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Roving wheat seminar

A four-member team of scientists from the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) visited India from 07-13 March 2010 as part of a CIMMYT-sponsored “Roving Seminar on Advances of Wheat Research.” The objectives of the traveling seminar were to share experiences and encourage greater interaction between NARC, CIMMYT, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

The Nepal team traveled to three primary locations in India: Delhi, Karnal, and Ludhiana. At all three, discussion focused on major wheat issues in the South Asia region, but also included maize and other agricultural topics.

In Delhi, the group visited ICAR, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR). At ICAR, the director general S. Ayyappan and his team welcomed the seminar participants, along with CIMMYT scientists Arun Kumar Joshi and Raj Gupta. Germplasm exchange and capacity building were major topics of discussion, as well as India-Nepal-CIMMYT collaboration for improving wheat and maize research.

The team then visited IARI’s wheat fields and laboratories, and met with wheat scientists and K.V. Prabhu, head of the Division of Genetics at IARI. The next stop was at NBPGR’s germplasm bank with the bureau’s director, S.K. Sharma. This visit was of special significance as NARC is in the process of establishing its own genebank in Kathmandu, Nepal.

At Karnal, the second location, the NARC team visited the Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR) and the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI). They spoke with DWR-Karnal project director S.S. Singh about increasing capacity building and germplasm exchange, and then later visited germplasm screening and breeding facilities for saline-alkali soils at CSSRI. The NARC scientists also visited MHYCO’s (Maharashtra Hybrid Corporation) wheat hybrid program at their station in Karnal.

The final stop was at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana. There the Nepal team met with Manjit Singh Kang (PAU vicechancellor), P.S. Minhas (director of research), S.S. Banga (head of Plant Breeding and Genetics), and various PAU wheat scientists.

Overall, the seminar improved the NARC team’s understanding of Indian wheat research and spurred interest in further regional collaboration. The NARC participants were Bhartendu Mishra (executive director), Niranjan Adhikari (director, Crops & Horticulture), Madan Raj Bhatta (senior wheat breeder), and Janmejai Tripathi (senior agronomy scientist). CIMMYT was represented by Arun Kumar Joshi, wheat breeder for South Asia.