Improving post-rainy sorghum varieties to meet the growing grain and fodder demand in India

Project Leader
Dr Vincent Vadez
Email
v.vadez@cgiar.org
Fax
91 40 30713074
Phone
91 40 30713463
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Project ID: 
CIM/2007/120
Start Date
01/07/2008
Project Coordinator Fax
Reference Number
CR-202211-42577
Project Type
Multilateral
Project Status
Active
Finish Date
31/07/2013
Extension Start Date
01/08/2013
Commissioned Organisation: 
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, India
dockey
Project Coordinator Email
Commissioned Organisation
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, India
Extension Finish Date
31/07/2017
Overview Collaborators
  • International Livestock Research Institute, India
  • University of Queensland, Australia
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
  • Directorate of Sorghum Research, India
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Eric Huttner
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The project was approved late July 2008 and activities have started as expected for the postrainy season 2008-09. We could not have a meeting with all project partners before the start of the season. However, we had a couple of strategic meeting with partners based in India (ICRISAT, NRCS, ILRI), in early September to ensure that planned activities for the Rabi season would proceed as planned in the project proposal. Essentially, we met to decide on locations and material to include in testing.
Field activities have been performed as planned. Details are described in the different project activities below. The kick-off meeting with all partners of the project has been held between 23-25 March 2009 at ICRISAT. This meeting was originally planned for January but was postponed because of the aftermath of the Bombay events. Minutes and program of the meeting have been circulated and are available upon request.
The project is well on track. Detailed analysis of data gathered so far and only recently collected needs to be further pursued. The use of the lysimetric system to assess pre-post anthesis water use, a key component of information that this project aims to produce, appears to fulfil really well the expectations and thorough analysis of data now needs to be done. Excerpts of these analyses and progresses made thus far are provided in what follows.
Activity 1.1. Complete the marker-assisted backcross development of single/multiple stay-green QTL (stgA, stgB, stg1, stg2, stg3, stg4) NILs in elite parents including sweet sorghum S35.
These materials were advanced prior to the 2008-09 trial and seeds were multiplied and dispatched to NRCS for multilocation trials reported below (Activity 1.3)
Activity 1.2. Test single/multiple stay-green QTL for stay-green expression in the field and grain/stover yield/quality at Patancheru under terminal drought conditions.
The single and multiple stay-green QTL introgression lines in two different genetic backgrounds (R16 and S35) were evaluated in two moisture regimes (irrigated and stress) during postrainy season of year 2008-2009 at two sites in India, Patancheru and Tandur . The stay-green QTL isolines in R16 genetic background were evaluated in a replicated 42-entry (including parents and checks) trial in an alpha-design with 4-row plots (of 6m length). The stay-green QTL isolines in S35 genetic background were accommodated in a replicated 56-entry trial with a field design similar to R16 genetic background trial. The trials were sown during second week of October 2008. The observations on Green Leaf Area (starting from 2 weeks before flowering till maturity) and other related traits on agronomic performance of these QTL isolines were recorded. The whole plant straw samples were harvested on plot basis, and grinding of these samples will be completed by second week of June 2009, for stover fodder quality traits. On the basis of results from this trial, best single QTL isolines in both genetic backgrounds will be identified for development of double QTL introgression lines.
Activity 1.3. Test selected single/multiple QTL isolines in multi-location trials of India
These test were performed at several locations by NRCS. During Rabi season (October-April 2009), two sets of material, 42 lines of R 16 based and 56 lines of S35 based genetic background stay green QTL introgression lines were evaluated for postflowering drought tolerance. The trials were conducted at three locations, Tandur (Andhra Pradesh), Rahuri (Maharashtra) and Bijapur (Karnataka) in 6x7 (R16 based genetic material) and 7x8 (S35 based genetic material) alpha designs with three replications. The sowing was done on Oct 3, Oct 17 and Oct 27, 2008 at Tandur, Bijapur and Rahuri, respectively. Two water regimes were imposed by withholding the irrigation during the post flowering period. Unfortunately, the trials conducted at Rahiri and Bijapur were abandoned before flowering due to severe shoot fly attack due to late sowing. Excess rains during first weak of October resulted in the flooding of fields, which did not allow us to prepare the field for sowing in time.
At Tandur, trial on the evaluation of S35 based genetic material was successfully conducted and the required data set were recorded. Following observations were recorded.
Plant stand
Days to 50% percent flowering and grain physiological maturity,
Plant height at Flowering and physiological maturity
Green leaf area estimation of top six leaves from flowering onward
Panicle number and dry weight,
Stover and grain dry weight
100-grain mass
Stover Quality parameters- stover samples for quality analysis was handed over to ILRI.
As data analysis is yet to be completed, the results from this trial will be reported in the next report.
Activity 2.1. Model analysis of increased WUE (pre/post anthesis water use) stay-green under different climatic scenarios for both Australia and post-rainy season India
Soil depth measurements have been taken to feed into APSIM. The work on APSIM will fully start once the post doctoral fellow is recruited, which should take place towards the beginning of Year 2 of the project.
Activity 2.2. Assess variation for WUE/WU in the GCP-genotyped sorghum reference collection and in single/multiple stay-green QTL isolines from 1.1.
This work was carried out at ICRISAT
Evaluation of the full reference collection of sorghum for transpiration efficiency under well-watered and water-stressed conditions, and for the rate of water loss per unit of leaf area
We assessed all the accessions (375 + 3 controls) of the reference collection for transpiration efficiency (TE). The trial was planted on October 27th and the TE experiment was carried out between 8 and 27th December 2008. Plants were grown in large pots (11” diameters, containing 11 kg of Alfisol). Four seeds were planted in each pot, later on thinned to one seedling per pot at 2 weeks after sowing. Twelve plants (pots) were grown for each entry. Plants were grown under fully irrigated conditions until 6 weeks after sowing. At that stage, 4 replicated plants per genotype were harvested to evaluate plant biomass before imposing the treatment in the other 8 plants, which were used for the stress (water stress, WS) and control treatment (well-watered, WW), that is 4 replicated plants for each treatment. For that, the remaining plants were saturated with water. Since there were 378 entries in the trial, only one replication within each treatment could be handled per day and therefore the treatment imposition was staggered over 4 days. On each day, one replication within each treatment (WS and WW) were saturated with water, bagged with plastic bag around the stem the following morning, and weighed immediately after. Bagging prevented soil evaporation. Same procedure was followed for the 3 other replications. The procedure for each of the treatment was as follows:
1. Drought stress set: WS plants were exposed to progressive water stress by letting plant loose no more than 150 g per day during the first 4 days after imposing stress, no more than 100 g per day in the following 4 days, and no more than 75 g per days during the rest of the experiment. Since pots were weighed every 4 days only, this corresponded to a maximum water loss of 600 g over 4 days, 400 g in the subsequent 4 days, and then 300 g for any 4 days interval in the rest of the experiment.
2. Well-watered set: WW plants were maintained well-watered by re-adjusting pot weight close to field capacity on those days when the pots were weighed (every 4 days), and by adding water two days after weighing to bring back pots close to field capacity, based on transpiration data (from previous weighing intervals).
All plants were harvested when the transpiration of the drought set fell below 10% of the transpiration of the well-watered set. Harvest and transpiration data have been performed but data entry has still to be completed and should be reported during our next meeting.
Evaluation of a portion of the reference set (with relatively similar flowering time during Rabi) and selected stay-green QTL introgression lines for water uptake under stressed conditions in lysimeters (2.0-m long and 25-cm diameter tubes), and for the proportion of water used prior/after anthesis
A set of 210 entries, including 152 accessions from the reference collection + 58 marker-aided stay-green QTL introgressed lines in the background of S35 and R16 were assessed in large and long PVC cylinders (2.0 m long and 25 cm diameter), mimicking roughly the soil volume that sorghum plants would have at usual field planting densities. The trial has been sown on 20th Oct 08. Re-saturation of the soil profile was performed between Nov 13 and 15th, by adding 3 liters of water to each cylinder to ensure that all lysimeters were saturated at the time of imposing the stress. Immediately, after saturation, polyethylene bead were applied to the soil surface to prevent soil evaporation, at a rate of 600 mL, giving a layer of approximately 1.2 cm, sufficient to limit soil evaporation by about 80%. First weighing of the cylinders was taken on 19-20-21-22 November 08. In each case, one full pit was taken, corresponding to one and half replications in each of the treatment (these are 630 cylinders, which is the maximum that can be weighed accurately in a single day). Subsequently, weighing was done following the same sequence, so that the interval between weighing was the same for all treatments and replications. Two treatments were applied: a water stress treatment and a fully irrigated control. Procedure for each of these treatment was as follows:
1. Water stress treatment: No water was added from the time of saturation, i.e. 15th Nov 08, except 1000 mL applied during grain filling on each of 02nd and 09th Jan 09. A total of five weighing were taken for the water stress treatment, i.e. 21-22 Nov, 5-6 Dec, 19-20 Dec, 7-8 Jan, 19-20. Plants were physiologically mature at the time of the last weighing and thus were harvested soon after weighing. Plant parts were separated in leaf, stem, panicle and grain weights.
The data showed a range of variation in water extraction between 10193 g plant-1 to 15260 g plant-1, i.e. about 50% variation in water extraction between the highest and lowest water “extracters”.
One of the hypothesis of the project is that staygreen could be a consequence of differences in the pattern of water use, with staygreen material likely to be those using a relatively lower proportion of water during the pre-anthesis period, to favor more water availability for grain filling. We found a clear negative relationship across the 210 entries, between the amount of water taken before anthesis and that taken after anthesis, showing that genotypes taking up more water before anthesis took up less water after anthesis. How this relates to grain yield still needs to be analyzed.
The PVC experiment gave also the opportunity to assess TE across a fairly large range of genotypes, over a long period of time (from 4 weeks after sowing until maturity). TE value varied between 2.44 g kg-1 water transpired to 6.09 g kg-1 water transpired, and so showed a very large range of variation. A detailed analysis is need to investigate how differences in TE relate to the presence or absence of certain staygreen QTL. In short, in S35 background, few staygreen QTL introgression lines had TE above S35. Introgression lines with Stg 3, Stg4 or Stg B had all fairly high TE equal or superior to S35. In R16 background, most Stg B, and Stg3 and few Stg4 introgression lines had high TE, equal or superior to R16. In any case, there were entries from the sorghum reference collection with TE higher that the highest of the staygreen trial entries.
2. Well-watered treatment: Six cylinder weighing have been done on: 19-20 Nov 08, 3-4 Dec 08, 17-18 Dec 08, 5-6 Jan 09, 21-22 Jan 09, and 2-3 February. Plants were harvested soon after the last weighing. For genotypes maturing earlier, the head had been harvested before to avoid grain losses. However, all the stover biomass was harvested at same time. Analysis of the water extracted has been done until after the final weighing of the samples.
Total water use under well-watered conditions varied between about 10.5 kg to about 42.3 kg of water per plants from 4 weeks after sowing until maturity. The highest and lowest water users under well-watered conditions are reported below. Biomass and grain data have been performed and reveal a large range of variation. As for the DS treatment, the trial was an opportunity to assess TE over a long period of time (from 4 weeks after sowing until maturity) in a large set of entries. There also, the very interesting thing is that data revealed also a good range of variation in TE. Thorough data analysis is still needed and is planned for the next meeting in Australia during the National Conference on Sorghum (7-8 August 2009).
Activity 2.3. Conduct an ex-ante analysis of the economic benefits (increase in grain/fodder quantity/quality) of incorporating stay-green and/or improved pre/post anthesis water uses/WUE traits in existing sorghum varieties in Australia and post rainy season India
Monthly sorghum stover sampling from six sorghum stover traders in Hyderabad was taken up November 2008 to provide new baseline data for stover quality - price relationships. From November 08 to March 09, the average price per kg dry stover was 12.7 cents. For comparison from November 2004 to March 2005 the average stover price was 6.7 cents.

The project is fully underway. For the second postrainy season of the project, the trials in ICRISAT and at the partner locations were carried out almost rain-free, which allowed an excellent expression of the stay-green phenotype and an excellent discrimination of the stay-green introgression lines. From the six different QTL that have been introgressed from donor parent B35, it is fairly evident that StgA, StgB and Stg3 all contribute to a clear expression of the stay-green phenotype and some of the lines contribute to enhanced seed yield and biomass under terminal drought.

Interestingly, the 2009-10 season confirms the value of several StgA, StgB and Stg3 introgression lines across locations on trials at the partner’s stations. Due to this excellent proof of concept of the value of several stay-green QTL, discussions during the most recent planning meeting centered on: (i) developing a di-allele scheme to combine beneficial QTLs; and (ii) choosing six popular varieties from Rabi sorghum (North Karnataka, West Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra) to initiate the introgression of beneficial QTLs into these varieties.

The lysimetric facility used to evaluate a number of traits related to plant water use and water extraction has revealed a wealth of variation in the germplasm for transpiration efficiency (over 50% range of variation) and a range of variation for water extraction from 12 to 15 litres per plant. This provides new sources of variation for critical traits that can be fed into breeding programs. Interestingly, certain stay-green QTL enhance either transpiration efficiency or water extraction, although this depends on the genetic background where they are introgressed. For instance, Stg1 and Stg2 enhance water uptake in an S35 background (which has limited capacity to extract water), while there is no QTL that improves water extraction in an R16 background, which is already endowed with high water extraction capacity. Therefore, stay-green QTL can be dissected for the different traits they control at the gene level. However, a prior knowledge of these traits in target cultivars for introgression is critical.

The postdoctoral fellow has been recruited and is at present undertaking training in APSIM in Queensland, Australia. Initial work will consist of mapping yields across Rabi sorghum states in India and extrapolating soil conditions prevailing at each test site. This mapping will then be used to test the effects of specific QTL on yield across a range of locations.

The project is still in full swing. For the third post-rainy season of the project, trials have been repeated at ICRISAT and at three partner locations during 2010-11, using a subset of the most promising entries tested in the 2009-10 season, i.e. 18 entries in S35 and 18 entries in R16 backgrounds. Harvest of the trials has been completed and fodder quality assessment is in progress. These same entries have also been tested in the lysimetric system to evaluate precisely the pattern of water extraction and its relation to yield and leaf development parameters. Some of these entries have also been tested in pot studies in a controlled environment facility to evaluate traits related to the plant’s control of water use under well-watered and water stressed conditions. The introgression of stay-green QTLs into six popular varieties from the Rabi sorghum main track (North Karnataka, western Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra) is in progress. Characterization of the Rabi sorghum environment has been done to elicit the type of stress that is most common in order to better target the choice of traits needed for adaptation. This has involved the collection of climatic data from Rabi sorghum districts and productivity data from these same districts, as well a thorough APSIM simulation. In a nutshell, Rabi sorghum primarily undergoes flowering and post-flowering terminal drought, which is fully in line with the project’s objectives. Efforts have been made and are still on-going in Year 3 to deliver publications, with one paper accepted in Functional Plant Biology, and one paper currently under review (Crop and Pasture Science). A meeting has also recently been held to discuss other potential publications in view of the value of the data collected since the beginning of the project. We have agreed to have one manuscript prepared to report the result of the 44 introgression line entries (+ checks) in the S35 background and one from the 31 introgression line entries (+ checks) in the R16 background, across the DSR and ICRISAT locations using data for the period 2009-10. This manuscript will be drafted by Dr HS Talwar, Principal Scientist at DSR. A second manuscript will report the detailed yield trials carried out at ICRISAT and will relate expression of the stay-green phenotype and its relationship with yield, using the 2009-10 data and possibly the 2008-09 data for the S35 background. This manuscript will be drafted by Dr Santosh Deshpande, and will report, in particular, the clear expression of the stay-green phenotype in StgA, StgB and Stg3 introgression lines. A third manuscript, headed by Dr Michael Blummel, will report on the assessment of fodder quality data in different locations and under different water regimes at each location. An ex-ante assessment of the value of introgression of stay-green QTLs has been executed and a fourth manuscript is coming up. A meeting was held in Queensland in April 2011 to update project partners on progress. We have also discussed the possibility of a Phase 2 for this project, capitalizing on the great progress achieved in Phase 1. An outline of the ideas that have been exchanged will be sent to the ACIAR program manager as the basis for an initial dialogue.

The project is now completed. A no-cost extension has been granted in order to carry out a workshop to disseminate the findings of the project. This workshop was initially planned for the last semester of Year 4. However, while the project has, on the whole, achieved excellent outputs, the experimental data from Year 4 could not be fully analysed by the time of the workshop. Therefore, it was proposed to have the workshop just after the end of the project. The purpose of the workshop will now go beyond the scope of the current project and will be open to a much larger community of sorghum scientists, especially with a view to linking project activities to the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (CRP 3.6), and also as a basis for drafting a proposal for a potential second phase to this project.
In Year 4, postrainy trials were repeated to assess the most promising introgression lines from Year 1 and 2, i.e., 12 entries in S35 and 13 entries in R16 background, which were also tested in Year 3, plus parental lines and checks. These were tested at ICRISAT and at three partner locations in 2011-12. Again, very promising introgression lines were identified, and some confirmed the previous year’s assessment, both for grain yield and for stover yield. The capacity to positively alter both grain yield and fodder is very important as both components now share almost an equal importance in the sorghum value chain. Harvest of the trials has been completed and fodder quality assessment is underway. The testing of these same entries has also been repeated in the lysimetric system to evaluate precisely the pattern of water extraction and its relation with yield, as well as leaf development parameters. Several dry-down experiments in the glasshouse to assess specific water saving traits have also been performed in some of these lines under well-watered and water-stressed conditions. A few traits appear to clearly distinguish staygreen introgression material, e.g., the capacity to develop smaller leaf area and the capacity to restrict transpiration under high VPD conditions. The introgression of stay-green QTLs into six popular varieties from the postrainy (Rabi) season sorghum main areas (North Karnataka, West Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra) is now at the BC1F1 stage. We have also fingerprinted the staygreen introgression lines, in R16 and S35 backgrounds, with Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers. This had helped to saturate the staygreen QTL regions, and also helped to assess the recurrent parent recovery. In all, we have data on 669 DArT clones with known physical position on the sorghum physical map for all staygreen introgression lines. A publication is under review in Field Crops Research related to the characterization of the postrainy season sorghum environments that segregates these environments into sub-areas characterized by different stress types. The results clearly shows that the postrainy season sorghum area (about 5 M ha) should not be taken as a single block, but as sub-blocks characterized by different stress patterns, therefore requiring specific breeding for precise drought-adaptive traits. Using APSIM and based on the finding of traits discriminating staygreen introgression lines from recurrent parents, crops simulation modelling efforts have been made to test the effect of several water saving traits (those identified from physiological studies), one of them having an important effect, especially under harsh conditions. The publications that were mentioned in the previous report are progressing well. A review article will be forthcoming in a CABI book in 2013. Furthermore, there is a plan for additional papers on the lysimetric assessments and the trait-based assessments of introgression lines and germplasm, to capitalize on the most important physiological traits that are affected by staygreen introgression. This should give the basis for evolving from the use of staygreen QTL in breeding to the use of specific, well-characterized mechanisms. Our current target is to have these papers prepared for the workshop, which is set for 19-21 February 2013.
Activity 1.1. Complete the marker-assisted backcross development of single/multiple stay-green QTL (StgA, StgB, Stg1, Stg2, Stg3, Stg4) NILs in elite parents including sweet sorghum S35
This activity was completed at the end of Year1. The most promising of these are now being used in the diallele crossing program, whose purpose is to pyramid together several staygreen QTLs.
Activity 1.2. Test single/multiple staygreen QTL for staygreen expression in the field and grain/stover yield/quality at Patancheru under terminal drought conditions
A trial including a subset of the most promising entries from the 2009-10 season, i.e. 18 entries in S35 and 18 entries in R16 background, which had been tested in 2010-11, has been conducted. Harvest of the trials has been completed and fodder quality assessment is in progress. The stress level this year was mild (about 20% reduction in grain yield in both backgrounds), which was explained by cultivation in a fairly deep soil and a slightly later imposition of stress than in the previous year. However, in both backgrounds there were again several introgression lines with performance superior to the recurrent background (e.g. S35SG06014, a Stg3 introgression in S35 background, K359W, K369, K382, K456 in R16 background). We are now running a complete analysis of these data using the two years in which this same set was evaluated.
There was also substantial variation in the stover biomass in this repeated trial, although the reduction in stover biomass under terminal water stress was about 30% in the S35 background sub-trial (stover yield reduction higher than grain yield reduction), but only about 20% in the R16 background sub-trial (same reduction than for grain yield). In S35 background, introgression lines S35SG06026, S35SG06028, S35SG06038, S35SG06014, S35SG06001 had stover yield significantly higher than recurrent parent (30-60%). In R16 background, the same introgression lines having yield superior to R16 (K359W, K369, K382, K456) also had higher stover yield under terminal water stress (10-20%). Given the importance of stover in the sorghum value chain, these results indicated that gains can be made from both the improvement of grain and stover yield. The fact that several introgression lines in the two backgrounds are “double winners” is very encouraging and confirms results from the earlier years. The increase in stover biomass in the S35 background was also very substantial (over 30%).
To deepen the understanding of the putative mechanisms of stover/grain yield drought adaptation (undoubtedly impacting their quality), the leaf area (LA) developmental characteristics were assessed in 20 genotypes (10 each from R16 and S35 backgrounds; out of that in 6 genotypes detailed leaf observations allowing their model parameterization were gathered) under well-watered (WW) and water-stressed (WS) regimes in 2011-2012 field experiment. We also gathered further evidence of genotypic differences in the LA developmental patterns under WW and additional genotypic plasticity under WS. Under WW several genotypes developed smaller LA (6028, 6038, 6040 [S35 background]); K606 (R16 background), while others had larger LA (extreme case 6026 [S35 background]) compared to their respective senescent parents. We found the genotypes further differed in their reaction to WS in terms of LA development - some genotypes we found clearly restrict leaves growth upon drought exposure (K359 white [R16 background], 6026, 6008, 7001 [S35 background]) while others did not (both senescent parents - R16, S35). Very similar patterns were found in detailed LA study in lysimetric system and, moreover, there the total LA developed under WS related strongly (negatively) to plant’s grain yield, indicating clearly that, under these conditions of stress, developing a smaller leaf area was beneficial for yield under fairly severe terminal stress.
The available range of LA identified across the different introgression lines, leading to a wide range of plant water usage, therefore provides us an arsenal of plant material that have potentially the promise to be specifically adapted across a fairly broad spectrum of environmental conditions. This is intended to be further used for precision breeding purposes - i.e. matching particular developmental pattern with given agro-ecosystem (this will be tested with model; Activity 2.1.)
Stover quality data from the 2011-12 trial have been generated and data are being analysed. Current efforts are focusing on the publication of the data from the initial two years. In short, there appears to be no trade-off between fodder quality and quantity, in both genetic backgrounds, indicating that varietal improvement for fodder quality can be done along with grain and fodder productivity enhancement. This year’s data confirmed significant positive effects of several staygreen QTL on fodder quality traits, and also confirmed that these effects depended on the genetic background (same results were obtained for drought adaptation mechanisms). For instance, there is a significant 2-3 unit increase in in-vitro digestibility due to StgB and StgA introgression in S35 background, but almost no change in any of the staygreen introgression in R16 background. An opposite effect was found for stover nitrogen (another fodder quality trait), with no effect of any staygreen QTL in S35 background, but a significant effect of introgression in several QTL in the R16 background.
Activity 1.3. Test selected single/multiple QTL isolines in multi-location trials of India
The trials have been repeated at three partner locations (Tandur, Bijapur, and Hyderabad) using selected 12 entries in S35 and 13 entries in R16 backgrounds, plus parental lines and checks (18-entries trials in both cases). The trials were sown under stress and non-stress treatments at all three locations. In this season the trials under stress conditions were replicated six times, and three times under non-stress conditions. The trials were carried out almost rain-free at all three locations. All the required observations (phenology, plant height, green leaf area retention at different growth stages during post-flowering growth period and yield components) were recorded at all three locations.
The variations between genotypes and water-treatments were significant for all the yield components (grain yield, stover yield and total dry matter), but interactions between treatments (well-watered and water-stressed) and genotypes (QTLs) were non-significant at all the locations under both genetic backgrounds. On the other hand, variation in genotypes/QTLs differs significantly across locations and their interactions with locations (environments) were also significant under both stress and non-stress environment in both the genetic backgrounds. This implies that same QTL may not work in all locations. Our results confirmed the finding of previous year that GLAR (green leaf area retention at physiological maturity) and yield components were significantly higher for the R16 background. Our phenotypic data clearly indicate that stgB is the key QTL for yield components under water stress in the R16 genetic background and stgA, stgB and stg1 are the key QTLs for yield components under water stress in the S35 genetic background. It seems that the QTL stgB is common in both, hence less interaction with genetic backgrounds. Data clearly indicated about a 10% advantage in grain yield (GY) and total dry matter (TDM) accumulation by staygreen QTLs introgression in R16 background under both WW and WS conditions. On the other hand, about an 8% advantage was recorded in GY and TDM by staygreen QTLs introgression in the S35 background under WS, but no advantage under WW conditions.
Activity 1.4. Saturate key QTL regions on sorghum linkage groups with easily used markers
To saturate the target staygreen QTL regions, all of the ILs evaluated in first two years of the project were fingerprinted using DArT assays. Thirty-eight staygreen ILs in R16-background, and 43 ILs in S35 background, along with parents, were genotyped with standard DArT assay available at Diversity Array Technology Pvt. Ltd. in Australia. A total of 721 DArT clones were scored for staygreen ILs in both R16 and S35 background, and 669 DArT clones for which physical map positions on the sorghum genome is used for further interpretations. For staygreen ILs in R16 background, the range for monomorphic DArT clones was 37-48%, with a maximum of 6% missing data. The range for B35-allele introgression in R16 background ILs is between 0 to 17%; with recurrent parent recovery (for R16 alleles) in the range of 35 to 52%. Similarly, for S35 background ILs, the range of monomorphic DArT clones was 36 to 39%, with maximum of 6% missing data. The B35-allele introgression ranged from 2 to 19%, with recurrent parent recovery for S35 alleles in the range of 42 to 58%. Currently, we are in the process of developing haplotype/allelic distribution map for all of the staygreen ILs, and this DArT data along with polymorphic SSRs will be further utilized to analyse the effects of different introgressions on staygreen expressions.
To further characterize the QTL introgression regions related to different staygreen QTLs at the sequence level, we have submitted all of the ILs genotyped with DArTs to the Institute of Genomic Diversity (IGD) for Genotyping-By-Sequencing (GBS) analysis under a NSF-BREAD project with Ed Buckler’s Laboratory at Cornell University. The data from this GBS analysis will identify SNPs and PAVs (present-absent variations). This data will further help us identify SNPs and candidate genes in the staygreen QTL regions. The SNP data along with field and lysimetry characterization can further be utilized for genomic selection for improved drought tolerance in postrainy season sorghum.
Activity 1.5. Initiate the introgression of key QTLs onto the most widely grown postrainy season season sorghum varieties
The most promising staygreen QTL ILs (both in R16 and S35 background) shortlisted based on both field and lysimetry evaluations were crossed in half-diallel crossing scheme to generate double QTL introgressions. For R16 background, 7 ILs (K359-white, K375, K260, K271, K382, K456 and K369) and 8 ILs in S35 background (S35SG06003, S35SG06028, S35SG07003, S35SG0632, S35SG06014, S35SG06005, S35SG06010 and S35SG06011) were crossed during the postrainy season 2011 and rainy season 2012 to generate F1 seed in diallel scheme to produce 21 and 28 crosses in R16 and S35 backgrounds, respectively. These F1s are being advanced in current rainy season 2012 to generate F2 seed for all combinations. These F2 seed along with their respective staygreen IL parents along with F1s will be field evaluated during the 2012-13 postrainy season to understand gene interactions and genetics of staygreen expression as a function of double QTL introgressions. Resources permitting, we will also try to use some of the remnant seed from selected F2 populations to identify double QTL homozygotes.
Staygreen QTL introgressions in six popular postrainy season sorghum varieties (CSV22, Parbhani Moti, M35-1, Akola Kranti, Parbhani Jyothi, and DSV5) has been initiated. The most successful introgressions in both R16 (K359-stgB, K260-stg3, K271-stg4) and S35 background (S35SG06008-stgA and S35SG06040-stg1) were used as donors for introgression of all the six validated staygreen QTLs. These QTLs are being introgressed into six popular postrainy season varieties, e.g., M 35-1, Parbhani Moti=SPV1411, Phule Vasudha, and CRS1 by marker-assisted backcrossing using 3 to 5 SSRs flanking these QTLs. Currently, the crossing program is at the BC1F1 stage, and with input from the Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR), ICAR, Hyderabad we will add three more genotypes (Phule Yashoda, Parbhani Moti and DSV5) into the backcrossing scheme during the 2012 postrainy season. Currently, we are assessing the polymorphism of additional SSRs in staygreen QTL regions which will help for faster recovery of recurrent parents by BC2 or BC3 generation.
Activity 2.1. Model analysis of increased WUE (pre/post anthesis water use) staygreen under different climatic scenarios for both Australia and postrainy season India
Last year, we reported that the postrainy season sorghum area was, in fact, compounded of several sub-regions characterized by different patterns of drought, from very severe to mild. The paper reporting this analysis is under review in Field Crops Research. This year we have initiated the simulation of trait effects on yield in these different sub-regions. The knowledge of drought stress environments across main postrainy season sorghum tract (Field Crops Research, under review) along with improved understanding of drought tolerance mechanisms (Activity 1.2.) was used to virtually introgress these mechanisms into common postrainy season cultivar (M35-1) and model its effect across these environments. Traits of our main interest were modelled, and out of them two showed promise of improving yield under postrainy conditions in the target zone. These were analysed in detail, i.e., with dynamics of LA development and tissues hydraulic conductivity.
To model the effect of differences in LA development on yield, the APSIM coefficients of LA parameters for M35-1 (TPLA production coefficient and TPLA inflection ratio) were altered. The modification in these parameters used the experimental data gathered in some introgression lines and were then within the magnitude of differences in LA developmental dynamics described between R16 and one of the most successful stg introgression line; K359white (stgB). The APSIM outputs indicated the introgression of mechanism altering the dynamics of leaves expansion rates would improve the grain production in the terminal drought environments in which stress occurs before flowering while there would be production trade-off in the environments with later drought stress onset or stress-free environments.
The evidence of altered tissues’ hydraulic conductivity within sorghum germplasm was gathered (similar to that observed in pearl millet [Kholova et al. 2010]). Further investigations showed that this mechanism appears to be linked to lower root hydraulic conductivity which probably limits leaves’ hydraulic conductivity especially in conditions of high transpiration demand (high VPD; noon hours). This mechanism was also altered in M35-1 APSIM model in two ways - through virtual variation in kl constant (affecting root hydraulics) and maximizing the rates of transpiration (generation of circadian VPD trajectory with imposed limit on transpiration rates when crossing the set VPD threshold). Virtual manipulation of kl benefited the grain production in the most severe pre-flowering terminal drought environments while limited transpiration rates benefitted grain yields across all environments; simulated combination of both these traits, also, resulted in grain yield benefits across all environments.
Detailed dissection of virtual crop growth revealed that yield improvement from the different investigated mechanism came from water saving (few mm) during vegetative growth, which allows its utilization during later crop growth and ultimately result in an extended period of grain-filling. Generated outputs are being worked out into the form of a publication.
Activity 2.2. Assess variation for WUE/WU in the GCP-genotyped sorghum reference collection and in single/multiple stay-green QTL isolines from 1.1
The paper reporting the lysimetric assessment of staygreen introgression lines is now accepted in Functional Plant Biology.
Building on the earlier evaluation of sorghum germplasm, a number of germplasm entries varying for water extraction in previous lysimetric trials have been re-tested (20 entries) and most of them confirmed their higher water extraction capacity. Initial work, inconclusive so far, has been attempted to assess possible root architecture differences in these lines. Another 20 germplasm entries from previous screening, contrasting for TE, have been re-tested in the lysimetric system and the large genotypic contrast for TE has been confirmed. Then a standard dry-down experiment to assess traits related to the control of plant water use has been completed with these lines, which shows that all but one of the germplasm entries with high TE shows an earlier and sharper decline in the rate of transpiration under outdoor conditions and high VPD than the germplasm entries having low TE. Additional work is underway (although not planned earlier) to confirm this important finding (repeat assessment of the VPD response, analysis of plant hydraulics).
Additional experiments have been repeated in the lysimetric system to assess water use efficiency and water extraction under terminal drought in the following set of entries. Among the parents of mapping populations, ICSV745 and PB15881-3 showed good contrast for water use efficiency (higher in ICSV745 and lower by about 2 units in PB15881-3), which opens the possibility to map QTL for TE. The knowledge obtained above on the germplasm contrasting for TE also suggest that these two parental lines contrast for the VPD response mechanisms, which would allow a more focused phenotyping. These two lines also contrasted for the total water extracted (lower in ICSV745 and higher by about 2 units in PB15881-3). The trial, testing popular varieties/landraces adapted to the postrainy season sorghum conditions, showed that overall, the TE level of these lines was relatively low (around 5 g biomass per kg water transpired), except for Parbhani Jyoti which has a slightly higher level. In comparison, many introgression lines in S35 background have TE above 6 g biomass per kg water transpired. In contrast, it seems that the water extraction capacity of postrainy season adapted landraces and varieties is higher than that in S35 background. Therefore, the focus of future crop improvement efforts in the postrainy season materials probably needs to be on water use efficiency.
Fifteen introgression lines in the background of S35 have also been tested under different water treatments in the lysimeters (no water from 3.5 weeks after sowing), normal (last irrigation at 5 weeks after sowing) and mild water stress (last irrigation at 5 weeks after sowing plus 2L of water [equivalent to 40 mm rain] at 10 days after flowering). We have confirmed the superiority of three StgB introgression lines in the trial (S35SG07001, S35SG07002, S35SG06011b) but also one each of Stg1, Stg2, and Stg3. It appears that the yield decrease, especially in recurrent background S35 was explained by decreased grain filling.
Activity 2.3. Conduct an ex-ante analysis of the economic benefits (increase in grain/fodder quantity/quality) of incorporating staygreen and/or improved pre/post anthesis water uses/WUE traits in existing sorghum varieties in Australia and postrainy season India
The ex-ante analysis has been completed toward the end of Year 3. A manuscript is currently being prepared.

This is the summary of the final report for phase 1 of this project, which will be extended for 4 years (2013-2017).
Why the work was done? Post-rainy sorghum is an important commodity for about 5 M households in South India and both grain and stover residues now play an almost equally important role in this value chain, the price of stover being about two-thirds of the price of grain. Moreover stover price is linked to its quality. The main constraint to post-rainy sorghum production is water. The project aimed at genetic solutions to this limitation, looking at the whole value chain of sorghum, to improve both grain/stover productivity and quality.
What was achieved? The results of the project showed that the introgression of stay-green QTLs can improve grain yield, stover yield, and stover quality traits, without having trade-offs between these traits. It showed some exciting synergistic associations between stover productivity and stover quality. Based on this, backcross introgression lines have been initiated in the background of six different Rabi-adapted and farmer-preferred sorghum lines towards the development of varieties containing drought adaptive traits. Prediction of trait effects on yield has been proved possible, which would therefore greatly help to refine the choice of most promising breeding targets.
What impacts has the project had or is it likely to have in the future? The first impact will come from the absence of trade-offs between stover quality attributes and grain/stover productivity, and that breeding for both aspects can be done together. The second impact comes from the proof of concept that stay-green QTL can increase quality and productivity, which gives credit to a biotechnological approach for a complex constraint (drought), an area where successful examples are rare. Third, we have identified germplasm variants for critical traits which will be used in the breeding program. Last, but not least, the predictions on the effects of traits will probably affect how breeding decisions are taken.
What future actions might be required? Recent re-sequencing of introgression lines from the first phase, plus additional knowledge from fine-mapping work on different stay-green QTLs, would provide a fairly precise, if not gene-based, marker for very precise selection of the on-going introgressions. From the first phase, a much better knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the expression of a stay-green phenotype has been gained, namely: (i) improved water extraction; (ii) improved transpiration efficiency (TE), seemingly due to the capacity of high TE genotypes to restrict water losses under high VPD conditions; and (iii) reduced leaf area. However, a key finding is that the effect of stay-green introgression is highly dependent on genetic background, so that the development of stay-green varieties still requires a step of testing to secure the right phenotype. That step anticipates an evolution from using “stay-green QTL” to using QTLs involved in the key underlying mechanisms, and/or combinations of these to optimize production. A very exciting development in the first phase has been the identification of large genetic variation in the germplasm for these underlying traits, beyond levels currently available in stay-green QTL donor parents. In addition, the analysis of weather patterns in the Rabi sorghum area shows a clear clustering of sub-zones with different stress severity patterns. Simulation of the effect of some of the underlying traits predicts both increased yield and increased yield resilience. This calls for specific breeding targets for these different zones, where specific combinations of traits and management practices are needed. The second phase would capitalize on this by using identified germplasm variants for key traits to harness the genetics of these traits and develop promising pre-breeding materials. Backcross nested association mapping (BCNAM) populations in the background of a few Rabi-adapted varieties with varying germplasm appears to be a well fitted, long term approach to sorghum breeding. The use of crop simulation modeling will be expanded to other regions facing similar constraints, to guide the choice of key traits and/or management options. This more strategic part would be aligned to the sorghum-related Product Lines of the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Dryland Cereals, and aims at a global integration of sorghum breeding efforts targeted to water-limited environments, ensuring a better coordination of efforts across regions.

This project in an extension to a previous 4-year phase where the proof-of-concept was established of the value of introgressing staygreen quantitative trait loci (QTL) for improving both the grain and the stover productivity of sorghum during the post-rainy season in India. An important aspect of that work was that several QTLs had a beneficial effect on some stover nutritional quality (for cattle feed), without having trade-offs with grain and stover productivity. This showed the potential to improve different components of the sorghum value chain at the same time. However, the staygreen QTL did not have the same effects in all genetic background where they were introgressed, implying the need to check intermediate introgression products.
The objectives of the second phase are:
1. Develop an application phase in which several staygreen QTL will be introgressed into the most popular cultivars currently used by farmers in the post-rainy sorghum track of India.
2. Expand the work undertaken in the first phase to the West African region with regards to the environmental characterization of stress scenarios, and for the development of new breeding populations - Backcross Nested Association Mapping (BCNAM) populations - involving the most popular cultivars of the postrainy sorghum area of India as recipients and new donors of beneficial traits identified in the first phase.
The second objective is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (CRP DC)
In objective 1, much of the work has so far focused on refining the QTL interval of critical staygreen QTL. It was initially planned to introgress 6 different staygreen QTLs (Stg1, Stg2, Stg3A, Stg3B, Stg4, StgA (=StgC)), into 6 different genetic backgrounds (M 35-1, Parbhani Moti=SPV1411, Phule Vasudha, CRS1, CRS4, RSLG262). At a meeting held in March 2014 it was decided to concentrate the introgression efforts only to Stg3A and Stg3B QTL (on sorghum chromosome 2, SBI-02), i.e. those QTLs showing the most promising effects in the first phase project. This would allow development of more introgression lines, thereby facilitating background selection. Work has also been carried out to refine the QTL interval for these two critical QTLs, using sequence data from the first phase. Most of the introgression work in the first phase had been accomplished using SSRs and had a large QTL confidence interval (indicating large genomic region) for most of target QTLs. These regions were further saturated by genotyping the introgression lines (ILs) in R16- and S35-genetic backgrounds with additional SSRs and DArT markers. Additionally these ILs were genotyped using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) approach and the target regions were further saturated with SNPs. Utilizing the extensive phenotyping and characterization data generated on the IL sets, we refined the QTL intervals for all of the QTLs except stgC (on SBI-01), which still spans across the centromere). For Stg3a and Stg3b, the interval is refined to 5.6Mbp and 2.2Mbp (genomic regions spanning 56.0 Mbp to 61.6Mpbp and 69.6Mbp to 71.8Mbp), respectively.
Under objective 2, we have started the parameterization of several cultivars adapted to the West and Central Africa (WCA) region, using existing evaluation data. These will be used as reference cultivar for the characterization of stress scenario in the region. The next step was to assemble weather data from a north-south transect in Mali where we expect the weather scenario to vary considerably. We also generated weather data from these locations where observed weather data are available, using Marksim weather generator. Then we compared the APSIM outputs from observed data to APSIM outputs from Marksim-generated weather data. We also initiated the development of new genetic populations - BCNAM populations, using 20 donors identified in the first phase and using the same recipient parents as those used in the introgression of staygreen QTL. During post-rainy season of 2013-14, at least 2 plant - plant crosses were executed between recurrent parents (Parbhani Moti = SPV1411 for Indian post-rainy season adaptation and CSM63E for Southern-Sahelian Zone adaptation) and 20 common set of donor accessions selected on basis of geographic-racial diversity. These were further backcrossed with male-sterile version of recurrent parent (currently at BC1F1-stage for CSM63E and F1-stage for Parbhani Moti=SPV1411). The long term purpose of these populations is two-fold: (i) because they use donors that “contains” traits shown to be the most promising to improve grain and stover productivity in the post-rainy sorghum track, we anticipate to derive improved breeding lines; (ii) we intend to map QTL for these traits, shown to be among the underlying mechanisms of the staygreen trait. Both of these activities in the second objective are also the object of the training of a PhD student from Mali, with the WCA part of the work supported by the USAID project aligned with Dryland Cereals CRP.
An inception meeting was held in March 2014, where representatives of other projects dealing with sorghum improvement under drought were invited. Discussions were held on collaborations and synergies between projects ranging across South-Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa, and West and Central Africa regions.

In the previous phase of this project the proof-of-concept was established of the value of introgressing staygreen (stg) quantitative trait loci (QTL) for improving both the grain and the stover productivity of sorghum during the post-rainy season in India. We established that several QTLs had a beneficial effect on some stover nutritional quality (for cattle feed), without having trade-offs with grain and stover productivity. This showed the potential to improve different components of the sorghum value chain at the same time. However, the staygreen QTLs did not have the same effects in all genetic background where they were introgressed, implying the need to check intermediate introgression products.
The objectives of the second phase are:
1. Apply the findings of the first phase by introgressing two linked staygreen QTLs into the most popular cultivars currently used by farmers in the post-rainy sorghum track of India. This objective is supported by ACIAR.
2. Expand the work undertaken in the first phase in India to the West African region with regards to the environmental characterization of stress scenarios, and for the development of new breeding populations - Backcross Nested Association Mapping (BCNAM) populations. These populations will involve the most popular cultivars of the postrainy sorghum area of India as recipients and new donors of beneficial traits identified in the first phase. This second objective is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (CRP DC).
In objective 1, we have refined the genetic interval for QTLs stg3A and stg3B: five SNPs for stg3A and 21 SNPs for stg3B are now shortlisted for developing monoplexes KASPar SNP markers assays and these markers will be used for the introgression of these 2 critical QTLs in the different Rabi-adapted backgrounds. The introgression work is in good progress and some introgressions have reached BC2F1 stage. Under this objectives field trials have also been carried out to test the effect of staygreen introgression, nitrogen treatment and plant density on grain and stover yield and on grain and stover quality, the purpose being to better understand GxExM interactions and generate data for model validation.
Under objective 2, we have almost finalized the parameterization of several cultivars adapted to the West and Central Africa (WCA) region, using existing evaluation data. Then we have initiated the characterization of stress scenario in the region. We have also started the trait assessment in a large set of parental lines of many BCNAM populations developed in Mali. Last but not least, we have tested the relevance and suitability of Marksim-generated weather data and these appear to be suitable to simulate changes in genetic and agronomic characteristics, which would allow us to perform simulation in grids of generated weather, without to depend on observed weather data (which is always a limitation).
A meeting was held in April 2015 in Brisbane, to update the group on the project’s progress and this report is a reflection of the discussion and progress reported at that recent meeting. The meeting participants also updated each other of other projects dealing with sorghum improvement, for the sake of continuing a good coordination of efforts.

Annual Report 2016
This project in an extension to a previous 4-year phase where the proof-of-concept was established of the value of introgressing genome segments conferring the capacity to maintain green leaf area under terminal water stress conditions (staygreen quantitative trait loci, QTL) for improving both the grain and the stover productivity of sorghum during the post-rainy season in India. An important aspect of that work was that several QTLs had also a beneficial effect on multiple parameters of the nutritional quality of the crop residue, important for cattle feeding, without having trade-offs with grain and stover productivity. Higher stover quality confers a price premium and also lead to higher milk productivity or weight gain. This work therefore showed the potential to improve different components of the sorghum value chain at the same time. We have also found that the staygreen QTL did not have the same effects in all genetic background where they were introgressed, implying the need to check intermediate introgression products. Finally, a thorough characterization of the stress patterns in the target regions has shown highly variable patterns of stress, requiring specific breeding/agronomic solutions to specific stress scenarii. The second phase is therefore focused on introgressing the staygreen QTL segments into the background of sorghum cultivar adapted to the target region in India, a work that is done in partnership between ICRISAT and IIMR (Indian Institute for Millets Research), and using crop simulation modelling to better target genetic and agronomic management packages for specific stress scenarios. The Objectives of the second phase are:
1. Develop an application phase in which several staygreen QTL will be introgressed into the most popular cultivars currently used by farmers in the post-rainy sorghum track of India. This first Objective is supported by ACIAR.
2. Expand the environmental characterization of stress scenarios to the West African region, and develop new breeding populations - Backcross Nested Association Mapping (BCNAM) populations - involving the most popular cultivars of the postrainy sorghum area of India as recipients and new donors of beneficial traits identified in the first phase. This second Objective is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (CRP DC).
In Objective 1, much of the work has so far focused on refining the QTL interval for critical QTL. Five SNPs for stg3A and 21 SNPs for stg3B shortlisted for monoplex KASPar SNP assay are used for the introgression of these 2 critical QTLs in the different Rabi-adapted backgrounds. The introgression work is in good progress and some introgressions have reached either BC3F1 or BC4F1 stage. Under this objective field trials have also been carried out to test the effect of staygreen introgression, nitrogen treatment and plant density on grain and stover yield and on grain and stover quality, the purpose being to better understand the Genetic x Environment x Management interactions and generate data to validate the models. As a new project activity, grain nutritional aspects are being investigated, showing here also the beneficial effects of staygreen introgression on grain quality. We have also refined the ex-ante analysis carried out in the first phase by using modelling outputs as an input to the economic analysis, and we are further segregating these outputs into grain and stover productivity advantage of the staygreen introgression to better target farming communities focused on either grain or stover production. As such, we have shown that targeting specific segments of the sorghum value chain (grain or stover) brought higher economic return than using a single technology for the entire region.
Under Objective 2, we have finalized the parameterization of several cultivars adapted to the West and Central Africa (WCA) region, using existing evaluation data. Then we have undertaken the characterization of stress scenario in the region. We have also assessed a large set of parental lines of many BCNAM populations developed in Mali for the capacity to restrict transpiration under high vapor pressure deficit, i.e. a trait that underlies staygreen expression.
No meeting was held in early 2016 given the recent interactions between project participants. Rather, it has been chosen to group the annual meeting with another sorghum project meeting (USAID-Climate Resilient Sorghum Innovation lab) dealing with related issues for the sake of continuing a good coordination of efforts.

Collaborating Institutions
International Livestock Research Institute, India
University of Queensland, Australia
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
Directorate of Sorghum Research, India
Overview Objectives

Sorghum grown in India in the post-rainy season (Rabi) relies on residual soil moisture, and the crop is commonly exposed to terminal drought stress. But there is a ready market for its high-quality grain and stover (used as fodder on dairy farms). Steps to improve productivity while maintaining quality offer an attractive opportunity for sorghum farmers to improve their incomes. Genetically improving the efficiency of using stored soil moisture is a prime target to maximise grain/stover production and quality of Rabi sorghum. This project aims to achieve this through the application of DNA sequences known as quantitative trait loci (QTLs). The project scientists will introduce marker-assisted introgression of stay-green QTLs into sorghum lines, enhancing both the quality and the quantity of grain/stover of postrainy sorghum. They will also use modelling to identify the key physiological traits involved in a higher, more stable yield across water-limited environments of India and Australia, and the key stay-green QTLs contributing to these traits. The publicly available QTL isolines lines developed in this project will be the basis of new varieties to be bred in a subsequent phase.

Project Budget
$1,596,315.00
Grant Report Recipient
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics
Grant Report Recipient Post Code
502324
Grant Report Finish Date
31/07/2017
Grant Report Start Date
28/05/2008

Sustainable intensification of maize-legume cropping systems for food security in eastern and southern Africa (SIMLESA)

Project Leader
Dr Mulugetta Mekuria
Email
m.mekuria@cgiar.org
Fax
+263 4 301327
Phone
+263 4 301945
Inactive project countries
Project ID: 
CSE/2009/024
Start Date
01/01/2010
Project Coordinator Fax
Reference Number
TA-202201-56502
Project Type
Multilateral
Project Status
Active
Finish Date
31/12/2013
Commissioned Organisation: 
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Zimbabwe
dockey
Project Coordinator Email
Commissioned Organisation
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Zimbabwe
Extension Finish Date
30/06/2014
Overview Collaborators
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
  • Murdoch University, Australia
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia
  • Agricultural Research and Technical Services, Malawi
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Tanzania
  • Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute, Mozambique
  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Kenya
  • Agricultural Research Council, South Africa
  • Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, Uganda
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, India
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr John Dixon
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The aim of this four-year (July 2010-December 2013) program in eastern and southern Africa is to improve farm-level food security and productivity, in the context of climate risk and change, through the development of more resilient, profitable and sustainable farming systems that overcome food insecurity for significant numbers of farm families in eastern and southern Africa. The program promotes the use of maize-legume technologies of adapted varieties and develops comprehensive agronomic packages that increase productivity and sustainable intensification of maize-legume cropping systems. The key focus areas of the program are farmer and stakeholder participation and economic evaluation of the new technologies. The program has a comparable set of activities in the five SIMLESA implementing countries in eastern and southern Africa. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) supports the program which is being managed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (as the commissioned organization) in collaboration with the NARS of Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), the International Center for Research for the SemiArid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation of Queensland (QDEEDI/QAAFI), and Murdoch University in Western Australia. Support for NARS researchers is provided through the participation of partner institutions (CIMMYT, ACIAR ASARECA, ICRISAT, QAAFI and Murdoch University).

SIMLESA has made significant progress during the first year and laid the foundation for stronger performance in the coming years. Most of the activities planned during the reporting period were implemented and significant results produced in all the program countries. In Objective one, baseline surveys of 4,600 randomly selected households from and surveys of maize-pigeon pea, maize-beans, maize-groundnuts, and maize-soybean cropping systems in 580 villages in five countries were conducted by a total of 101 enumerators (25 of whom were women). Community
level data was also collected from these villages to complement and provide a broader socioeconomic context for the farm household data. The surveys covered several districts distributed in two agro-ecological zones in each country. The survey instruments and tools were developed by NARS staff, with additional input on gender provided by ASARECA staff. Data clearing, verification and analysis is already underway to develop various research reports in the following period.

Under objective 2, a total of 215 on-farm exploratory, 13 researcher-managed trials and 14 participatory variety selection sessions were carried out in the five countries. Different treatments of maize-legume intercrop and rotations were demonstrated in farmers’ fields. The field days which took place to enhance farmer-to-farmer cross pollination of ideas, also created more interest in community awareness initiatives. Local innovation platforms were established in four out of five countries and are showing promising results. Farmers reported challenges with weed and residue
management in some trial sites for testing agronomic and conservation agriculture systems in the target countries in the first year and this will be addressed in the following seasons.

Under Objective 3 farmers and stakeholders selected pre-released varieties suitable for their farming systems. The following maize varieties were selected: (Ethiopia-hybrids(BH661;BH543), OPVs (Melkassa 2,Melkassa 6Q, Gibe 2 & Gibe 3); Kenya-hybrids (KH500-39E, KDH3, WH105, KH500Q, KH631Q, H624, H520, KH533A & KM0406), OPVs (KDV1, Embu Synth, KKSynth2, WS303 & KM0403); Malawi-hybrids (MH26 & MH27), OPVs (ZM523, ZM623, ZM309 & ZM721); Mozambique-hybrids (CZH511 & Olipa), OPVs (ZM523, Tsangano & Chinaca) and Tanzania-hybrids (Selian H308,
Selian H208, SAH779, SAH638 & SAH636), OPVs (SA523 & SA525). Farmers considered some or all of the following factors when making their selections in the participatory variety selection (PVS) trials: yield level, early maturity, drought tolerance, pest resistance, medium height and palatability/taste. It was clear that farmers’ active assessment and strong stakeholders’ involvement (private seed companies, fertilizer companies, input dealers, local authorities, and extension) are key for the success of the PVS initiatives in both countries.

Under Objective 4, the ASARECA-SIMLESA team conducted a gender mainstreaming training workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. In addition, twenty-three NARS scientists participated in the M&E framework development workshop in Nairobi, facilitated by ASARECA. Substantial progress was made in terms of capacity building under Objective 5. Five NARS and two ASARECA scientists attended a SIMLESA/ACIAR M&E and Impact Assessment (IA) workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Two NARS scientists from Mozambique attended a BECA Scientific writing workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2010. Two scientists attended the BNF training workshop at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The first SIMLESA annual partners review and planning meeting and PSC meeting were held in March 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. Sixteen SIMLESA researchers participated in the APSIM modeling training workshop from 19 to 24 March in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All participating partners undertook their year 1 and some year 2 country planning meetings during the reporting period.

Six 4WD double cabin all-terrain vehicles were procured for use by the SIMLESA country teams in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique for field activities and research related trips. This has substantially improved infrastructural constraints for the national programs and enhanced the ability to implement field activities in less accessible areas, often bypassed and unable to benefit from farming systems research. Plans are underway to procure two vehicles for the Tanzania SIMLESA teams. Various pieces of research equipment have already been purchased for the country
teams and more is being procured. A number of students were selected for Ph.D. studies.

SIMLESA is a four-year (July 2010-December 2013) project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The aim of main SIMLESA and Expanded SIMLESA Ethiopia projects is to improve farm-level food security and productivity as well as livestock productivity (Ethiopia only), in the context of climate risk and change, through the development of more resilient, profitable and sustainable farming systems that overcome food insecurity for significant numbers of farm families in eastern and southern Africa. SIMLESA promotes the use of adapted maize-legume technologies as well as improved varieties and develops comprehensive agronomic packages that increase productivity of maize-legume intercropping systems at farm level. The key focus areas of the project are farmer and stakeholder participation and economic evaluation of the new technologies. The project has an identical set of activities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. SIMLESA project is being managed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) - as the commissioned organization - in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and private seed companies from the five SIMLESA implementing countries, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), the International Center for Research for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) in association with Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation,(QDEEDI/QAAFI-Australia), and Murdoch University in Western Australia. Technical support for national agencies is provided by partner institutions (CIMMYT, ACIAR, ASARECA, ARC-SA, ICRISAT, QAAFI and Murdoch University).

Baseline surveys for 4,600 randomly selected households from 38 districts in two agro-ecological zones and surveys of maize-pigeonpea, maize-beans, maize-groundnuts, and maize-soybean cropping systems in 580 villages in five countries were conducted. Three baseline survey reports have been produced and writing of two reports is in progress. Eight posters and eight scientific papers were developed and presented at the second SIMLESA Annual Review and Planning Meeting (ARPM) in March 2012 in Arusha, Tanzania. Draft farm typologies have been developed for Tanzania and Kenya.

The project facilitated 230 on-farms exploratory and 22 on-station trials, and 19 field days that were attended by 5948 participants, as planned under Objective 2. Five in-country and the annual review and planning meetings were done while all stakeholder inception and planning meeting for Ethiopia Expansion project have been undertaken. The second SIMLESA Annual Review and Planning and Project Steering Committee meetings were attended by regional and international partners. This year’s conference had a session for a SIMLESA village where partner countries exhibited and showcased their achievements since 2010. ACIAR commissioners graced this year’s SIMLESA meetings. Four participants from SIMLESA spillover countries participated in the meetings. The meetings combined with the commencement of the Mid-Term Review of the SIMLESA project. Local innovation platforms have been strengthened or established in the five countries to help farmer groups and partners exchange experiences and share knowledge among themselves and key stakeholders.

Under Objective 3, the project established 50 sets of regional trials and mother baby trials (MBT) in collaboration with active 10 partner institutions. In addition, 19 maize and 18 legumes on station trials were establsihed in the five SIMLESA countries. Materials under evaluation include drought tolerant germplasm dispatched to SIMLESA target countries. ICRISAT supplied 104 medium, 245 long, and 37 Short duration varieties of pigeonpea to Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. Seed road maps were developed for each country with the active participation of local private and public partners.

Under Objective 4, the ASARECA-SIMLESA team conducted a gender mainstreaming training workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. The monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities centred on further development of the M&E frameworks which included the results framework, the performance monitoring plan, the performance measurement framework and populating it with data from the field. Twenty-three NARS scientists participated in the M&E framework development workshop in Nairobi, facilitated by ASARECA. The technology inventory and knowledge transfers as well as spillover enabling conditions study was carried out.

Substantial progress was made in terms of capacity building under Objective 5. A total of 77 NARS researchers participated in an ARC-SA coordinated and facilitated capacity building that targeted at three modules: Biometry; CA principles; Soil Science and Innovation Platforms for five days. Two NARS scientists from Mozambique and Tanzania attended an IRRI coordinated workshop held in Manila, Philippines in July-August 2011. An additional 4WD double cabin all-terrain vehicle was procured for use by the Mozambique SIMLESA country team. Various pieces of research equipment have already been purchased for the country teams and more are being procured. Six PhD candidates have been awarded the AusAID and ACIAR scholarships for 2012 while 30 candidates have enrolled for MSc and three for PhD in local universities under SIMLESA.

Collaborating Institutions
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
Murdoch University, Australia
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia
Agricultural Research and Technical Services, Malawi
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Tanzania
Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute, Mozambique
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Kenya
Agricultural Research Council, South Africa
Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, Uganda
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, India
Overview Objectives

This program is part of the Australia Food Security Initiative for Africa. It builds substantially on completed ACIAR projects in Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It focuses on maize as the main staple and legumes as an important dietary protein source for the rural poor. Combined rainfed maize-legume cropping systems show considerable promise in boosting productivity and helping reverse the decline in soil fertility that is a fundamental cause of low smallholder productivity in the region.
To intensify maize-legume cropping systems in a sustainable way while reducing yield variability requires an integrated approach to the complex production and marketing system for these crops. Through participatory research and development with farmers, extension agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and agribusiness along the value chains, the program aims to improve maize and legume productivity by 30% and to reduce the expected downside yield risk by 30% on approximately 500,000 farms within 10 years.

Partner countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Australia, with input from South Africa. CIMMYT, as commissioned organisation, will manage the project in collaboration with the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), partner country research entities, other CGIAR centres and Australian partners.

Project Budget
$21,649,935.00
Grant Report Recipient
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Grant Report Recipient Post Code
Grant Report Finish Date
30/06/2014
Grant Report Start Date
15/03/2010

Increasing production from inland aquaculture in Papua New Guinea for food and income security

Project Leader
Dr Jesmond Sammut
Email
j.sammut@unsw.edu.au
Fax
02 9385 1558
Phone
02 9385 8281
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Project ID: 
FIS/2008/023
Start Date
01/04/2010
Project Coordinator Fax
Reference Number
NM-202307-56047
Project Type
Bilateral
Project Status
Active
Finish Date
31/03/2014
Extension Start Date
01/04/2014
Commissioned Organisation: 
University of New South Wales, Australia
dockey
Project Coordinator Email
Commissioned Organisation
University of New South Wales, Faculty of Science, Australia
Extension Finish Date
30/06/2016
Overview Collaborators
  • National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
  • Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Papua New Guinea
  • Highland Aquaculture Development Centre, Papua New Guinea
  • Ok Tedi Development Foundation, Papua New Guinea
  • Community Based Health Care, Papua New Guinea
  • Maria Kwin Training Centre, Papua New Guinea
  • University of Technology, Papua New Guinea
  • Bris Kanda Inc., Papua New Guinea
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Chris Barlow
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The project was officially launched in August 2010 in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province. The Year 1 activities focussed on broodstock performance trials to select the best breeding stock for tilapia, and a feed ingredients survey to underpin Year 2 studies on fingerling production and feed trials respectively. Year 1 activities also included: capacity building in Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing in Western Province and development of draft site selection criteria and mapping protocols; the strengthening of partnerships with lead farmers, farming cooperatives and small partner organisations; the reinvigoration of Fish for Schools and the Fish for Prisons Programs; and, contribution to inland aquaculture baseline surveys initiated by the National Fisheries Authority (NFA).
The experimental design for broodstock trials was completed but the on-station trials were postponed until the end of August in 2011 due to delays in preparing suitable experimental sites. Initial plans to commence trials at Highland Aquaculture Development Centre (HAQDEC) were postponed to enable NFA to redevelop the centre’s research facilities. Attempts to run trials at private farms, as a surrogate ‘on-station’ option, were abandoned due to logistical problems, lack of ponds for replication of trials, and security risks. The redevelopment of HAQDEC commenced in March 2011. Ponds will be stocked for the trials at the end of August 2011. Ponds at Potsy Village, Morobe Province, were also prepared for parallel trials to compare data from high and low altitude sites and to provide a backup location. Broodstock from Yonki Reservoir and HAQDEC were collected and conditioned for the trials.
The Year 1 feed ingredients survey was completed for Morobe Province and Eastern Highlands Province. Samples of feed ingredients were collected from suppliers and other sources, catalogued and prepared for analysis. The analyses will be conducted in collaboration with the ‘Pacific islands aquaculture feed ingredients inventory’ (ACIAR and SPC) to enable comparison of data and to maximise the knowledgebase on feed ingredients for the Pacific region.
Secondary environmental and socioeconomic data were collected by OTFRDP from OTML archives. Mr Yanzan Aki, employed by OTFRDP to support the project, was trained in GIS and Remote Sensing techniques by the Gadjah Mada University team members. The training involved the preliminary analysis of the OTML spatial data; detailed analyses have commenced, and draft site selection criteria and mapping models have been prepared for the next stage of the mapping component. A final draft of site selection criteria will be produced in September 2011 to incorporate criteria for non-aquaculture commodities as an option for farmers in the Ok Tedi Mine impact zone.
Project team members engaged with new and existing cooperative farmers in preparation for Year 2 extension activities. During field visits, the project team conducted pond preparation and pond management demonstration activities, assessed the condition of ponds and provided technical advice to farmers in an effort to create uniform pond conditions for proposed on-farm trials in Year 2. Baseline surveys, designed by NFA, were conducted during the field visits to enable the project to measure the impact of its research on farm productivity and to assess changes in the socioeconomic status of farmers who adopt the research findings. The project team also re-established ties with secondary schools and the prison system to prepare for extension training. Training of Trainers (teachers and prison officers) was undertaken and will continue to the end of the project. A partnership with the PNG Defence Force was also established. The project team will be training existing and retiring army personnel in Morobe Province. The National Fisheries Authority and the project team have also implemented a ‘follow-up’ program for ex-prisoners involved in past fish farming training in prison in an effort to monitor their progress and identify training needs and other interventions. Training, technical support and demonstration activities were also conducted at field days, the Morobe Urban Youth Program and the Maria Kwin Centre. The project team is also working with HIV/AIDS programs to assess the benefits of fish in the diet of patients.

The second year of the project focussed on producing new generations of GIFT Tilapia broodstock for experimental work and to re-establish a broodstock management program in PNG. This was achieved and enabled the project to commence reproductive and growth performance trials for two families of GIFT Tilapia. Fish of a known age and origin have been raised to spawning size, and record keeping and broodstock management plans were implemented at HAQDEC and Potsy Village. Two GIFT Tilapia families were selected based on earlier assessment of the genetic status by Professor Peter Mather. The two families were re-established at HAQDEC, Aiyura and Potsy Village, Morobe Province, to test for reproductive and growth performance in two different climatic zones.
The facility at HAQDEC was refurbished under NFA funding with technical inputs from the project team. Ponds and canals were rebuilt, water supply from the reservoir was improved, and security fencing was installed to reduce theft. Other infrastructure, necessary for research and broodstock management, was also refurbished. The restored capacity of HAQDEC will be maintained by NFA and the project to re-establish it as the national broodstock management centre. Most of the refurbishment of HAQDEC was completed in late 2011 enabling the experimental work to commence in December 2011. Experimental work also commenced at Potsy Village. GIFT Tilapia at HAQDEC have grown at a lower rate than Potsy Village because of temperature differences. Trials have been conducted on egg removal for incubation work. The second stage of the experimental program involves comparing the reproductive and growth performance of fish from both families at the two locations. The commercialisation of ponds at Potsy Village has interrupted work and fish will now need to be relocated and reconditioned before the experiment can be restarted. The HAQDEC experiment will continue uninterrupted. Water supply difficulties at Erap will affect long-term broodstock management for the lowlands; NFA and the project team are investigating options.
A major feed ingredients survey was completed for Eastern Highlands Province (EHP) and Morobe province. The survey assessed availability, composition and cost of feed ingredients for each province. Proximate analysis of feed ingredients from all sources was completed and a feed ingredients database was created. The feed survey work will be expanded to include Madang and other locations. Feed formulations will be developed this year to prepare for feed trials that will follow on from growth performance trials. Preliminary trials on feed formulations, and associated work with lead and cooperative farmers, has enabled farmers to transition from expensive feed to lower cost, locally-produced feed. Profitability has increased for farmers who have replaced commercial feed with locally-produced pellets. Feed and growth trials were conducted at trout farms in Eastern Highlands Province in connection with an ACIAR mini project. The project has also provided assistance to trout farmers to improve the hatching success of imported eggs. Farmers are now independently hatching eggs.
The project team participated in an Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis Workshop delivered by UNSW to build scientific capacity. DEEDI provided field-based training of technicians involved in pond monitoring and management. The project team conducted training for lead farmers, cooperative farmers, model farmers, the PNG Military, primary and tertiary school teachers, prisoners at five prisons and NGOs. Partnerships with NGOs have been strengthened and collaborative dissemination and training opportunities have been cultivated.
Draft site selection criteria and mapping models have been developed further for the highlands and lowlands of PNG. The team has commenced developing extension and technical materials for site assessment, broodstock management, fish nutrition and fish husbandry. Efforts are underway to monitor and assess the impact of project interventions in EHP, WHP and Morobe Province.

Two GIFT families collected from Yonki Reservoir and residual stock at HAQDEC were re-established in late 2011 and maintained and improved in 2012 by selectively breeding fingerlings to create a new generation of fish of a known age and parentage. Subsequent generations were maintained at Potsy Village and HAQDEC. Fish for future broodstock and fingerling production, as well as quality fish for research trials, have been tagged and maintained in ponds and hapas at both locations. Broodstock management plans have been developed an implemented to ensure the new generations of fish are maintained for research and the distribution of quality broodstock and fingerlings to farmers across PNG.
Growth and reproductive performance trials commenced in the highlands at HAQDEC and in the lowlands at Potsy Village. Two locations were used to enable comparison of the two GIFT families under different environmental conditions and to manage risks. The HAQDEC trial was terminated due to theft of all fish from experimental hapas and ponds. Trials at Potsy Village were terminated shortly afterwards due to changes in site operations; pond owners terminated a long-standing agreement with NFA. Potsy Village intends to use the ponds for commercial fingerling production and supply. An emergency plan was implemented and fish were transferred to ponds at Erap. Fish from the Potsy Trial were also sent to HAQDEC to re-establish experimental broodstock and the fingerling production program. Fish at both locations were reconditioned and fish numbers are currently increasing under the broodstock management and fingerling production program implemented by the project. Plans to recommence the trials at HAQDEC were put on hold until mid 2013 due to the illness and subsequent death of Mr Wally Solato, and to rebuild numbers of fish.
A feed ingredients survey for Eastern Highlands Province, Morobe Province and selected areas around Madang was completed. Samples of feed ingredients and fertilisers were analysed at UniTech. Proximate analysis of feed ingredients was undertaken and compared to duplicate samples analysed by an SPC project to test data quality by comparing results from two different laboratories. Ingredients will be used to develop new, low-cost formulations that will be trialled at HAQDEC in 2013.
Draft site selection criteria were revised for tilapia, trout and carp. The criteria will be revised further following the completion of experimental work and trials on soil/pond management in 2014 and 2015 (under a project variation). Mapping models for Western Province are currently being applied to spatial data collected from OTML and other sources. Mapping outputs will be ground-truthed to check boundaries and mapping classes. Mapping in Markham Valley will be undertaken in 2014 following approval of a project variation.
The project team has continued to collaborate with NGOs to disseminate fish farming information in rural communities. Training in site selection, mapping, soil assessment, feed production, broodstock management, fingerling production and fish husbandry has continued. Training has been provided to NGOs, fish farming cooperatives, secondary schools, prisons, universities and other government agencies. Two scholarships for postgraduate study at UNSW have been awarded to project team members.
A mid-term review was undertaken in May 2013. The reviewers recommended a 2-year extension and variation of project activities. A project variation report and modified proposal is currently under development.

Growth and reproductive performance trials for two GIFT families were repeated during this reporting period following a series of thefts at the Highland Aquaculture Development Centre (HAQDEC) and loss of access to ponds at Potsy Village in the previous year. Experimental fish and broodstock were stolen from HAQDEC mid-experiment in previous years and also during this reporting period. The results of the repeated trials indicate that there is no significant difference in the growth and reproductive performance of Yonki and Aiyura families of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT). This result suggests that fish from Yonki Reservoir can be used as a wild pool of broodstock in the event that the Aiyura family is lost. The growth and reproductive performance trials will be repeated for GIFT collected from the Fly River where wild and farmed fish are reported to have good growth. Fingerlings will be acquired from LARDEC in mid 2014.
Earlier trials on growth and reproductive performance of GIFT were difficult to initiate because broodstock within and across families spawned at different times. Trials on synchronised spawning were undertaken to 1) enable comparison of growth and reproductive performance of the two GIFT families using same-age progeny from a range of broodstock and, 2) to improve the efficiency of fingerling production. The latter is important for long-term fingerling production as a service to the community. Farmers in Western Highlands Province (WHP) and Southern Highlands Province (SHP) have adopted the technology following training under the project. Unreliable fingerling supply has, until the trials, been an issue for lead farmers and HAQDEC. Syncronised spawning trials will continue to determine which environmental and management factors most effectively induce spawning. A second stage of trials will test whether hormones for egg formation and spawning in females are a viable option for mass production of fingerlings at HAQDEC and commercial hatcheries. Monosex trials are also underway; staff were trained in monosex fingerling production at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).
Broodstock numbers were restored following the thefts. Broodstock for two families are now maintained in a more secure area at HAQDEC. Broodstock have also been distributed and maintained at other locations as a contingency. Maintenance of broodstock at Erap will cease due to unreliable water supply. Broodstock from Erap will be transported to HAQDEC. Broodstock for all families will also be maintained in secure floating cages at Sirinumu reservoir (Jonah Bobogi’s Tilapia Farm) near Port Moresby.
NFA funded a second stage of renovations at HAQDEC at a cost of K 200,000 to improve capacity for research, broodstock management and fingerling production. The ACIAR project team, particularly Billy Kerowa, managed the renovations, provided technical inputs on the redesign of ponds and canals, re-engineering of the water supply, creation of a facility for egg incubation and fingerling production, and re-establishment of broodstock management ponds. The renovations will continue through 2014 and 2015 and the ACIAR team will continue to coordinate the process with funding from NFA; PGK 4 Million that has been allocated by NFA to cover materials and labour. The second stage of renovations will include staff housing, accommodation for Police officers and high security fencing.
The feed ingredient database will be updated as new sources of feed are identified by the project or recommended by ACIAR Project ASEM/2010/053, ‘Enhancing the role of small scale feed milling in the development of the monogastric industries in Papua New Guinea’. Feed trials will commence in June/July 2014. Links to ACIAR project ASEM/2010/053 and SPC research programs are being developed to share findings, develop similar experimental designs for comparative work, and to co-develop extension materials on feed formulations and feeding practices.

Collaborating Institutions
National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Papua New Guinea
Highland Aquaculture Development Centre, Papua New Guinea
Ok Tedi Development Foundation, Papua New Guinea
Community Based Health Care, Papua New Guinea
Maria Kwin Training Centre, Papua New Guinea
University of Technology, Papua New Guinea
Bris Kanda Inc., Papua New Guinea
Program Areas
Overview Objectives

There are already more than 10,000 small-scale fish farms in Papua New Guinea producing tilapia, carp or trout for home consumption and sale, and interest in aquaculture continues to climb. The government has given high priority to aquaculture development in recognition of its potential to help achieve food security, particularly in the inland areas. But current production levels are low when compared with South-East Asian systems. Constraints include lack of capability within management agencies to identify appropriate sites for pond development, inadequate supply and poor quality of fingerlings, limited availability and high cost of pond fertilisers and suitable feeds, and a general lack of knowledge and training on aquaculture husbandry skills. The objectives of this project are to develop aquaculture planning systems for management agencies and improve fish husbandry techniques for primarily small-scale fish farmers in PNG. Focused on the Western, Western Highlands, Eastern Highlands and Morobe Provinces, the project will address the farming requirements of different fish species and environmental challenges. The project builds directly on previous research undertaken with support from ACIAR - one project on land classification for aquaculture development in Indonesia and three others on various aspects of inland aquaculture in PNG.

Project Budget
$1,700,010.00
Grant Report Value
$1870011
Grant Report Recipient
University of New South Wales
Grant Report Recipient Post Code
2052
Grant Report Finish Date
30/06/2016
Grant Report Start Date
03/03/2010

Mariculture development in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea

Project Leader
Professor Paul Southgate
Email
paul.southgate@usc.edu.au
Fax
07 3408 3535
Phone
07 54301234
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Project ID: 
FIS/2010/054
Start Date
01/05/2012
Project Coordinator Fax
Reference Number
CH-202510-57539
Project Type
Bilateral
Project Status
Active
Finish Date
30/04/2016
Extension Start Date
01/05/2016
Commissioned Organisation: 
James Cook University, Australia
dockey
Project Coordinator Email
Commissioned Organisation
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
Extension Finish Date
30/09/2016
Overview Collaborators
  • National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
  • University of Natural Resources and Environment, Papua New Guinea
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Chris Barlow
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The first project meeting took place at the Nago Island Marine Research Facility (NIMRF) in Kavieng in June 2012. Roles and responsibilities for partner institutions were reviewed and agreed upon, and a Project steering committee was established to meet on a six-monthly basis. The meeting reviewed the facilities and equipment required at the NIMRF to support project research and a plan and timetable for fitting-out and fine-tuning the NIMRF was developed. A number of key facilities were developed at NIMRF in preparation for the first hatchery run with sea cucumber in October 2012. These include a dry laboratory, micro-algae culture laboratory, a more efficient water supply and reticulation system and defined hatchery culture and quarantine areas within the NIMRF. Equipment required to fit-out the laboratories was sourced and deployed. These activities were assisted by appointment of the Project Scientist, Rowan McIntyre, in July 2012, who took up his position in Kavieng in October 2012. A formal project inception meeting was held at NIMRF in November 2012.
A major focus for project research so far has been hatchery production of sea cucumbers. Three hatchery runs have been made with two of them successfully producing juveniles. These results are encouraging given the expected teething problems associated with a new hatchery facility. Extensive water quality and bacterial testing have been conducted during hatchery runs and the results used to fine-tune the water delivery system at NIMRF. Hatchery-produced juvenile sea cucumbers were used to establish a community-run grow-out pen at a collaborating village (Limanak) to enable collection of long-term growth data and involve villagers with husbandry and field-based culture activities. Several additional community study sites have been assessed and negotiations commenced to establish project activities there. Research to determine the genetic structure of sand fish populations in the Kavieng region, and within a broader regional context, has begun. The results will be used to develop a protocol for responsible transfer of sand fish, which will become an important consideration should hatchery production become established.
A primary site for spat collection of edible oysters was identified and a long-tem spat collection program was established in April 2013. The spat collection program will be expanded to other sites over the next 12 months and resulting spat will be used to establish growth trials at a number of sites around Kavieng. At least two species of edible oysters recruit to hard substrates around Kavieng. Confirmation of the target species as the black-lip oyster (Saccostrea echinata) and identification of the second is required. A value-chain and business case study was begun in May 2013 to determine potential markets for cultured oysters beyond the Kavieng area.
A review of the marine ornamental industry in PNG was completed in 2012 to identify the main markets, key species and bottlenecks to further industry development. There is clear international demand for fish and coral from PNG (particularly endemic species or forms) but issues relating to transport, both domestic and international, remain an impediment. A survey of high-value marine ornamental species in the Kavieng area, that may support captive breeding programs, was begun in May 2013. A value-chain and business case study was begun concurrently to determine potential markets for marine ornamental from the Kavieng area, and to identify key components of the value-chains for these commodities.
Building long term institutional mariculture training capacity and mariculture capacity within NFA, provincial fisheries, NGOs and local communities is a major component of this project. Numerous training activities have been conducted with project partners covering both generic research skills and specific laboratory- and field-based mariculture skills. Training activities will increase over the next 12 months of the project as the scope of research with all target commodities increases. Consultation meetings between National Fisheries College (NFC), University of Natural Resources and Environment (UNRE) and James Cook University (JCU) were held in early 2013 to establish priorities for curriculum development at NFC and UNRE. A working paper was developed as a basis for further consultation later in 2013. This process will be facilitated through an Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID) position linked to the project which was taken up in March 2013.
In summary, a considerable proportion of the first year of this project has been dedicated to equipping and preparation of the new NIMRF for mariculture research and hatchery production. Preliminary hatchery runs with sea cucumbers have been successful in producing juveniles but, perhaps more importantly, have allowed fine-tuning of the system to support more efficient future hatchery production. Progress in all components of the project has been good and strong collaborative links have been made between project partners and with local communities and NGOs. These activities will provide a strong platform for research in the second year of the project.

The second year of this project has required on-going modification of the Nago Island Mariculture and Research Facility (NIMRF) water flow system to better support project research. Fine-tuning of a newly constructed marine research facility is not unexpected. Issues relating to system design, water supply and quality and useability are commonly ironed out once the facility becomes operational and the level of use increases. While longer-term modifications to the system have been identified and will be on-going, the NIMRF system is now well set-up to support hatchery production of invertebrates and live foods culture, broodstock and juvenile husbandry, and ornamental fish breeding. As a result, significant progress has been made with the land-based components of this project, particularly hatchery production of sea cucumbers and breeding of ornamental reef fish (clownfish).
Over the past year, hatchery production of sea cucumbers at NIMRF has become routine and reliable with three hatchery runs completed and each producing thousands of juveniles for release into the wild. Sea-based nursery culture (in bag nets and sea pens) has increased as a result of improved availability of sandfish juveniles. There is insufficient land-based capacity at NIMRF to on-grow small juveniles to an ideal release size of >3 g and a practical and effective ocean-nursery system is therefore required to produce commercial quantities of larger juveniles. To address this, juveniles from recent hatchery runs have been reared in ocean-based bag nets similar to those used in the Philippines (sea) and Vietnam (ponds). Results indicate that the use of this type of nursery system will be confined to sites with specific characteristics (habitat, water quality and ocean conditions) and will not be suitable for all communities. On this basis, ocean nursery will not simply be an early release of juveniles to the care of the community (although this will be possible in some locations) but an extension of the hatchery phase. A tentative model is that juveniles will be transferred to ocean nurseries for accelerated grow-out to a minimum size of 3 g and then distributed to communities for release into the suitable habitats under their ownership or right of access. In addition to initial ocean nursery experiments established at the village of Limanak, two new villages, Ungakum and Enuk, are now involved in project research. All are involved in a new release experiment run collaboratively with research partners in the Philippines, northern Australia and Vietnam as part of FIS/2010/042. Investigations into the socio-economic aspects of sea cucumber mariculture have two components: community member interviews and trial sea-pen husbandry. In the latter, the first cohort of hatchery-produced juvenile sandfish was transferred into nine 25 m2 pens at Limanak, where they are attended by individual family-groups. This research will examine how community groups manage pen culture; sea cucumber growth and environmental parameters within the pens will be monitored by Project staff. Research has confirmed that there are no differences in the genetic structure of sandfish populations in the Kavieng region. In practical terms, this means that broodstock and their hatchery-produced progeny can be responsibly transferred between sites within the project area without concerns about genetic differences.

A primary site for collection of edible oyster spat was established at the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) wharf in Kavieng. This site has high natural recruitment of oysters and restricted public access. However, very low numbers of spat recruited to spat collectors during much of the past year and damage to collectors resulted from strong wave action and other factors. Changes made to the spat collecting system to reduce these problems resulted in the first significant numbers of spat recruiting to collectors in February, March and April, 2014. The species recruiting are Saccostrea cucullata and S. mordax. Assisted by a partner Non-governmental Organisation (NGO, Ailan Awareness) other suitable spat collection and grow-out sites for edible oysters have been identified and negotiations with landowners are underway. Generally poor recruitment to spat collector during the past year has limited the extent to which growth trials could be established. A grow-out trial conducted at the main NFA wharf site with spat collected in early 2014 experienced close to 100 % mortality as a result of predation by Cymatium sp. A modified inspection and sampling protocol will be developed for future oyster culture trials. A value-chain and business case study into the feasibility of commercial oyster culture in Kavieng was begun in May 2013. Completion of this assessment will require more information on recruitment, growth rates and culture inputs

A comprehensive species survey of coral reef fish with aquarium potential was conducted in June 2013 with a focus on identifying high-value species in the Kavieng area. A value-chain and business case study was begun concurrently to determine potential markets for marine ornamental from the Kavieng area, and to identify key components within the value-chains for these commodities. Preliminary indications are that a major bottleneck to development of an aquarium export industry in Kavieng is that of restricted transport or freight options. However, full assessment of this potential requires data from NFA relating to prior aquarium export activities, and this has not yet been made available. Several members of the subfamily Amphiprioninae (clownfish) were identified to have regionally endemic phenotypes representing a high-value commodity in the aquarium trade. A second, more detailed, survey focusing exclusively on this group of fish is planned for July 2014. Construction of larval rearing facilities at NIMRF was completed in May 2014. Thirty-six pairs of clownfish were collected in October 2013 from the Kavieng Lagoon and are currently maintained at NIMRF. Appropriate husbandry and culture parameters for broodstock have been determined for 7 species of clownfish with several broodstock pairs now spawning reliably in captivity at NIMRF. Although importation of live food organisms (rotifers) necessary for larval culture has proven problematic (quarantine issues), production of larvae and juveniles of key species is expected to be achieved by November 2014.

Building long term institutional mariculture training capacity and mariculture capacity within NFA, Provincial Fisheries Officers, NGOs and local communities is a major component of this project. Numerous training activities, covering both generic research skills and specific laboratory- and field-based mariculture skills, have been conducted with project partners. Training activities will increase over the next 12 months of the project as the scope of research with all target commodities increases. Consultation meetings between National Fisheries College (NFC), University of Natural Resources and Environment (UNRE) and James Cook University (JCU) were held to establish priorities for curriculum development. An Aquaculture Training Package which meets the requirements of the National Training Council (NTC) was developed and will be endorsed by the Fisheries Training and Advisory Committee (FTAC) at its annual meeting later this year.
In summary, a considerable proportion of the second year of this project has been dedicated to further improving the hatchery and culture systems at the NIMRF facility. The facility now provides a basis for routine hatchery production of sea cucumber and the breeding of a number of species of clownfish. Field-based research activities have also expanded during the past year with a number of village-based sites establish for sea cucumber culture, development of more appropriate spat collection methods for edible oysters and commencement of oyster growth trials. Progress in all components of the project has been good and strong collaborative links have been made between project partners and with local communities and NGOs. These activities will provide a strong platform for continued research in the third year of the project.

Ongoing modification of the Nago Island Mariculture Research Facility (NIMRF) over the past year includes extension of general indoor and outdoor culture facilities supporting replicated experiments with larvae and juveniles, and additional raceways. A seawater pond has been constructed to hold adult sea cucumbers and for juvenile rearing experiments. Facility developments were made collaboratively with NFA to support ongoing project activities. Improved reticulation provides a more reliable water supply to culture tanks and supports routine production of target species and expansion of project activities.
Hatchery production of sea cucumbers continued with three successful hatchery runs. A standard hatchery protocol has been developed for sea cucumbers that supports routine production of juveniles. Simplification of the larval rearing protocol at NIMRF by replacing live micro-algae with commercial micro-algae pastes as a larval food source is an important development that eliminates many technical constraints often associated with hatchery production. A hatchery culture manual was developed for training purposes. Land-based husbandry of juveniles has become a bottleneck to production of release-sized sea cucumber juveniles at NIMRF. More research is required to address this issue which will be a major focus of experimentation in the final year of the project.
There are now three local communities engaged with sandfish grow-out trials. Two (Ungakum and Enuk) have hapa nets for first stage nursery culture of 3-30 cm juveniles transferred from larval rearing tanks. More research is required to improve survival and to reduce the time taken for hatchery produced juveniles to reach release size of >3 grams. Three communities also host 100 m2 sea pens for juvenile culture and growth, survival and biophysical parameters are regularly monitored. These data are collected using protocols that are standardised with those used in similar ACIAR funded research in the Philippines, northern Australia and Vietnam FIS/2010/042: “”Expansion and Diversification of Production and management Systems for Sea Cucumbers in the Philippines, Vietnam and northern Australia”
. They contribute to a multi-country, broad-scale experiment to identify optimum sea ranching habitats for sandfish. After 12 months, one culture pen at Limanak supported exceptionally high growth and survival of sandfish juveniles (compared to that reported in similar studies), two pens have performed well (on par with other studies) and one pen has suffered total mortality. Important information on the key biophysical parameters which drive growth has being collected. Multivariate analysis of bio-physical factors clearly separated the sea pen habitats, strongly differentiating the best-performing site from the others. Both hapas and sea pens are cared for by community wardens who liaise with project staff. Socio-economic data continue to be collected on past wild fishery practices with respect to sea cucumber, community-based fishery management and attitudes towards mariculture.
A primary site for spat collection of edible oysters was identified and the long-term spat collection program established in 2013 has continued. Collector design has been modified to better suit local conditions. PVC slats covered in a cement/lime slurry supported greater recruitment and better handling than other collector types and have been adopted as a ‘standard’ across all project sites. Other collector types that use locally available materials have also been assessed. The NFA wharf is still the main site for spat collection and oyster growth trials but research has been extended to two community sites (Losogul (Manne) and Panopai) over the past year. However, relatively poor recruitment to spat collectors has limited the extent to which growth trials could be established. A grow-out trial was conducted at the main NFA wharf site, but oysters suffered close to 100% mortality in all treatments over a month-long period through predation by Cymatium gastropods that recruit to oyster culture units. A follow-up trial was conducted using subtidal baskets on the floating pontoon at NIMRF and, after 9 months, Saccostrea cucullata spat reached an average weight of 3.75 g while S. mytiloides spat reached 9-16 g after 8 months. Survival of both was relatively low at around 40%. When S. cucullata spat were deployed in intertidal baskets at Losogul and Panopai, those at Panopai performed better and reached an average weight of 3.45 g after 6 months with a survival of 95%. Ongoing husbandry research will focus on the Panopai site although poor recruitment of oyster spat to collectors at all sites limits the scope of such research. Hatchery production of S. cucculata at NIMRF will be considered in the final year of the project.
Several members of the Amphiprioninae (clownfish) were identified to have regionally endemic phenotypes representing a high-value commodity in the aquarium trade and a total of 36 pairs of clownfish are currently being maintained at NIMRF by NFA staff. Appropriate husbandry and culture parameters for broodstock have been determined for seven species of clownfish with several broodstock pairs now spawning in captivity at NIMRF, including the two most commercially important species, Amphiprion percula and Premnas biaculeatus. In December 2014, NFA staff achieved survival of 85% for A. percula cultured to market size (3 months of age) and pairs of F1 offspring have been established for this species. Key coral species of significance to the aquarium trade were identified during a local species survey including several high-value species. Culture of key species has proven to be reliable in land-based culture systems at NIMRF. Aesthetically pleasing propagation substrates can now be produced on-site using local materials and experiments are currently underway to determine optimal culture parameters for three key species of Acropora in land based culture. Successful field-based culture of corals around NIMRF has proved challenging and suboptimal culture conditions resulted in large scale mortality. New sites have been identified for a second field-based culture trial in 2015.
Aquaculture curriculum development at the NFA National Fisheries College (NFC) has progressed via an Aquaculture Training Package (ATP) which meets the requirements of the National Training Council (NTC) and will be endorsed by the Fisheries Training and Advisory Committee (FTAC) later this year. Specific lesson plans have been developed for the ATP and an Aquaculture Instructor has been recruited by NFA to begin implementing and delivering the ATP through the NFC and NIMRF. A series of best practice booklets have been developed for aquaculture operations with a focus on NIMRF activities, including a hatchery manual for sandfish and ornamental fish. Similar manuals for other target commodities at NIMRF will be developed. Further consultation meetings between relevant training institutions have focused on possible mechanisms for broader capacity building in Aquaculture including institutional ‘twinning’ arrangements. These will be further developed in the final year of the project.

Over the past year there have been regular visits to NIMRF by project staff, commodity specialists and research students that have worked directly with NFA/NIMRF staff. Community members from Limanak, Ungakum, Belifu and Enuk have received training on field-based sea cucumbers culture, survey techniques and data collection, and one or two community members from three of these communities have been engaged to look after ocean nursery culture systems for sea cucumbers. Community members from all village sites have visited the NIMRF hatchery during operation and were given a live demonstration on aspects of life-cycle and culture methods. Short handouts have been developed to assist community awareness of field-based research activities with sea cucumbers and oysters. Both were developed through consultation with a partner local NGO (Ailan Awareness) and translated into Tokpisin. Larger more comprehensive extension materials will be developed to support future project activities. Regular community meeting are held to disseminate project research results and key points are delivered using a Tokspisin handout.

Collaborating Institutions
National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
University of Natural Resources and Environment, Papua New Guinea
Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji
Program Areas
Overview Objectives

The recently completed NFA Nago Island marine hatchery and training facility at Kavieng, New Ireland can now support development of mariculture opportunities in PNG. The facility is also intended as a training centre for students from the National Fisheries College - located in Kavieng and affiliated with the University of Natural Resources and Environment. This project will help to address the need for capacity building at the facility by developing a strategy to strengthen institutional mariculture training in PNG. It will also identify local species with potential to support viable, sustainable mariculture industries for coastal communities.

Project Budget
$1,823,408.00
Grant Report Value
$2005749
Grant Report Recipient
University of the Sunshine Coast
Grant Report Recipient Post Code
4811
Grant Report Finish Date
30/09/2016
Grant Report Start Date
03/04/2012

Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative

Project Leader
Dr Steven Underhill
Email
steven.underhill@deedi.qld.gov.au
Fax
61 7 3896 9444
Phone
61 7 3371 6429
Inactive project countries
Project ID: 
HORT/2008/044
Start Date
01/02/2010
Project Coordinator Fax
Reference Number
BR-202910-53646
Project Type
Bilateral
Project Status
Active
Finish Date
31/01/2014
Extension Start Date
20/01/2014
Commissioned Organisation: 
University of Queensland, Australia
dockey
Project Coordinator Email
Commissioned Organisation
University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Australia
Extension Finish Date
31/01/2015
Overview Collaborators
  • University of Adelaide, Australia
  • University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
  • James Cook University, Australia
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji
  • University of the South Pacific, Fiji
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Australia
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Richard Markham
Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

PARDI commenced in February 2010 and is currently on-track against project milestones.
To date, nine rapid supply chain reviews covering taro, cassava, breadfruit, coconut, pearls, sea cucumber, canarium nut, value added fisheries, and high value timber have been undertaken. A further ten partial reviews have been completed for virgin coconut oil (VCO), sweet potato, vegetables, yam, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, ginger, teak and mahogany.
To ensure integration of consumer and market demands impacting on these chains, we have also undertaken Fiji municipal markets and consumer household surveys, taro consumer preference studies in the Sydney and Auckland markets, and a Vanuatu tourist consumer study on cocoa and canarium nut products.
A further four chains will be assessed over the next few months including; sea cucumber industries (Fiji and Tonga), Mahogany (Fiji), Tamarind (Vanuatu) and participatory based reviews (Vanuatu).
As a consequence of these reviews, an initial four PARDI-funded research projects were commenced in late 2010 and early 2011. Collectively, PARDI now has project-based activities across all target Pacific countries (Fiji [3], Samoa [1], Tonga [3], Solomon Islands [1], Vanuatu [1] and Kiribati [1]). Project details below:
PRA 2010.01 - This James Cook University (JCU) led project is working to increase cultured pearl production capacity and improve quality in the Fiji and Tongan cultured pearl industries.
PRA 2010.02- This University of the South Pacific (USP) led project aims to evaluate and develop new value adding products and technologies for Tilapia and Caulerpa (seaweed spp.) for commercial application in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
PRA 2010.04- This Southern Cross University (SCU) led project is undertaking a scoping study associated with the development of village-based training programmes and information sources for better postharvest handling and processing of sea cucumber in Fiji, Tonga and Kiribati.
PRA 2010.03 - A joint PARDI (Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) and ACIAR funded (PNG) project recently started, that aims to develop consumer-driven value-adding strategies and process techniques to support an emerging Canarium nut industry.
Supporting this portfolio are a series of ongoing small research activities (SRA) that include; consumer acceptance of the new taro cultivars, virgin coconut oil (VCO) chain assessment, PARDI Advisory Group operations, how best to create small-holder impacts from PARDI outputs, cocoa chain business case, and strategies for assessing and transferring capabilities.
The PARDI Advisory Group is currently reviewing a further five proposal, these include:
Creating export-orientated breadfruit production in Fiji
Producing high quality taro material in support of re-building Samoan taro exports
Premium market opportunities for smallholder cocoa producers in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands
Understand the impacts of population dynamics on supply chains
Establishing a series of pilot scale participatory guarantee schemes for vegetables

Much of PARDI’s supply-chain driven research projects have only recently commenced. Consequently it is pre-mature to demonstrate research outputs and impacts. Preliminary project-specific activities include:

PRA 2010.01 (Pearls): Pearl farmers and market structure research has been completed for Tonga and Fiji, a project-funded staff (Jamie Whitford) appointed, and initial farmer training commenced. A full-time Fiji-based project scientist was appointed in May 2011.
PRA 2010.02 (value-adding fisheries) Desk-top studies for Fiji, Samoa & Tonga markets, and analysis of chains in Fiji and Samoa have been completed. Work is ongoing for Tonga outer island groups.
PRA 2010.04 (Sea cucumber): Supply and value chains in Fiji and Tonga have been documented. An evaluation of export chains for processed product from Pacific into Asian markets is anticipated shortly. Tonga and Kiribati field trips are ongoing
SRA 2010.01 (Taro consumer study): Taro sensory testing has been completed in Fiji and Auckland markets and a final report completed.

PARDI has completed three training and development initiatives in the Pacific, including a pearl farmer training workshop in Tonga (Nov 2010), survey training for USP students (Dec 2010), and value chain analysis teaching workshop, Vanuatu (May 2011). Further targeted training of fisheries staff is ongoing (PRA 2010.01 and PRA 2010.04).

To ensure effective project communication we have held six coordination workshops, prepared two six-monthly newsletters, and plan to shortly post PARDI research reports on SPC’s LRD website.

PARDI has participated in series meetings to establish close links with other current ACIAR and donor-funded activities in the region. Through the assistance of SPC and ACIAR, strong engagement with other ACIAR and EU-funded projects particularly in taro and cocoa are emerging; and with PHAMA in cocoa and canarium nut.
Finally, over the last 6 months the PARDI team has increased by 30 staff. There are presently 51 PARDI research staff; with the possibility of a further 19 staff dependant on the outcome of research proposals reviews.
To ensure pending commissioned projects have sufficient operational time, PARDI has requested and been granted a variation to extend the project completion date to January 2015.

PARDI conducts value chain analysis and research to strengthen selected value chains in Pacific horticulture, fisheries and forestry products. This year’s achievements include:
16 technical training workshops have been held.
28 industry and government stakeholders are receiving targeted capacity building and technical support.
17 higher degree students are linked to PARDI projects.
Three major consumer and market place studies have been undertaken:
1. Retail transformation market study - 1000 households in Fiji;
2. Consumer study for Canarium and chocolate products - 400 tourists in Vanuatu;
3. Study of teak supply capabilities in Solomon Islands and a global market analysis is well advanced.
Cocoa. Work has continued with cocoa value chain stakeholders in Vanuatu and the Solomon islands. The collaboration continues to expand to include the Vanuatu statistics office, two new chocolate importers, and PHAMA as well as facilitation for an annual Vanuatu Cocoa Industry Strategic Workshop.
Breadfruit. Research trials and infrastructure associated with the PARDI breadfruit project were severely impacted by flooding in early 2012. A large number (2000) root suckers and marcotts are now ready for field trials. SPC has released nearly 200 tissue-cultured trees. Three orchards have been established and a total of 350 trees planted.
Taro. CePaCT has continued working on taro virus indexing and elimination, in support of the Samoan taro-leaf-blight breeding program. Two virus-elimination methods have been selected, which have proven effective against some TaBV and DsMV infecting cycle-7 taro. Agronomic assessments are being undertaken monthly, with soil tests on selected parameters almost completed. Corms are being sequentially harvested to determine the optimum age for harvesting. A market-based consumer-acceptance study of selected varieties amongst Samoans living in Auckland, New Zealand, was recently completed.
Vegetables. This project seeks to improve smallholder vegetable farmers (Fiji and Solomon Islands) access to high-value domestic markets, through the development of participatory guarantee schemes (PGS). Two target resort partners and four core PGS grower groups have been identified. An industry stakeholder workshop was held in November 2012. An assessment of postharvest wastage has been undertaken. In the Solomon Islands, an audit of farm business management skills has been undertaken.
Protective cropping crops. This new project seeks to address poor product quality and short seasonality, through the development and application of protective cropping systems in Fiji and Samoa. A preliminary assessment of existing protective cropping infrastructure has been completed, with current effort focussed on establishing four trial sites.
Pearls. Development plans for pearl industries in Fiji and Tonga have been drafted. A national spat collection program was initiated in Fiji, in partnership with Fiji Fisheries. Spat collection equipment has been deployed to communities adjacent to pearl farms throughout the country, to provide an on-going supply of oysters for current pearl farms, thus addressing a key bottleneck for the industry. A series of capacity-building workshops have been held. A survey of the mother-of-pearl (MOP) handicraft industry in Fiji showed that this sector had an annual value of more than F$10 million of which more than 85% is based on MOP items imported from Asia.
Value-added fisheries products. Marketing strategy and market chains have been developed and tested for tilapia and Caulerpa (sea grapes). In Fiji a cold-chain HACCP analysis is needed for Caulerpa. The shelf-life of Caulerpa has been extended up to 12 days and a research partnership with the private sector is assessing how this can be incorporated into the supply chain (for the export market).
Tamarind. The value chain map has been completed. Research has demonstrated that a solar dryer was more efficient than passive sun drying for tamarind and that the fruit dries to a commercially acceptable water activity level after two days of fine weather in the solar dryer. Microbiological test results indicated that all samples met Australian food standards.
Canarium. The industry has increased since the start of the project with a private-sector partner now selling product in supermarkets and planning to triple production to 1.5 tonnes in the coming year. Research on tree selection has shown that the profitability of the industry could be greatly increased by selecting trees with large kernels and high kernel recovery.
Teak. The social research team visited collaborating villages in Solomon Islands to document areas of concern for growers. Grower and plantation operations were then assessed to identify market drivers for teak and their effect on grower participation.
PARDI publications, reports and newsletters are available online: http://www.spc.int/lrd

Collaborating Institutions
University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Australia
University of the Sunshine Coast, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, Australia
James Cook University, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, Australia
Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Land Resources Division, Fiji
University of the South Pacific, Faculty of Business and Economics, Fiji
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Centre for Tropical Agriculture, Australia
Program Areas
Overview Objectives

Significant challenges face Pacific island countries (PICs) in improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty - in particular, food and fuel price surges in 2008, the impact of the global economic crisis, a number of natural disasters, difficulties maintaining infrastructure and the negative effects of climate change. PICs and international agencies acknowledge that the way to meet many of these challenges is to improve competitiveness of industries and thus provide a platform for stronger economic growth. This project will study issues particularly affecting food production and agricultural sector development. These include isolation from key growth markets and limited coordination of supply chains. There is a growing presence of internationally supported economic development programs that address some of these issues in the region; this project, involving ACIAR’s Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI), will complement that work with a focus on research for development to underpin the competitiveness of targeted high-value agriculture, fisheries and forestry products.

Project Budget
$9,991,706.00
Grant Report Value
$10990877
Grant Report Recipient
University of Queensland
Grant Report Recipient Post Code
4068
Grant Report Finish Date
31/01/2015
Grant Report Start Date
05/02/2010