Approaches to improve the utilization of food–feed crops—synthesis

Approaches to improve the utilization of food–feed crops—synthesis

Field Crops Research 84 (2003) 213–222 Approaches to improve the utilization of food–feed crops—synthesis J.M. Lenne´a,*, S. Fernandez-Riverab, M. Bl...

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Field Crops Research 84 (2003) 213–222

Approaches to improve the utilization of food–feed crops—synthesis J.M. Lenne´a,*, S. Fernandez-Riverab, M. Blu¨mmelc a


13 Herons Quay, Sandside, Milnthorpe, Cumbria, LA7 7HW, UK CGIAR Systems-wide Livestock Programme and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), P.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia c International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), South Asia Project, Patancheru 502324, Andhra Pradesh, India Received 20 April 2003; accepted 23 April 2003

Abstract This paper synthesizes the key findings presented in the previous 15 papers, and presents a summary of a discussion on best approaches, strategies and partnerships to improve the utilization of food–feed crops. The synthesis provides guidance for future research and development in crop–livestock systems in developing countries. It also stresses the need for greater integration, focus, coordination of efforts to improve the utilization of food–feed crops, if the benefits from advances in research and output delivery are to reach the hundreds of millions of resource-poor livestock keepers in developing countries. # 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Keywords: Food–feed crops; Crop–livestock; Dual-purpose crops

1. Introduction Delgado et al. (1999) estimated that the demand for meat and milk in developing countries will double in the next 20 years as a result of growth in urbanization and incomes. Feed constraint (both quantity and quality) is the biggest impediment to improved livestock production in such countries. As much of the arable land is already under cultivation, increased productivity is most likely to come from improving productivity per unit area. Dual-purpose crops that provide both food (grain) and feed (residues) are attractive options to meet household needs under this current and likely future scenario. Crop–livestock integration is a common and efficient pathway for intensification of agriculture in * Corresponding author. Tel.: þ44-15395-63440. E-mail address: [email protected] (J.M. Lenne´).

developing countries, especially in tropical semi-arid and sub-humid environments (Smith et al., 1997; Thomas, 2002; Thornton et al., 2002). Resource-poor farmers are adopting and improving crop–livestock systems as they see clear benefits from food–feed crops: human food, livestock feed, manure and draft power. In addition, they also obtain cash income to purchase farm inputs, pay household expenses (food, health, education, etc.) and provision of insurance during times of crisis and uncertainty (Thornton et al., 2002; Kristjanson et al., 2002). Improving the productivity and nutritive quality of food–feed crops and fostering the growth of delivery systems to improve access to research products, especially seed, are therefore essential to improved utilization of such crops by resource-poor livestock keepers and their ruminant animals. This was the overarching message from the International Workshop ‘‘Approaches to improve the utilization of food–feed

0378-4290/$ – see front matter # 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0378-4290(03)00152-7


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crops’’ held by the CGIAR Systems-wide Livestock Programme at ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 29 to 31 January 2002, the papers from which are published in this special issue. The paper synthesizes the key findings and highlights presented in the previous 15 papers (not listed in the reference list) presented at the workshop. A summary of the final workshop discussion on best approaches, strategies and partnerships to improve the utilization of food–feed crops for food security and poverty alleviation is given in Appendix A. The paper provides guidance for future research and development in crop–livestock systems in developing countries. It also stresses the need for greater integration, focus, coordination of efforts and funding to improve the utilization of food–feed crops, if the benefits from advances in research and output delivery are to reach the hundreds of millions of resource-poor livestock keepers in developing countries.

2. Key findings The importance of crop residues as a major source of fodder for ruminants in mixed crop–livestock systems, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where a significant proportion of resource-poor livestock keepers are found, was emphasized by Zerbini and Thomas (this volume) (see also Devendra and Thomas, 2002). In India, for example, the stover or residue component of the food–feed crop is increasing in value compared to the grain component as the demand for ruminant fodder increases. These authors emphasized the importance of both feed quantity as well as feed quality (nutritive value) as key to improved livestock production and indicated that small improvements in stover digestibility could result in acceptable increases in ruminant productivity and impressive benefit:cost ratios (see Kristjianson and Zerbini, 1999). In addition to genetic enhancement (see papers by Hash et al., Reddy et al., Blu¨ mmel et al., Singh et al., this volume, for sorghum, pearl millet and cowpea), Zerbini and Thomas noted that chemical and biological methods for improving the quality of crop residues have not been widely adopted by small farmers in developing countries. In their paper on cowpea, Singh et al. (this volume) showed that supplementation of

small quantities of high quality cowpea residues to a basal diet of sorghum residues can make a significant contribution to live weight gains in rams. Zerbini and Thomas concluded that genetic enhancement is a practical and affordable way of improving both the nutritive quality and quantity of crop residues. Three papers assessed various methods to measure the nutritive value of feeds (also see Appendix A). Coleman and Moore (this volume) noted that any in vitro method to assess digestibility must be reliable and produce results that are highly correlated with in vivo digestibility in ruminants, and subsequent animal performance. Most feeding standards and models are based on the assumption that animal performance is related closely to intake of available nutrients. However, due to variation in measurements of intake, digestibility and animal performance, prediction equations often give inaccurate results. Coleman and Moore stressed that the challenge to further progress in the use of feed quality data to accurately predict animal performance was to develop databases with sufficient numbers of standardized samples of intake and digestibility so that equations could be developed that discriminate among different fodder types (see Appendix A). Mould (this volume) affirmed that the ideal method of assessing the nutritive value of a feedstuff is through animal feeding and production trials but such methods are neither practical nor cost effective on a routine basis. Chemical analysis provides absolute quality values but estimates of nutritional value are inferred by statistical association. He further observed that while such analyses will continue to be used, it is likely that more comprehensive biological in vitro systems will be adopted that are capable of detecting and predicting, for example, variation in rates of digestion and efficiencies of ruminal feed utilization. While these systems will further improve feed evaluation, they do not lend themselves easily to screening large numbers of plant entries common in crop improvement work. As Stuth et al. (this volume) stated near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) can, in such cases, be employed as a shortcut to more timeand resource-consuming laboratory analysis without loosing critical information. NIRS therefore offers livestock nutritionists and fodder improvement programmes a rapid mechanism to obtain nutritional information. Stuth et al. also stressed that NIRS

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predictive equations are always a ‘‘work in progress’’. Any equation—no matter how robust—can be improved upon with better data. Mould strongly emphasized that the function and limitations of each methodology should be fully understood and results not over-interpreted. With careful selection, correct application and combination, in vitro methods will help plant breeders to select for feed quality (see Appendix A). Blu¨ mmel et al. (this volume) gave a practical example of this approach for improving feed quality of sorghum and pearl millet stover. Crop management factors including planting methods, nutrition, irrigation, weeding, pest and disease control, post-harvest treatment, etc. can affect the productivity and quality of crop residues as shown comprehensively by Reddy et al. (this volume). Adherence to recommended crop management practices can facilitate the release of maximum genetic potential determining the quality and quantity of residues. Some forage quality traits have already been identified in crops (see Zerbini and Thomas; Hash et al.). These include brown-mid-rib in maize, pearl millet and sorghum that improves digestibility through lowering lignin content and esterified phenolic acids in leaf and stem tissues. However, some studies have indicated that improvements in quality are at the expense of stover and grain yield. Another trait is stay-green that delays foliar senescence in maize and sorghum and can results in enhancement of many nutritive qualities. In some food–feed crops, at least, e.g. for example in sorghum and forages, both yield and quality can be improved simultaneously (Zerbini and Thomas; Hash et al.; Blu¨ mmel et al.; also see Appendix A). Opportunities were identified for using markerassisted crop breeding methods to improve the quality and quantity of cereal crop residues used as ruminant feedstuffs (Hash et al., this volume). Experience is being gained in successful use of QTL mapping and MAS for stover yield, foliar disease resistance and in vitro estimates of nutritive value of pearl millet stover (see Appendix A). For sorghum, the focus has been on an MAS backcrossing program for the stay-green component of terminal drought tolerance, a trait that is likely to be associated with more stable grain and stover yield as well as maintenance of ruminant nutritional quality under drought-stress conditions.


Hash et al. emphasize that enhancement will be made even more rapidly and efficiently through the identification of morphological and agronomic traits that can be correlated with nutritional quality parameters (see Appendix A). Pande et al. (this volume) highlighted the importance of plant diseases of some food–feed crops e.g. sorghum and groundnut in significantly reducing the yield and quality of crop residues. This is likely to be the case for most food–feed crops, although it has largely been ignored to date. In some cases, the reduction is genotype-specific with opportunities to select resistant genotypes. In others, plant protection practices can be used to moderate the effects of diseases on yield and quality. Where crop residues are marketed, diseased fodder commands lower prices (Rama Devi et al., 2000). Pande et al. stressed that plant diseases can have an important negative effect on the livelihoods of small farmers by reducing stover yields and value (see Appendix A). This emphasizes the need to take a more holistic approach to managing crop residue quality in crop–livestock systems. In studies on fodder quality of sorghum and pearl millet stover, Blu¨ mmel et al. (this volume) noted significant genotypic variation for chemical, morphological and in vitro fermentation characteristics of stover, but their relationships with digestibility and intake measurements were generally poor. However, they also found that some combinations of these measurements resulted in good overall relationships with stover quality. Voluntary feed intake was shown to be a more crucial quality estimate in crop residues than digestibility. Also, the relationship between both measurements was poor. Blu¨ mmel et al. recommended that improvement programmes for fodder quality should validate feed quality measurements with direct animal performance data (e.g. meat and milk production) before deciding on which laboratory selection criteria to use. This conclusion complements the findings of Mould (also see Appendix A). Several papers report studies on the development and utilization of food–feed crops in crop–livestock systems in developing countries including sorghum and pearl millet in South Asia; maize in East and Southern Africa; and cowpea in West Africa, with emphasis on dual-purpose varieties. Blu¨ mmel et al. (this volume) assessed fodder quality of sorghum and pearl millet in India using digestibility and intake


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measurements. In sorghum, high grain yield and fodder quality were compatible traits. In pearl millet, this relationship held only under high fertilizer application. They found that digestible organic matter intake (DOMI) when bulls were fed to appetite was the crucial determinant of stover quality in sorghum and pearl millet. However, where stover is restricted in quantity, it was suggested that farmers would gain most from using genotypes that have high digestibility under restricted feed intake (also see Appendix A). Management options for maize as food and feed in intensive smallholder systems in Kenya were assessed by Romney et al. (this volume) through field trial data and modelling approaches. Supplementation of maize stover, improvement of stover digestibility and replacement of maize with planted forage were compared. Supplementation with concentrate showed the greatest economic returns with small, positive impacts on soil fertility and maize production. Replacing maize with Napier grass increased milk production but at the expense of maize production. Genetic enhancement of stover digestibility was predicted to have little impact on milk production if the protein content of the stover was not covered either with legume forages or supplements. Romney et al. recommended that further experiments and analyses were needed to confirm the implications of these results. Another approach was followed by Singh et al. (this volume) in Nigeria where dual-purpose cowpea varieties were developed with higher grain and fodder yields as well as enhanced fodder quality. They (this volume) showed that feeding as little as 200–400 g per day of improved cowpea haulms as a supplement to a basal diet of sorghum stover resulted in 100% increased live weight gain in rams compared to sorghum stover alone. These three case studies emphasize not only the diversity of food–feed crops used in different crop–livestock systems in developing countries, but also the value of cross-systems interaction and opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences. Peters et al. (this volume) stressed that insufficient linkages between on-station and on-farm work as well as lack of interaction with farmers has limited wider scale uptake of fodder options by resource-poor livestock farmers. In order to enhance adoption by such farmers of various fodder options (food–feed crops, multi-purpose forages etc.) suited to particular farm niches, there is a need for participatory approaches

and to develop options for different environments, productions systems, and farmer resource profiles. Peters et al. describe approaches to linking on-station research to farmer participation through a series of case studies in Latin America, South-east Asia and West Africa. Participatory technology development, adaptation and adoption will often result in both better technologies and more rapid adoption (see Douthwaite, 2002). Effective seed supply and delivery systems which can meet consumer demands/needs in terms of the range of materials and quantities and quality of seed required at an affordable price are fundamental for small farmers to benefit from research on improving food–feed crops. This was strongly highlighted by Loch and Boyce (this volume) and also for specific food–feed crops by Parthasarathy Rao and Hall (this volume). Loch and Boyce also suggested that a dynamic relationship is likely to develop between the roles of the public and private sectors involved in seed supply and delivery which will differ among countries and over time. Parthasarathy Rao and Hall analysed farmers’ perceptions of the role and importance of crop residues in coarse cereal (sorghum and pearl millet) and groundnut based crop–livestock systems in India. They found that while the nutritive value of fodder from food–feed crops can be determined by in vitro and in vivo analyses, the often subjective quality attributes that farmers (and their animals) value also need attention. Their analyses indicated that farmers perceive a range of quality traits, some of which could be screened for relatively easily (e.g. yield, drought tolerance, tolerance/resistance to pests and diseases etc.), while others may be more difficult to assess (sweet taste and acceptability to animals, light green colour, thin/soft/tall wellfilled stems). Their findings highlight the importance of farmer participatory evaluation of fodder traits in the development of food–feed crops. This approach was also emphasized by Peters et al. for uptake of all fodder technologies in developing countries. Parthasarathy Rao and Hall emphasized that the impact of improved varieties on poor farm households will be contingent on the complementary improvement in the effectiveness of seed delivery systems, and subsequent access to new varieties (see also Loch and Boyce). Ex ante studies of the potential impact of improved food–feed crops can provide information to assist in

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the allocation of scarce research resources to priority activities. Thornton et al. (this volume) applied ex ante impact assessment methods to three studies on the development and utilization of food–feed crops in crop–livestock systems in developing countries reported in this special issue: sorghum and pearl millet in South Asia (Blu¨ mmel et al.); maize in East and Southern Africa (see also Romney et al.); and dualpurpose cowpea in West Africa (see also Singh et al.). In these assessments, substantial impacts (including high benefit:cost ratios) could be achieved through widescale adoption of the food–feed crop interventions being developed and promoted. Due to the cost and time involved in individual assessments, Thornton et al. emphasized that much remains to be done to maximize the utility of such assessments, especially through quantitative modelling, rapid qualitative method development, more effective integration of biophysical and socio-cultural indicators and approaches, and provision of baseline data against which to measure progress.

3. Concluding remarks Small-scale, mixed crop–livestock systems are more important than any other livestock system in terms of their contribution to the total output of animal products, especially meat and milk (Sere and Steinfeld, 1996). They are the most common livestock system in developing countries and are continuing to expand (Smith et al., 1997; Thornton et al., 2002). Within these systems, food–feed crops are the most important feed source for ruminants (cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats) (Thomas, 2002). In sub-Saharan Africa and India alone, an estimated 140 and 370 million resource-poor livestock keepers, respectively, could benefit from improved utilization of food–feed crops within these systems. The 15 papers presented in this special issue have highlighted the complexity of constraints faced in improving food–feed crops in crop–livestock systems—biophysical, socio-economic, cultural and policy-related. The papers have been contributed by animal nutritionists, plant breeders, molecular biologists, agronomists, plant pathologists, seed scientists, modellers and socio-economists. The involvement of this comprehensive suite of disciplines emphasizes the importance of multi-disciplinary collaboration to


effectively address complex constraints. These papers have emphasized the opportunities for improving the quantity and quality of food–feed crops to benefit poor livestock keepers and have clearly shown that substantial impacts could be achieved through wide-scale adoption of food–feed crop interventions in crop– livestock systems. Currently, there are limited opportunities to share ideas and results and to plan a future integrated strategy for tackling complex problems in crop–livestock systems and delivering the outputs of this research to resource-poor livestock keepers. The Systems-wide Livestock Programme (SLP) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) provides an important mechanism for fostering linkages among livestock production activities carried out by different CGIAR centres and their partners. In addition to the SLP, there is a great diversity of institutes implementing a plethora of livestock projects funded by many different donors globally. The SLP can play a key role in achieving further integration, focus and coordination of these efforts to improve the utilization of food–feed crops in crop–livestock systems in developing countries. Such an initiative would give high priority to both technology development and output delivery. Substantially more funding will be needed if the advances being made in improving food–feed crops are to meet the escalating demand for quality fodder and to benefit the hundreds of millions of resource-poor livestock keepers and their animals in crop–livestock systems in developing countries.

Appendix A. Group discussions on approaches for improving food–feed crops and their utilization by small-scale crop–livestock producers Group 1. Feed quality indicators suitable for use in selection programmes. 1.1. Which feed quality indicators in crop residues best reflect animal performance? The relationship between quality indicators and animal performance is better understood for forages, in particular from temperate zones, than for residues from food–feed crops grown in the tropics. The consumption of digestible organic


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matter accounts for a large proportion of the variation in performance. There is a need to more critically assess the relationship between quality indicators and animal performance based on crop residues. 1.2. Are there any tradeoffs between improvement of feed quality of food–feed crops and crop adaptive and yield traits? The existing evidence neither supports nor rejects the existence of tradeoffs between quality improvement and crop yield. The relationship may vary across crops and plant parts. For instance, in maize, hybrids with higher stem digestibility have lower grain yields, but no relationship between leaf quality and yield has been observed. The brown mid-rib trait in maize and other crops is associated with lodging. In other crops no relationship between quality traits and crop yield has been observed. In tropical developing countries, improvement is from a low base, so this relationship should not be a problem. 1.3. What is the minimum set of quality indicators that should be used in genetic improvement programmes? Initially the crop breeder is the main client/ user of these indicators. Firstly, there is need to establish the relationship between quality traits and animal performance. A reasonable approach would be to assess some animal variables related to feed utilization and production, chemical analyses, biological assays and morphological traits is no less than 10 genotypes per crop grown in environments leading to large differences in grain and residue yield. These assessments should be aimed at establishing the relationship between quality indicators and animal performance, not as screening criteria for large germplasm collections. The group recommended the assessment of the following set of indicators: 1.3.1. Animal measurements recommended for cereal stovers, legume hays and tuber/root crops  Organic matter digestibility at maintenance and ad libitum levels of intake.  Voluntary intake of digestible organic matter.  Live weight and carcass weight changes by young growing animals at ad libitum intake.

1.3.2. Chemical and physical analyses Assays

Cereal crops

Legume and tuber/root crops

Nitrogen Neutral detergent fibre Acid detergent fibre Acid detergent lignin Sugars Starch Ash Grinding energy Protein fractions Rate of protein degradation Tannins Saponins and/or other secondary compounds NIRS






Cereal crops

Legume and tuber/root crops

In vitro disappearance of OM and NDF In sacco disappearance of OM and NDF In sacco degradability of protein N/OM degradability and synchronization Gas release in vitro





1.3.3. Biological assays



1.3.4. Morphological and maturity-related traits Traits

Cereal crops

Legume and tuber/root crops

Leaf:stem ratio Plant height Stem diameter Days to maturity Days to flowering Leaf area



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These assessments should identify those traits most related to animal performance under specific production objectives. These key traits will be used to develop an index to best predict animal performance. These indices will then be used by crop breeders to guide the genetic selection programme. At the farmer level a simpler approach will be needed to define feed quality. Samples will be obtained from farms and markets and the purchase price as well as farmer/trader perceptions on feed quality recorded in a systematic way. A tentative plan was proposed to establish the relationship between these traits and animal performance in on-going projects. This plan should include analysis and synthesis of existing data bases and conductance of critical experiments that address specific and fundamental questions on this relationship. The time frame could be  India, by end of 2003 for millet and sorghum.  Ethiopia, by end of 2004 for maize and cowpea.  Nigeria, by end of 2004 for cowpea. Group 2. Approaches for improvement of food– feed crops: genetic enhancement. 2.1. It is likely that substantial tradeoffs exist between gains in residue yield and quality and grain yield? If yes, what would they be? Plant breeding targets need to be set for particular sets of resources/constraints and client farmers. Within these targets, high grain and crop residue yield are major objectives for dualpurposes cultivars, but development of individual grain-type and fodder-type cultivars are additional alternatives. If the breeding target is to increase crop residue yield and ruminant nutritional quality while maintaining high grain yields, then there is untapped genetic variability among high-yielding varieties. Much could be achieved by identifying the best among existing options for a particular target (by farmer participatory varietal selection and other methods). However, further improvement of crop residue yield and quality in these high-yielding dual-purpose varieties will probably involve tradeoffs, with inverse relationships between grain yield and crop residue yield and/or quality being possible.


The group recommended to start with cultivars (local and/or improved) that farmers already find useful but grow predominately for grain; identify farmers’ perceptions of the residuerelated weaknesses of these cultivars; and address these weaknesses by genetic improvement to allow more rapid and extensive adoption of improved outputs by poor livestock producers in marginal agricultural environments. 2.2. What approach of the following is most likely to produce best results in improving feed value (yield, quality) of dual-purpose cereals (sorghum, millet, maize, barley) and legumes (cowpea, groundnut): (a) Introduction of quality-related traits such as ‘bmr’, stay-green, etc. (b) ‘Conventional’ selection for traits such as digestibility, leafiness, etc. (c) Marker-assisted selection for traits such as digestibility, leafiness, stay-green, trait, etc.? Considering the largest possible change over time, limited donor interest; options for the quickest economically important change, shortest time to achieve 50% of potential grains, and cost per unit change, the answer is probably crop and trait-dependent. For crops where NIRS calibrations are already in place (barley, maize and cowpea, with others following soon), the biggest change over time is likely to come from conventional breeding with NIRS-estimated livestock feeding trial performance as this can handle the numbers required. In sorghum, the quickest economically important changes will probably come by adding foliar disease resistance and stay-green to farmer-preferred cultivars with tall, thin stalks as this is the complex of visually assessable quality traits that determines crop residue market value. In groundnut, adding foliar disease resistance to high-haulm-yield genotypes should give the quickest useful changes. Pearl millet and cowpea are the crops where there is currently the greatest opportunity to quickly assess the utility of marker-assisted QTL detection for crop residue feeding-valuerelated traits. For pearl millet, products are now available that can be used to assess livestock performance response to the addition of foliar


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disease resistance or brown mid-rib traits to released cultivars. Linking NIRS results to QTLs, markers for NIRS-estimated OMI will facilitate the identification of opportunities to pyramid positive alleles from different genomic regions contributing to NIRS-estimated OMI (it would otherwise be difficult and time-consuming to identify such opportunities for economically interesting transgressive segregates). Large plots of a small number of genotypes at one location would produce crop residue samples to calibrate NIRS and in vivo performance (and its in vitro-estimated components). Small plot trials could then be used to assess G  E effects on NIRS spectra and in vitro estimates, up-dating calibrations as and when necessary. 2.3. What would be realistic key milestones in a time frame to improve feed quality say by 10% of the baseline? There is potential to positively impact on farmers in 3–5 years with currently available cultivars of the main cereal crops in South Asia and Africa, with subsequent genetic gains from plant breeding of about 2% per year in crop residue value. To achieve such an impact, there would be need for focusing and restricting the number of players and crops. It will be critical to select partners willing to participate in the relatively applied research required to permit short delivery times for adoptable products. The number of crops can be restricted by using two criteria: poverty focus and comparative advantage and with models for crop species used as bulk (fine stem and coarse stem) or supplements in crop residue-based livestock diets. The main targets could be  Barley: ICARDA and ILRI with NARS (and ARIs).  Pearl millet and/or sorghum: ICRISAT and ILRI along with NARS (and ARIs).  Cowpea: IITA and ILRI along with NARS (and ARIs). In the longer term other crops for which impact can be achieved include:  Groundnut and pigeon pea: ICRISAT and ILRI with NARS (and ARIs).  Maize: CIMMYT and ILRI with NARS and ARIs.

 Rice: IRRI and ILRI with NARS and ARIs.  Tuber/root crops: IITA, ILRI with NARS and ARIs. 2.4. What would be the mechanism to deliver improved cultivars? The appropriateness of crop delivery systems is dependent on the breeding behaviour of the product cultivars:  Barley and cowpea are self-pollinated. For these crops the options would be  Farmer-to-farmer seed exchange.  NGOs.  (Small) private sector seed producers.  Sorghum is largely self-pollinated, but hybrid cultivars are also possible.  Options for open-pollinated cultivars would be as above.  Options for hybrid cultivars would be as below.  Pearl millet is highly cross-pollinated, with hybrid cultivars widely adopted in India and open-pollinated varieties elsewhere in developing countries. For this crop the options would be  Hybrid seed producers (large and small; public and private) in India.  As for self-pollinated species elsewhere. 2.5. What type of support is needed to achieve this improvement? The support required is mostly related to the policy and institutional environment, such as  Governments facilitate access to market information and develop other infrastructure in rural areas.  It is a condition that animal product markets continue to be strong (per current expectations) so the demand for livestock feedstuffs is maintained.  Price-support programs, and/or development of alternative uses for grains to avoid environmentally induced collapse of markets in years of high production.  Use of product cultivars must be profitable to livestock producers.  Plant breeding products developed from publicfunded projects are international public goods with minimal IPR-related restrictions on access.  In the case of hybrid cultivars, their parental lines are made readily available to the private seed industry.

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Group 3. Approaches for improvement of food– feed crops: crop management and post-harvest. 3.1. What would be the main options to improve feed quality of cereals (sorghum, millet, maize, barley) and legumes (cowpea, groundnut) through pre- and post-harvest management? 3.1.1. Targets and options for pre- and post-harvest management


scientists would enable feed value criteria to be integrated into technological options. Mechanisms of delivery is itself a researchable issue. There is a need to look at alternative systems or mechanisms (including feedback from farmers on improved as well as traditional/indigenous knowledge). Existing mechanisms of delivery should be re-examine as some could be improved. Knowledge and information exchange and flow will be important in identify-




Cereals: sorghum, pearl millet, maize, barley

Crop establishment, disease/pest management, mycotoxins, soil fertility management, cropping system (rotation, intercrop, relay) time of harvest Fodder harvesting, weeding, thinning

Storage, disease/peat management, mycotoxins, spoilage, handling and processing, urea treatment

Legumes: cowpea, groundnut

3.2. Which of these options are likely to result in improvements in the livelihoods of the rural poor; are researchable; and warrant involvement of the CGIAR (i.e. for which the CGIAR centres have comparative advantage)? All options will improve the livelihoods of the rural poor and are researchable. The CGIAR centres should be involved primarily in strategic issues of broad application, with NARS having competitive advantage for applied and localspecific research. These issues require integrated approaches for pre- and post-harvest related research. Some will require methodology development. 3.3. What would be the outputs of this research and the mechanisms of delivery to smallholder crop–livestock farmers? Technology outputs would include: crop, disease/pest, and soil fertility management methods (such as micro-dosing); the outputs would be developed in partnership with NARS; a support system could be provided by NARS, NGOs and INGOs. A basket of improved technologies would be made available to farmers. Interaction between crop and animal

Drying, pelleting, storage

ing the most appropriate mechanisms. Partnerships, modus operandi, technologies etc. may be location-specific. 3.4. What would be the approaches to pursue research on these management practices? Participation of smallholders should be the core of the approach. It will be important to work at the community and system level. Partnerships between CGIAR, NARS, ARIs and development agencies are essential. Modelling will be a useful approach for synthesis of available knowledge, identifying gaps of information, identifying suitable research hypotheses, assessing options and scaling-out and scaling-up. 3.5. What would be the policy, economic, and institutional requirements to ensure that improved management practices are adopted by farmers? Socio-economic input will be essential. Interventions must be demand-driven. Market research (access to markets) will be necessary. Information will also be needed on infrastructure limitations and access to credit. Initially case by case approaches should be followed. Knowledge

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