12.12.14 - In November 2014 the Pigeon Pea Network – the fourth and last network of ISCB (Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology) Phase IV - was successfully kicked off in a network integration meeting in Delhi and the first annual BIOFI Network meeting was held in Pondicherry.

Programme evolution

In this Phase IV of the ISCB programme (Jan 2013 – Dec 2016) two important changes to the previous phases have been made: (1) the switch from a linear to a (participatory) circular value chain approach and as a logical consequence (2) the inclusion of socio-economic partners. With these changes ISCB strives to develop and validate innovative biotechnological products and processes which address smallholder farmers’ constraints and needs and to promote their dissemination and adoption through networks of public and private partners. The goal of this phase is to go beyond the basic and translational research and to move forward in the circular value chain. The crops on which this Phase IV is focussing are finger millet (ragi), cassava and pigeon pea.

Integration meeting and field trips

On 12th and 13th November the Pigeon Pea Network integration meeting took place in New Delhi, India. The scientists of the three selected biotechnological projects and socio-economists from India and Switzerland successfully took the challenge to jointly define the vision and mission and clear outcomes for Pigeon Pea Network in this two day workshop. Lively plenary and group discussions stimulated the fruitful process.

The field trips in Bangalore and Kollihills on 15th and 16th November within in the BIOFI (“Biofertilization and "bioirrigation" for sustainable mixed cropping of pigeon pea and finger millet”) annual network meeting gave a valuable insight on both the progress and the challenges in the field. The following two day network meeting (17th and 18th November) of the Indian and Swiss biotechnology and socio-economic network partners was leveraged to revisit, adjust and align efforts towards developing and implementing an environmentally, economically and socially improved finger millet and pigeon pea intercropping system for arid/semi-arid zones.

Author:Lilian GilgenSource:Cooperation