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Virginia Tech has won a new $18 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for a research program that will work to raise the standard of living of people around the world through environmentally sound agricultural practices as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab (formerly Collaborative Research Support Program) for Integrated Pest Management will conduct research and extension activities with farmers, counterpart universities, and host-country government research institutes to implement ecologically sustainable pest and disease control strategies. The predecessor programs to this new award have been led by Virginia Tech University for the past 21 years. USAID recently announced that Virginia Tech would once again lead the program, a move that represents a vote of confidence in the work that has been ongoing since 1993. The new program will have a strong foundation in areas such as sustainable intensification, ecological service provision, ecological research, and empowerment of women farmers.

The new Innovation Lab, managed by Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development, will commit its core resources to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania in Africa and to Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam in Asia.

The Asian arm of the program will include two main sub-programs: one focused on rice in Burma and Cambodia, and a second on horticultural crops in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Vietnam. The Nepal program will additionally address integrated pest management for grains and climate change impacts.

The projects in eastern Africa will focus on innovative crop protection research for increased production and preservation of high-priority Feed the Future staple crops like maize, wheat, and chickpea in Ethiopia; rice and maize in Tanzania; and high-value vegetables in Kenya and Tanzania. The program will also research and implement new strategies to control existing and emergent pest infestations in countries where farmers with limited resources are predicted to be heavily affected by climate variability.

Muniappan headshotDr. Rangaswamy (Muni) Muniappan is the Principal Investigator of the IPM Innovation Lab. As a world-renowned specialist in tropical economic entomology, biological control of insect pests and weeds, and integrated pest management, Muniappan has devoted his life’s work to improving conditions for farmers in the developing world. In his eight years at the helm of the IPM Innovation Lab, Muniappan has made considerable contributions: he initiated the development of crop-specific “packages”—easy-to-use sets of technical methods for a given crop; he developed partnerships with private sector organizations; he encouraged scaling up through the dissemination of information via a market systems approach as well as through national extension organizations and NGOs; and he actively worked to promote South-South partnerships for capacity building. His work on the papaya mealybug in India alone brought about economic benefits of well over $500 million, saving the livelihood of thousands of farmers. Not only has Muniappan contributed through program management and research, he has also served in management positions for international scientific bodies. As an honorary member of the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC), he was instrumental in establishing the IOBC global working groups on Chromolaena in 1988 and on Parthenium in 2009. As chairman of the global working group on Chromolaena, he conducted international workshops in Africa, Asia and Australia from 1988 to 2006. Muniappan has co-written and edited two textbooks: Biological Control of Tropical Weeds Using Arthropods (2009), published by Cambridge University Press, and Arthropod Pests of Horticultural Crops in Tropical Asia (2012), by CABI . While managing the IPM Innovation Lab, Muniappan has mentored dozens of young scientists in developing countries, and continued his own research—making discoveries about invasive pests and publishing his findings. This research has made him a well-regarded scientist of international stature, called on by governments around the world to consult on invasive pests.Dr. Muniappan is an International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) Governing Board Member and Region XIII Coordinator: North America.

 

Brhane image1Dr. Brhane Gebrekidan is the Africa Program Manager of the IPM Innovation Lab. He is also an IAPPS Governing Board Member and is Region V Coordinator: East Africa. Gebrekidan has over 40 years of Ethiopian, African, and global experience in agricultural research, education, technology transfer, and project management. A plant breeder, Gebrekidan has developed new varieties of sorghum and maize for different ecological zones across Ethiopia. Gebrekidan brings a wealth of experience in research, teaching, and management. He has taught courses in plant breeding, genetics, biometry, and cropping systems at the former Alemaya College of Agriculture at Addis Ababa University (now Haramaya University). He is a founding fellow, vice president, and board member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences. He has served as the founding editor of the Ethiopian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, as the chairman of the Agriculture Working Group of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, and as vice-chair of the Ethiopian Association of Agricultural Professionals. He is also vice-chair of the Professional Advisory Group of Colleges of Agriculture of Ethiopian Public Universities, and serves as an advisor to the Agricultural Transformation Agency of Ethiopia. Gebrekidan was director of the IPM CRSP from 1994 to 2002. He has also served as chief of party and senior research advisor for the USAID-funded Amhara Micro-enterprise development, Agricultural Research, Extension and Watershed Management (AMAREW) project based in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Gebrekidan’s other management experience includes stints as the associate program director of the International Sorghum and Millet CRSP (INTSORMIL), the Ethiopian national team leader and coordinator for sorghum and millet for International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), maize breeder and team leader for Eastern and Southern Africa under the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and Head of the Plant Sciences Department of Alemaya College of Agriculture at Addis Ababa University. As leader of both the Ethiopian and eastern and southern Africa regional sorghum/maize programs, he has worked closely for over two decades with the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research and the other national research institutes in the region. Throughout his career, Gebrekidan has devoted himself to promoting good practices and policies in maize, sorghum, and millet improvement, and agricultural development in general.

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Dr. E. A. “Short” Heinrichs is the Asia Program Manager of the IPM Innovation Lab. Heinrichs is a world-renowned specialist in rice entomology, host plant resistance to insects, and integrated pest management. He has had long experience in agricultural development programs in Asia, South America, and Africa, and has conducted collaborative research with national agricultural research systems in 36 countries. His experience with IPM is both broad and deep. He served as director of the IPM CRSP from 2002-2005, and has held IPM-related management positions with a number of international development organizations, serving as the interim coordinator of the Global IPM Facility of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), heading up the entomology department for a decade at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and serving for six years as entomologist at the Africa Rice Center in Côte d’Ivoire. He also served as the associate director of the USAID-funded Sorghum, Millet and Other Grains Collaborative Research Support Program (the INTSORMIL CRSP) for eight years. He has consulted on IPM with international agencies, including USAID, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank. Heinrichs has published about 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles and authored or co-authored ten books, including Biology and Management of Rice Insects (in Asia), published in 1994 by Wiley, and Rice-Feeding Insects and Selected Natural Enemies in West Africa, published in 2004 by IRRI with the West Africa Rice Development Association. In the teaching and research realm, Heinrichs has taught entomology at four universities in the United States and the Philippines. He developed the IRRI Rice IPM Training Program and has worked with farmer field schools in order to spread new agricultural techniques. Where appropriate materials weren’t available, he created his own, for example, at IRRI, co-authoring IRRI training modules and then working to implement them. Heinrichs is associate director emeritus and research professor in the department of entomology at the University of Nebraska and IAPPS Secretary General, a position he has held for eleven years.

 

 

 

 

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Press Release

Virginia Tech University

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blacksburg, VA, USA

University awarded $18 million to implement integrated pest management program in developing countries
Virginia Tech has won a new $18 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for a research program that will work to raise the standard of living of people around the world through environmentally sound agricultural practices as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab (formerly Collaborative Research Support Program) for Integrated Pest Management will conduct research and extension activities with farmers, counterpart universities, and host-country government research institutes to implement ecologically sustainable pest and disease control strategies. The predecessor programs to this new award have been led by Virginia Tech University for the past 21 years.
USAID recently announced that Virginia Tech would once again lead the program, a move that represents a vote of confidence in the work that has been ongoing since 1993. The new program will have a strong foundation in areas such as sustainable intensification, ecological service provision, ecological research, and empowerment of women farmers.
“We’ve been forming partnerships, conducting research, and getting to know farmers all over the world for the past two decades,” said Rangaswamy “Muni” Muniappan, who has led the Innovation Lab since 2006. “Our work has shown great results, and we look forward to continuing the fight against hunger.”
The competitively-awarded program will address new and emerging pest problems that plague farmers in the developing world, as well as model and manage the spread of invasive species. Program scientists will also be investigating ways to preserve biodiversity and offset the impacts of climate change on agricultural pests and diseases.
The new Innovation Lab, managed by Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development, will commit its core resources to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania in Africa and to Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam in Asia.
The Asian arm of the program will include two main sub-programs: one focused on rice in Burma and Cambodia, and a second on horticultural crops in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Vietnam. The Nepal program will additionally address integrated pest management for grains and climate change impacts.
The projects in eastern Africa will focus on innovative crop protection research for increased production and preservation of high-priority Feed the Future staple crops like maize, wheat, and chickpea in Ethiopia; rice and maize in Tanzania; and high-value vegetables in Kenya and Tanzania. The program will also research and implement new strategies to control existing and emergent pest infestations in countries where farmers with limited resources are predicted to be heavily affected by climate variability.
“This program has been working on the ground with poor farmers, making a difference in their lives, and contributing to global food security,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to learn from past challenges and build on our successes.”
As in all the previous phases of the program, U.S. researchers will strengthen and forge new partnerships with international colleagues and work directly with farmers. The core tenets will remain unchanged: The program will strive to reduce pesticide use, increase food production, improve health, and make a difference in the lives of poor people in developing countries all over the world.
“A small innovation in a farmer’s life can have a huge impact on their family and on succeeding generations,” said Muniappan.

About Feed the Future
Feed the Future (www.feedthe future.gov) is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.

About USAID
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.
About Virginia Tech
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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Logo for IPM CRSP

Annual Report 2013
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Kelly Izlar
The IPM Innovation Labs’s FY 2013 (October 1, 2012–September 30, 2013) annual report is now available. Click below to download the document.

http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/publications/annual-reports/annual-report-2013/

For users with lower bandwidth and/or with interest in only certain specific topic areas, we will split individual chapters and major sections out of the Annual Report for you to view individually. Check back in the coming weeks for a list of individual chapters and sections for download. For more information contact: rmuni@vt.edu

Table of Contents

Management Entity Message
Highlights and Achievements in 2012–2013

Regional Programs
Latin America and the Caribbean
East Africa
West Africa
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Central Asia

Global Programs
Parthenium
International Plant Diagnostic Network (IPDN)
International Plant Virus Disease Network (IPVDN)
Impact Assessment
Gender Equity, Knowledge, and Capacity Building

Associate & Buy-In Awards
Indonesia
Nepal
Bangladesh

Training and Publications
Short- and Long-Term Training
Publications

Appendices: Collaborating Institutions and Acronyms

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Zygogramma bicolorata, a Parthenium biocontrol agent in Ethiopia

See video, Taking aim at a bitter weed:    http://youtu.be/Ty4r4HPM08s

Venues:
Addis Ababa – first 2 days
July 13 – July 15, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Nexus Hotel
http://www.nexusaddis.com/

Adama – second 2 days
July 15 – July 17, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Kereyu Hill Resort Hotel
http://kereyuhillresorthotel.com/

Objective:
The purpose of this four-day workshop is to review the current status of parthenium in the world and discuss management practices that can be used to abate its adverse impacts. The workshop will bring together scientists working on parthenium from Africa and other parts of the world to share information on the biology and management of this weed. The workshop is designed to facilitate collaboration among researchers both within Ethiopia and internationally.

Background:
The devastating invasive weed parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) is making an unwelcome advance in countries around the world from its birthplace in Central America. The scourge, known in Oromiffa, one of Ethiopia’s languages, as “faramsissa,” or “sign your land away,” has now spread to Africa, Asia, and Australia. In Africa, its reach extends from Ethiopia in the north to South Africa in the south. Wherever it goes, it reduces crop yield, adversely affects livestock production by taking over pastures and affecting the taste of cow’s milk, damages human health, and impinges on biodiversity. The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab—a program funded by USAID and managed by Virginia Tech—has a project in Ethiopia led by Virginia State University that has been developing control practices to abate these adverse impacts. This project has evaluated the host range of two bioagents that control the weed, conducted a detailed survey of parthenium in eastern and southern Africa, and trained several individuals on biological control. Workshop participants will visit a bioagent rearing site, witness the release of bioagents that control parthenium, Zygogramma and Listronotus, and visit farms affected by this weed.

Workshop sponsors: USAID, IPM Innovation Lab at Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, IAPPS, EIAR, ARC-LNR, Alemaya University.

 

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Flickr/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

 

There was one unpleasant surprise in what was otherwise an invigorating and useful high-level discussion at the EU-Africa Business Forum this week (1 April) in Brussels, Belgium: a skewed focus on success and perhaps a reluctance to admit to failure.

The session was organised to draw up a set of core messages on how to get the business sector and public research organisations to work closer and better together on ensuring food security in Africa and Europe.

These were then fed into 4th EU-Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Union and African Union also taking place this week (2-3 April) in Brussels.

Following several ‘taster’ presentations that helped set the scene with successful examples, my task was to moderate a discussion that would identify both what works and what doesn’t work in making the two sectors more responsive to each other’s needs.
“It is time to look honestly and constructively at failures in the way we do things — in agricultural research and beyond.”

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Mićo Tatalović
“But despite a lively discussion involving most of the 50 or so delegates, and despite repeated calls to also hear examples of what worked less well, or not at all, we mostly only heard examples of success or thoughts on what ought to happen next.”

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Even a delegate who was involved in setting up a repository of examples of best practice aimed at farmers, when asked if we should also have a repository of ‘worst practice’ — things to definitely avoid, seemed unprepared for the question and unsure of how to answer it.

As in science, where in general only results that show something working well get reported, it seems that the participants preferred to highlight things that have worked well. From the launch of new small and medium size enterprises following on from EU Framework Programme 7’s research project in Egypt, to finding an innovative use for unpopular but productive mushroom farming in Rwanda, the success stories are many.

But as in science, our perspective and understanding are skewed if we never see the rest of the iceberg — the hypotheses that did not turn out to be correct — and don’t investigate why that was.

That things don’t always work the way we intended them to is evident from the various suggestions for new and different initiatives, such as innovative ways of financing agricultural research between the public and private sectors. If everything done so far was a success, why bother changing things — why not repeat past successes?

This lack of examples of less-successful initiatives limits our opportunity for learning.

Indeed, while it may be difficult to own up to having worked on project that just did not deliver, without recognising failure and understanding why it happened, we are unlikely to avoid it in future.

This is why SciDev.Net’s news recently started looking more proactively at past initiatives originally launched with high acclaim and high expectations, only to slowly fade from the media spotlight. These follow-up stories (‘whatever happened to…?’) offer valuable insights for others to learn from.

Recent examples include a 2008 MalariaEngage website designed to find a new way to crowdsource finding for malaria research in Africa; and Science for Humanity, which attempted to link up scientists and NGOs for better adoption of research in development work.

It is time to look honestly and constructively at failures in the way we do things — in agricultural research and beyond.

http://www.scidev.net/global/innovation/scidev-net-at-large/eu-africa-research-must-start-learning-from-failures.html

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