Since its creation in 1972, ICRISAT has collaborated with institutions in Andhra Pradesh in many agricultural research fields.
Improved varieties: Drought-tolerant groundnut variety ICGV 91114 has been a success since its release in Anantapur district. This dual-purpose variety yields 23% more than the local variety TMV 2, and its highly digestible haulm serves as fodder for cattle. Andhra Pradesh's chickpea production jumped from 95,000 tons in 1999-2000 to 850,000 tons in 2009-2010 (a 9-fold increase) thanks to the adoption of new early-maturing cultivars. Pigeonpea is another important pulse grown on half a million hectares. ICRISAT's wilt-resistant pigeonpea varieties like Maruthi, Asha and Laxmi have been cultivated for three decades. ICRISAT has developed the world's first ever pigeonpea hybrids. Hybrid ICPH 2740, very promising for black soils in the State, was released in 2012 and is being commercially cultivated since 2014 by the State’s farmers.
The biofortified iron-rich pearl millet variety ICTP 8203 is one example of improved cultivars of dryland cereals developed through ICRISAT’s millets and sorghum crop breeding programme. This is the first biofortified crop cultivar officially released in India. Andhra Pradesh produces 80% of the improved pearl millet seeds marketed in India.
Better farming practices: Thanks to integrated pest management (IPM), pigeonpea and groundnut farmers in pilot areas of Andhra Pradesh have significantly reduced their use of insecticide. Another ecological farming method tested and disseminated is the biological control of pigeonpea pod borer.
Reaching out to small farmers through ICT innovations: The large adoption of mobile technologies among the rural poor in the last few years is a great opportunity to use ICT innovations to increase farmers’ access to critical information, such as weather forecasts, pest risks and pest control advice, information on quality inputs or identifying the right credit and insurance solutions, etc. ICRISAT has developed financially sustainable ICT-mediated agro-advisory systems; Krishi Gyan Sagar and Krishi Vani were launched in 2013 in Karnataka, as well as in Andhra Pradesh.
Sustainable natural resource management: In the semi-arid rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, many farms face land degradation, reduced water availability and other dryland stresses, exacerbated by inappropriate soil and water farming practices. For more than 30 years, ICRISAT has tested in Kothapally (Adarsha watershed), a consortium approach for better natural resource management in Indian drylands through farmer participatory research. Kothapally’s watershed model is being replicated in various parts of Andhra Pradesh (eg, public-private partnership in Medak district), other Indian States as well as other parts of Asia.
Inclusive markets: Since 2003, thanks to the Andhra Pradesh government’s support, ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) has been helping to link smallholder farmers to markets. Along with a food safety laboratory, this platform looks at value addition of ICRISAT’s mandate crops (eg, the Nutriplus Knowledge Program which has developed healthy snacks from millet and sorghum grains), as well as incubating promising agribusiness enterprises [ABI-ICRISAT, part of the Indian agribusiness incubators network (NIABI)] in the field of biotechnology and seed production, biological pest control products and sweet sorghum processing.