Five days DSSAT training program was coordinated by the Learning Systems Unit (LSU) of the Knowledge Sharing and Innovation (KSI). Thirty participants of various disciplinary background from partner institutions in India and Africa attended the training program, held at C Fred Bentley Conference Centre from 23rd to 27th March, 2015. Resource persons included eminent scientists from Washington State University, Dr Gerrit Hoogenboom; University of Florida, Dr Cheryl H Porter, and support from ICRISAT experts, Drs Piara Singh and K DakshinaMurthy.
DDG Peter Carberry who is a ‘man of science’ and also adept with modeling gave an inspiring message to the participants during the inaugural session. He posed the challenge for the participants to find ways in which models can be of practical use to farmers and policymakers. DDG Peter Carberry added that building models need to be concerned primarily on their applications especially in complex systems where we operate namely in crop-livestock system, value chain, and even in innovation platform specifically as avenues for dialogues and conversations. In this way, access to support or investment for modeling initiatives can be sustained.
The closing program, on the other hand, was graciously attended by the Director General, David Bergvinson together with KSI Global Leader Dileepkumar; Research Program Director, MIP, Cynthia Bantilan. Dr Bergvinson, in his brief remarks, highlighted the important aspects of demand-driven innovation and the opportunity created by new technologies like DSSAT in changing the lives of the stakeholders, most importantly, that of the smallholder farmers. “Such technology strengthens important organization and government, maximizing the impact of research and providing a platform for driving the farmers towards success” said Director General. Dr Bergvinson and Dileepkumar underscored the possibility of exploring blended means for delivering the course.
Resource persons, Gerrit Hoogenboom and Cheryl H Porter profoundly expressed their appreciation to ICRISAT for providing full support to the training and being instrumental in initiating enthusiasm among its partners especially the participants who willingly invested on their own resources to enrich their knowledge. They acknowledged this batch as one of the most inquisitive group posing challenging questions, which could be attributed to their diverse background.
Cynthia Bantilan, on the other hand, outlined the history and importance of crop modeling and highlighted the effort and dedication made by the coordinators, Rosana Mula and Nedumaran as well as the KSI-LSU team in successfully organizing the event.
During the five-days training course, the participants acquired knowledge on topics based on Potential Production; Weather and Genetic Coefficients; Water Limited Production and Soil and Experiment Data, Nitrogen Limited Production and Seasonal Analysis; and Evaluating Risk and Sustainability. Hands on assignments were provided that further enriched their knowledge. The participants experienced an interactive session throughout the training program. They were provided with a Certificate of Completion upon conclusion of the course.
Participants’ feedback highlighted the effectiveness of the training program. However, they suggested that it should have been conducted for a longer period to gain more in-depth knowledge. They conveyed their utmost contentment towards ICRISAT for providing them a wonderful stay on the campus.
The training program was organized as part of the capacity development activity of the Institute. It was an initiative to enhance the capacity of the in-service people and partner institutions on knowledge based on demand-driven requirements.
Courtesy of Rosana P. Mula, ICRISAT Learning Systems Unit