – and seed colour – more interested  in cream coloured seeds for consumption and darker seeds for medicinal  properties associated with tannin content; aswell as how these       preferences  vary in other countries – as well as drought tolerance. Other discussions with   Mr. Agyeman and Dr. Paul included raising their interest in registering and   commercialising seed varieties.  Dr. Feldman also visited their on-station field  site,  which was currently being used to bulk up seed numbers for testing on  multiple sites  across Ghana