Daily Archives: February 15, 2010

Of groundnuts, watersheds and technology transfer

This week I spent three days on a farm owned by Nigel and Janey Leakey near Nakuru in Kenya’s Rift Valley.  They run a small company (Leldet) that grows and distributes certified seed, and the recent droughts led them to the conclusion that if they did not irrigate they would not be able to expand.  You can read about them at:

http://www.agra-alliance.org/content/story/detail/1035 (the last story on the page)

The topography of their farm and the surrounding land suggested that a small scale watershed management project might enable them – and the s/h farmers surrounding their farm – to store runoff for irrigation in the dry season.  With the support of ICRISAT, Sefia Jetha, an agronomy Masters candidate from HEPH-Condorcet University, is in the process of conducting a watershed study using techniques that were developed and used with great success in India. 

This followed on the heels of my visit to Malawi, where small seed growers had expressed concern as to how they would shell certified groundnut seed (this must be done with care, as broken seed will not germinate).  In all probability a mechanical groundnut sheller provided by ICRISAT and developed in India will be deployed.

And the WASA team has been working closely with several Indian seed companies to evaluate hybrids developed in India in collaboration with national agricultural research systems and local seed companies. If these prove successful, they can be released and then commercialized across the region as a result of the regional variety release system approved by ECOWAS.

Technology transfer between India and Africa is a happening thing, especially in the agricultural sector;  these are just three of many examples, and yesterday I heard about an upcoming forum on the subject:

EMRC Announces Inaugural Africa-India Economic Mission

EMRC promotes the development of Africa’s agricultural sector with Africa-India exchange .

http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/articles.php?article=4953&magazine=265

The Economic Mission aims to foster partnerships between Africa and India in the sectors of Agricultural Research, Soil and Water Conservation and Management, Biofuels, Fresh Produce Management, Knowledge Parks, Seed Value Chain and Equipment.  

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP