13th International Conference on Dryland Development

  • 12th February 2019
  • by secretary

11-14 February 2019. Jodhpur, India. The 13th International Conference on Dryland Development, with the theme “Converting Dryland Areas from Grey into Green”, is organized by IDDC (International Dryland Development Commission) and the Arid Zone Research Association of India (AZRAI) and hosted by the ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI).

Drylands cover about 41% of earth’s land area and are home to ~38% of world population. A majority (90%) of the people of this ecosystem live in developing countries. With fragile natural resource base, achieving food security in drylands has been a great challenge. With the threat of climate change looming large and additional threat of massive out-migration, the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people who live in these areas, will be further at risk.

The efforts of research and development community and policymakers dealing with dry areas and aiming at sustainable management of natural resources have to be boosted in order to optimize adaptive mechanism and risk aversion elements for the dryland communities.

Fast sharing of knowledge and capacity building of all the stakeholders in dryland will have to be an essential element of these efforts. Institutional reforms at the ecosystem level to bridge the divide in the governance of different natural resources including water coupled with the global commitment for greater coordination in legal, policy and management issues shall pave the path for sustainable livelihood security in drylands and in converting dryland areas from grey to green.

Themes and sub-themes:

Guests of honour:

“Evidence shows that the dry areas and the MENA region specifically, for example, is heading towards a much warmer climate scenario over the next 50 years than initially anticipated.”

“As highlighted by the IPCC Special report on impacts of global warming in October 2018, climate change impact can be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to 2 degrees, or more. Also noted in this report is that by limiting global warming, people and ecosystems will have more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds. To undertake this critical adaptation, appropriate local intervention schemes can be applied and instead interrupt negative effects of climate change.”

“Published last month, the EAT-Lancet report on Food in the Anthropocene cites the need for environmental systems and processes to be maintained for sustainable food production. Global food systems transformation is needed urgently to ensure long-term sustainability both in terms of food production and to reduce the threat to local ecosystems. Mr. Aly Abousabaa (see picture), Director General of ICARDA

Symposium Extracts of the technical programme:

  1. Crop Improvement for Sustainable Production
  2. Big Data in Dryland Agriculture
  3. Mainstreaming Water Productivity in Drylands
  4. Dryland Agrobiodiversity for Adaptation to Climate Change
  5. Arid Agro-ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities

12 February: TU – ICARDA Satellite Symposium Crop Improvement for Sustainable Production
The marginal region is the place where one or more of the factors necessary for plant production do not reach the level of the requirement. To achieve the goal to produce the necessary amount of crops under the changing climate, we need to extensively improve the crop varieties combining knowledge and technologies of molecular biology, genetics, physiology, informatics, modeling, and others. This satellite symposium is aimed to exchange the research activities among researchers studying cereals, pulses, and root symbiotic microbes, and know the present status and prospects to develop marginal regions for sustainable crop production.

  • Water-saving wheat: tuning water use efficiency and drought tolerance using ABA receptors Dr. Ryosuke Mega
  • Durum wheat ideotype for the drylands of tomorrow Dr. Filippo Bassi and Dr. Michael Baum
  • Manipulation of centromere specific histone H3 (CENH3) in crop plants for haploid breeding: towards sustainable food production in dryland Dr. Takayoshi Ishii 
  • Pulses for harvesting more from less in dry areas Dr. Shiv Kumar Agrawal (see picture)Shiv Kumar Agrawal leads ICARDA’s Food legumes program, which aims to deliver improved germplasm of lentil, kabuli chickpea, faba bean, and grass pea to national partners in South Asia, sub -Saharan Africa, West Asia, and North Africa.

  • How to find effective root symbiotic microbes for crops? -Toward the use of customized microbes for sustainable agriculture in an object area Dr. Takeshi Taniguchi 
  • Barley improvement for marginal lands Dr. Ramesh Verma
  • Discussion Crop improvement for the dry areas/ Conclusions and closing remarks Dr. Michael Baum
  • Rapporteur: Dr. Vinay Nangia (see picture) Senior Hydrologist, ICARDA Specially Appointed Associate Professor IPDRE, Tottori University
Agricultural research is becoming more and more data intensive. High-throughput genotyping, precise phenotyping, drones, imaging platforms, GIS/RS, socio-economic information, climatic sensors, IoT and various kinds of data streams are pouring data to scientists to leverage their research to next level.

  • Big Data and Informatics Platforms at ICRISAT and future strate- Dr. Abhishek Rathore 
  • The CGIAR platform for big data in agriculture: Towards big-data enabling agriculture developmentDr. Brian King 
  • GOBii, a Scalable Genomics Data Management System with Rapid Data Extract Times and Integration with Downstream Genomic Selection Analysis PipelinesDr. Elizabeth Jones 
  • Big Data and Digital Augmentation for Accelerating Agroecological Intensification Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar  (see picture) Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar is a Principal agroecosystems scientist and head of Geo-informatics Units, ICARDA. He is a distinguished scientist in the field of geo-informatics science and technology. He has multidisciplinary science background with focus on digital augmentation for accelerating agro-ecological intensification
  • Seeing is Believing: Using Smartphone Pictures for Agricultural Risk Management Dr. Berber Kramer 
  • Big Data in Indian Agricultural Research and Development Dr. Rajendra Parsad 
  • Breeding Modernization at ICRISAT: Implementing Industry Principles in the Public SectorDr. Jan Debaene 
13 February: Mainstreaming Water Productivity in Drylands
Low precipitation and prolonged dry seasons in the drylands can lead to water scarcity, and limit agricultural productivity and output. Therefore, it is critical to achieve efficient inter-sectoral coordination to enable utilization of available water resources to the best advantage. The maximum potential for expansion of agricultural areas and benefits from improved water productivity lies in arid and semi-arid regions. 

  • This mini-symposium will enable exchanges among researchers working in the area of water management to share knowledge on the present status and prospects for higher water productivity in the drylands. 
  • The deliberations will help in framing a strategy for managing water for increasing water productivity and mainstreaming it in drylands at scale through appropriate institutional frameworks and policies. 

13 February: Dryland Agrobiodiversity for Adaptation to Climate Change
Amongst the total 34 global hotspots, 9 are in the dry lands and about 0.5% of the plant species are endemic to the region. In terms of agriculture, plant species endemic to the drylands make up 30% of the plants under cultivation today, including many ancestors and crop wild relatives (CWRs). However, exact status of species in the dry lands remains unknown, as no comprehensive assessment has been collated. The objectives of this mini-symposium are:

  • To examine the current threats to dryland agrobiodiversity, deliberate upon the opportunities and challenges due to climate change, and the required policy interventions to overcome the threats and challenges.
  • To take stock of agrobiodiversity in the Indian, Central and West Asian, and North African dryland regions and management strategies of their genetic resources.
  • To Identify the possible role of regional and international organizations in management of dryland agro-ecosystems through research and development, in partnership mode for harnessing agrobiodiversity to address the global challenges being faced by dryland communities.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat‏ 
(Indian Minister of State
for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare)
addressed the Inaugural Session

14 February: Arid Agro-ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities

The Arid ecosystem covers around 17% of the world’s land area and are inhabited by about 6% population which manifests insurmountable challenges due to inhospitable climate, vast livestock and human population surviving on limited and fragile natural resources.

Generation of technologies for conservation and efficient utilization of resources holds key for transforming less productive arid lands to gainful livelihood resources for farmers of these regions. Despite of several limitations, many opportunities exist in arid lands. The symposium will discuss some of the key issues concerning the conservation of natural resources, their optimum utilization and livelihood security. These include:

  • Changes in Land use patterns and role of space technologies in food, energy and water security in arid regions
  • Natural resource vulnerability under climate change and biological indicators of land degradation and agradation
  • Livestock scenario in arid regions and their role in livelihood security
  • Integrated farming system approach for arid ecosystem and opportunities in horticulture