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Thứ Bảy, 16 tháng 4, 2011

Harnessing biofuels for enhanced smallholder livelihoods

CROPS FOR BIPOFUEL to follow ICRISAT Happenings 15 April 2011, No 1462. ICRISAT-CIAT-IFAD final workshop on biofuel project Harnessing biofuels for enhanced smallholder livelihoods “With a looming energy crisis and climate change at the forefront of everyone’s mind, there has never been a better time for alternative energy solutions to shine,” said DG William Dar.

Speaking at the two-day final workshop of the ICRISAT-CIAT-IFAD biofuels project Linking the poor to global markets: Pro-poor development of biofuel supply chains, Dr Dar emphasized that biofuels are essential to the economies of nations as fossil fuels are predicted to be depleted by 2050, and that each country must have long-term approaches on biofuel crops R&D along with policies to sustain the value chains of these crops. He identified three key drivers of biofuels R&D: economic security, not at the expense of food security as the earth needs to feed 9.2 billion people by 2050; environmental sustainability; and energy security. He added that a key part of the commitment is making bio-energy opportunities work for the poor.

The final workshop held on 14-15 April in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, aimed to assess the progress made by the project over the years to better address a range of issues as new alternative energy solutions evolve. The ICRISAT-CIAT-IFAD project was launched three years ago to enhance the productivity of three important biofuel crops – sweet sorghum and cassava for bioethanol and Jatropha for biodiesel
Dr CLL Gowda, Dr Dar, Dr Nguyen Van Bo, President of VAAS and Dr Bui Chi Buu, Deputy Director of IAS, took the opportunity during the meeting to discuss modalities to strengthen ICRISAT-Vietnam NARS research partnership.

The biofuel project exemplifies ICRISAT’s purposeful partnership approach in the conduct of innovative agricultural research and capacity building initiatives. With ICRISAT as the project executing agency, its partners are from universities and national programs (both public and private sectors) all actively engaged in R&D in sweet sorghum and Jatropha. Similarly, CIAT and other partners from Colombia, China and Vietnam are involved in cassava feedstock research and its use in bioethanol production.

During the meeting, Dr Dar congratulated the research teams of ICRISAT, CIAT, MMSU (Philippines), Nong Lam University (Vietnam), and nongovernment organizations for meeting all the deliverables of the project, developing improved cultivars and production techniques and transferring them to the private sector whenever possible.

Dr Rabindranath Roy, IFAD representative added that the achievements of this project and the gaps identified will go a long way in encouraging donors and countries to further support research on the three crops.

Dr Belum Reddy, project coordinator gave a brief outline of the project, while Dr CLL Gowda chaired the session on cassava and co-chaired the concluding session on general discussion. The meeting was hosted by the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS), the Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS) and the Nong Lam University, and was attended by key scientists and managers from partner organizations in India, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Colombia and Mali.

Focus on higher education, agricultural growth and poverty alleviation
DG addresses graduates, receives honorary degrees from Philippine universities

framework, producing graduates who can lead the path to a sustainable and inclusive agricultural growth becomes the major challenge.

This is the main message of the commencement address delivered by DG William Dar as guest of honor during the 37th Graduation Rites of the Pampanga Agricultural College (PAC), Philippines, on 12 April. Speaking to 314 graduating students and their parents, PAC officials and visitors, Dr Dar challenged universities in the country to evolve into dynamic academic institutions, not only in teaching but in mainstreaming R&D interventions necessary to win the fight against food insecurity and poverty, particularly in rural communities.

Dr Dar receives the Doctor of Humanities honorary
degree from PAC President Jun Soriano.

Visit to the PAC-ICRISAT Sweet Sorghum
and Pigeonpea Production-cum-Research Station.

He added that beyond its traditional role, higher agricultural education must provide a stimulating environment for scientific and technological advances to flourish, balanced by a commitment to bring science-based information and technology to the awareness and reach of potential users, particularly the resource-poor farmers.

Elaborating on ICRISAT’s core value of “Science with a human face,” indicating a commitment to put people’s welfare first when setting priorities, Dr Dar urged PAC and other universities to tread the same path. In harnessing “Education with a human face,” he stressed the need to incorporate socio-economic dimensions in the academe, particularly to contribute in shaping a sustainable and inclusive Philippine agriculture, and in fighting poverty and food insecurity in the country.

During the Commencement rites, Dr Dar was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities by PAC President Jun Soriano. The said degree was awarded in recognition of Dr Dar’s “dedication to the cause of the poor through his role as an excellent R&D global leader.”

Dr Dar, along with FETS Program Leader M Prabhakar Reddy, visited the ALIAS (Alternative Low Inputs for Agricultural System) Center to observe the PAC-ICRISAT Sweet Sorghum and Pigeonpea Production-cum-Research Station.

Prior to this, Dr Dar was invited as guest at the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) on its 65th Commencement exercises, where he was conferred a Doctor of Science (Rural Development) degree, Honoris Causa. Awarded by USM President Jesus Antonio Derije, the honorary degree was in recognition of Dr Dar’s commitment to promote research for development initiatives that benefit the people, bring major improvements to the lives of small-scale producers and food-insecure farmers all across the nation and the globe as well, and help reduce hunger and vulnerability especially in the rural areas.

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