Vegetables without borders

6 November 2014
The 33rd AVRDC
Vegetable Training
Course, Thailand
page 13
Vegetables without borders
A first-ever collaboration on agricultural innovation in Punjab brings
Pakistan and India closer together.
In a week when individuals from
India and Pakistan were awarded
the Nobel Peace prize, AVRDC
also facilitated historic
agricultural cooperation across
the Punjab border as a part of the
United States Agency for
International Development
(USAID)-funded Agricultural
Innovations for Pakistan
Initiated by AVRDC South Asia, a
three-day meeting at Punjab
Agricultural University in India
from October 8-10 mapped out
activities for the first-ever project
collaboration between the
university and their agricultural
colleagues in Pakistan.
Most meeting participants had
never travelled to their
neighboring country, despite
both sharing the divided
province of Punjab that was split
(l): United States Agency for International
Development-funded Agriculture Innovation Project
Planning meeting held from 8-10 October 2014 at
Punjab Agricultural University, India.
(r): Mansab Ali (right), AVRDC Vegetable Program
Leader in Pakistan, in discussion with Punjab
cucumber growers.
(...continued on page 2)
(...continued from page 1)
(l): At the Center of Excellence for Vegetables. (r): Mansab Ali (center) and Asghar Ali (left), Legume Agronomist, AVRDC South Asia Pakistan
Office, discuss gerbera production with a Punjabi farmer.
between India and Pakistan at
independence. Agricultural
conditions and needs on both sides
of the border are very similar.
“We have had many international
projects, but this is the first one
with Pakistan,” said the head of the
university’s Department of
Vegetable Science, Dr. Major
Dhaliwal, as he welcomed the
Pakistan team. “We are honored to
have visitors from Pakistan – it’s
like a family reunion.”
The three AVRDC staff from
Pakistan, led by Mansab Ali,
joined more than 30 staff from the
university and three members from
the AVRDC South Asia regional
office, including Regional Director
Warwick Easdown.
AVRDC’s work in Pakistan focuses
on protected cultivation, increasing
mungbean production and
improving value chains. In addition
to planning joint work in these
three areas, the group also visited
research facilities and farms across
These included university trials, a
state government Center of
Excellence in protected cultivation,
and farmers producing a range of
crops under cover and managing
marketing cooperatives to improve
their returns.
India has made rapid progress in
the development of protected
cultivation of vegetables. Growing
vegetables under sturdy polynet
houses—promoted in a joint project
between AVRDC and PAU—is
almost unknown in Pakistan. There
is a need to link Pakistan more
strongly to international
However, Pakistan mungbean
yields are higher than those in
India, and innovations such as post
-emergent herbicide mixes
developed in Pakistan have good
potential for application in India.
(top): Rakesh Sharda demonstrates solar
powered irrigation for net houses at PAU.
(bottom): Postharvest lab at Punjab
Agricultural University, India.
The USAID Agricultural
Innovations Program project is
helping to link agricultural
innovations on both sides of the
border, building peace through a
shared interest in vegetables.
(...continued on page 3)
(...continued from page 2)
Mungbean: A crop that’s
catching on in Pakistan
AVRDC Pakistan and the Pulses Program of
the National Agricultural Research Center
(NARC) hosted a Field Day on 23 September 2014 at
Kamalpur, Attock district, Punjab to promote
mungbean as a catch crop in the wheat-fallow-wheat
cropping system prevalent in the district. The 200
farmers that attended the event discovered there is
great potential to produce mungbean under rain-fed
conditions on about 20,000 hectares in the district.
To promote rapid adoption of the crop, the farmers
were introduced to improved mungbean production
practices. They compared improved varieties
growing in demonstration plots; saw examples of
best integrated pest management practices; and got
a look at the latest advances in production and
postharvest technology. Market linkages for sale of
their output were discussed to reassure farmers
there would be buyers for their crop.
Mungbean is the major summer legume crop in
Pakistan, occupying 12% of the total pulse area
and contributing
14% to &
country’s total
is the major summer legume crop in Pakistan,
of of
if one
total pulse
14% to the country’s total pulse production. There is
to crop’s
soft greenofstems
potential Due
to increase
this valuable
crop, if one major hurdle to complete mechanization
the use ofDue
be overcome:
crop’s soft green
stems and leaves at maturity, it becomes entangled in
After examining mungbean in the field and learning
about the crop’s ability to fix nitrogen in the soil and
improve soil structure most participants were
convinced mungbean should have a place in their
crop rotations. Farmers received brochures about
mungbean production, and many showed a keen
interest in adopting mungbean as catch crop in the
coming season.
combines, making the use of this important harvesting
from AVRDC
and the
the national Pulses Program under the Agriculture
Program Program
for Pakistan
for (AIP)
method to combine combines with mungbean. First,
a chemical
a chemical
to dry
desiccant 4 to 5 days before harvesting to dry
whole plant. The technicians then rescued an old an
old combine
the junkyard,
with some
from the
and with
adjustments and tweaking, got it to work forfor
be be
to the
combine to avoid seed breakage. Early experiments
the technique
have been
the technique
been successful,
and promise
time savings for
significant time saving for farmers.
Muhammad Azeem Khan, Director General,
NARC, graciously acknowledged the effort of
AVRDC in organizing the field day. He emphasized
the need for further collaborative work to assist the
rural community, and declared Kamalpur as an
official demonstration site. Mazhar Hussain,
AVRDC Socioeconomist, conducted a key informant
survey to determine farmers’ awareness of improved
mungbean practices.
vegetable cash crop in Balochistan, Pakistan; the
province produces about one-third of the country’s
onions. Balochistan, located in the southwestern
part of Pakistan, is famous for vegetable cultivation
due to its favorable climate, yet onion production
remains relatively low due to the use of uncertified
seed and the imprecise broadcast method of
sowing. AVRDC’s Agricultural Innovation
Program and the Directorate of Vegetable Seed
Production, Agricultural Research Institute,
Quetta initiated production of basic seed for onion
to tackle the seed supply issue faced by farmers in
the province. Varieties for seed multiplication
include ‘Chiltan 89’ and ‘Saryab Red’; bulbs for
seed have been started in farmers’ fields in different
locations of Quetta, Pishin, and Mastung. AVRDC
and provincial partners also educate farmers about
seed production and other improved practices.
(clockwise from top left): Desirable mother bulbs selected; mother
bulbs ready for seed production in Quetta; onion mother bulbs planted for
seed production.
SANJEET SPEAKS: Pepper Breeder Sanjeet Kumar delivered keynote
presentations on his work and the Center’s wider role in germplasm
conservation, breeding and dissemination at the 2nd International Plant
Breeding Seminar hosted by The Genetics Society of Malaysia and other
organizations at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Selangor, Malaysia on
14-15 October 2014. More than 160 plant breeders and students from
Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand
and Vietnam attended the seminar. In addition to highlighting AVRDC’s
pepper research and seed dissemination, Sanjeet emphasized the role of
germplasm conservation in providing important traits such as heat and
drought tolerance that have been lost during the domestication process.
The students were encouraged to opt for plant breeding as a rewarding
profession, and to begin building their knowledge with a basic
understanding of genetics. Sanjeet also highlighted the choice of correct
tools for plant selection, and the need to develop strategic collaborations
with experts in other disciplines.
IPM IN CAMBODIA: AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center in collaboration with the Cambodian Center for
Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) conducted a training course on integrated pest management for
major vegetable crops from 30 September to 3 October 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A total of 19
participants from government agencies, non-governmental organizations and farmers’ associations attended the
training. Sam Vitou, CEDAC Executive Director, welcomed all participants and emphasized the importance of
building the capacity of farmers in integrated pest management so they can produce safe vegetables for
consumers. Srinivasan Ramasamy, AVRDC Entomologist, gave technical sessions on insect pests of
vegetables and advances in pest management. Participants visited the Kbal Koh Vegetable Station of
Cambodia’s General Directorate of Agriculture and went to farmers’ fields for practical exercises. Sheila de
Lima, AVRDC Admin and Training Officer, facilitated the training course. The course was offered as part of the
“Network for Knowledge Transfer on Sustainable Agricultural Technologies and Improved Market Linkages in
South and Southeast Asia (SATNET Asia),” a project funded by the European Union. AVRDC organizes training
on sustainable agricultural technology options for Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Myanmar, the project's target
countries in Southeast Asia.
Kenyon and
Samrat Laha visited the R&D farm of
Nuziveedu Seeds in Sonepat, Haryana, India
on 18 September 2014 to have a glance at
the company’s ongoing research for different
vegetable crops. They were accompanied by
SK Tripathi, Vice President - Vegetable Unit,
Breeder A.S Shekhawat and Product
Development Officer Mr. Sunil. Lawrence
and Samrat also engaged in detailed
discussions with Nuziveedu’s R&D team
regarding research activities.
Analytical, a soil testing
laboratory in the Solomon
Islands, is introducing a
tomato variety developed
from AVRDC – The World
Vegetable Center
breeding lines to area farmers. ‘Rose’s
Choice’, named after local farmer Mrs. Rose Sese, who
allowed AVRDC to trial the tomato variety at her farm in
Areatakiki, Central Guadalcanal, is an open-pollinated variety
that produces firm, medium to large fruit, making it a suitable
variety for transport to market. The project to develop and
distribute ‘Rose’s Choice’ is funded by the Australian Centre
for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) as part of
AVRDC’s effort to introduce improved vegetable varieties in
the Solomon Islands. ‘Rose’s Choice’ joins ‘Pingtung Long’, an
AVRDC eggplant variety distributed in the Solomon Islands for
the past 5 years. Farmers favor ‘Pingtung Long’ because it is
easy to grow and produces fruit with a sweet taste and soft
texture that consumers like. SPE has contracted with a local
farm to produce seed of ‘Pingtung Long’ and is currently
selling the seed.
Grow Myanmar!
(l): Simon Groot (left), founder and chairman
of the East-West Seed Company.
(r): Mingling at the Royal Tropical Institute,
Member Jon
recently attended a seminar, ‘Grow
Myanmar’, hosted by East-West
Seed to focus on the country’s
potential to develop a thriving
agricultural and horticultural
sector, and to celebrate the 80th
birthday of Simon Groot, the
company’s founder and chairman.
The event was held at the Royal
Tropical Institute in Amsterdam,
the Netherlands.
“The subtitle of the seminar was
‘Boosting Rural Livelihoods’, a
subject close to my own heart, as
my wife is Burmese, and we run a
charity working in remote rural
Myanmar,” Wilkinson said.
“Myanmar has been isolated for
more than 50 years, and
smallholder farmers are almost
totally ignorant of modern
vegetable growing practices.”
Speakers from the Netherlands
seed industry and academia
presented their views on the
country’s prospects. Louise
Fresco, President of the Executive
Board at Wageningen University,
and a former AVRDC Board
Member, stressed the need to
encourage small farmers to become
Those working in Myanmar, such
as Tin Htut, Director for
Agricultural Development; Stuart
Morris, Extension Manager for
East-West Seed Myanmar; and
Rita Nguyen, an IT entrepreneur
with a focus on apps for farmers,
shared their practical experience
about what is needed to convert
potential into reality. Dr. Htut
noted the government’s
commitment to development, but
also stressed the need for outside
knowledge, or as he put it, “what to
do.” East-West Seed has been
active in Myanmar for 10 years, and
Stuart Morris gave an interesting
account of the company’s work with
farmers, who tend to be
conservative and risk-averse. EastWest aims to educate and
demonstrate, often at a basic level,
and Morris showed some excellent
examples, with profit figures, of the
returns to farmers from adopting
good agricultural practices. The
cost of mobile phones and SIM
cards is plummeting as Myanmar’s
telecommunications market opens
up; Rita Nguyen made a strong case
that access to these services in rural
areas will be of huge benefit to the
country’s farmers.
The seminar ended with an
affectionate and entertaining
tribute to Simon Groot from Anton
van Doormalen, co-owner of
seed company Rijk Zwaan. At the
buffet dinner that followed the
seminar, Dr. Wilkinson had the
opportunity to meet Molly Jahn,
another ex-AVRDC Board Member,
who is now on the scientific board
of East-West Seed.
AVRDC undoubtedly has much to
offer Myanmar. As a Burmese
Member of Parliament said to Dr.
Wilkinson: “We have to do 50 years
of development in at most 10.”
The Center in the news
The Highland County Press in Hillsboro, Ohio USA reports that Sarah Cox,
AVRDC intern in Nutrition in 2011, was awarded the 2014 American Star in
Agriscience from the Future Farmers of America. Sarah conducted
phytochemical analysis of African indigenous vegetables during her summer at
AVRDC. Congratulations, Sarah!
International Innovation, a journal connecting
researchers, funders, policymakers and
commercial partners, highlighted AVRDC's
research and development activities in issue
#155—the AVRDC Genebank in particular.
Appropriate Technology reprinted the 30 May 2014
Fresh article “From seed to sales” in its September 2014
issue. Appropriate Technology is free, but registration is
New projects
AVRDC recently was awarded the following projects from various donors. We appreciate the support and look forward to
fruitful collaborations with our donors and partners to work for the benefit small-scale farmers, their families and
communities throughout the world.
 Beans with Benefits: Integrating improved mungbean as a catch crop into the
dryland systems of South and Central Asia for increased smallholder farmer income
and more sustainable production systems, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development, Germany (BMZ) through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale
Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Duration: 3 years. Target countries: Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
 Deploying Vegetable Seed Kits to Tackle Malnutrition in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania,
Liberia and Cambodia, funded by the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID). Duration: 3 years.
 Nutrition Sensitive Vegetable Technologies, funded by USAID’s Feed the Future initiative.
Duration: 27 months. Target country: Tajikistan.
 CGIAR Research Program Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) - Solomon Islands.
Duration: 13 months.
A group of 17 farmers and entrepreneurs
on an individual study mission for
agricultural innovation from the
Philippines visited AVRDC
headquarters on 1 October 2014. They
received a briefing about the Center’s
work, then toured the Genebank and
Demonstration Garden to learn about new
crops that may have potential for their
Ms. Lanto Rakotomavo, ex-Vice President of the Senate, and Mr.
Serge Rakotomavo, Chief of the First District of Antananarivo
City, Madagascar, made a stop at headquarters on 8 October 2014
for a briefing and a look at the Demonstration Garden. Their visit
was organized by the China Kin-ma Cultural Exchange and
Economic Association, Taiwan.
Drs. Myungkwon Kim and Minwoo Park from
Hyundai Seed Co., Ltd Korea met with Yoonpyo
Hong, Seconded Scientist from the Korea Rural
Development Administration and Plant Breeder Peter
Hanson on 22 October 2014 to discuss breeding and
other topics of interest.
Twenty-six young leaders from 10 Pacific Island
countries met Director General Dyno Keatinge, Deputy
Director General – Administration & Services Yin-fu
Chang, and Global Theme Leader – Production Jaw-fen
Wang on 23 October 2014 at headquarters. Dr. Keatinge
introduced the Center’s global activities and emphasized
AVRDC’s R & D work in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and
other countries in Oceania. The visit was part of the 2014
Pacific Islands Youth Leadership Training Program
organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan.
(...continued from page 8)
DG Dyno Keatinge briefed a delegation of six
members of Poland’s parliament and one
senator on 28 October 2014. The visitors made a
quick stop at the Demonstration Garden, where
Head of Global Technology Dissemination Greg
Luther explained the value of traditional crops.
The delegation was accompanied by Yeh-hsin
Chu, Secretary, Taipei Economic and Cultural
Office, Warsaw.
Tabith M. Awal, Director, Lal Teer Seed Ltd. Bangladesh,
visited AVRDC headquarters on 3 November 2014 for talks
with DG Dyno Keatinge, Deputy Director General – Research
Jackie Hughes, and Head of Molecular Genetics Roland
Schafleitner. The company recently sent researcher Suma
Mitra to work in AVRDC’s Biotechnology and Molecular
Breeding Group on various aspects of molecular marker
development, DNA extraction, and cucurbit production.
A group of 60 farmers from the
Pushin Farmers’
Association, Changhua,
Taiwan learned about the
Center’s research activities and
facilities on 6 November 2014.
After a briefing from Visitor
Coordinator Shiu-luan Lu, the
visitors were guided through
the Demonstration Garden by
Assistant Specialist Yi-Chin Wu
and the Fertigation
Greenhouses by Principal
Research Assistant Eric Shen.
Protected cultivation of vegetables in central Taiwan
(l): Participants visit the soilless culture and automatic irrigation
system at the Pepper Production Cooperative Ltd., in Puli.
(r): Chan-Rong Lin (circled), Manager of the Golden Triangle
and Fruits Marketing Cooperative Ltd. in Houli introduces
microbag culture and the full planting process.
To foster greater interaction among
scientists at AVRDC and Taiwan
Council of Agriculture-affiliated
research institutes/stations,
AVRDC’s Global Technology
Dissemination group and Chen
-yang Tai (George) from the
Taichung District Agricultural
Research and Extension Station
(DARES) arranged a one-day field
trip to visit tomato and sweet
pepper cultivation under
protected structures in
Taichung and Nantou on 3
September 2014. Participants from
AVRDC, the DARES in Tainan,
Taichung, Miaoli, Taoyuan and
Hualien, as well as staff from the
Taitung Agriculture Research
Institute Seed Improvement and
Propagation Station met area
farmers and local vegetable
researchers to learn more about the
vegetable industry in Taiwan.
First stop: Golden Triangle
Vegetables and Fruits Marketing
Cooperative Ltd. The co-op was
founded in 2004 in Houli
Township, Taichung County, and
primarily produces beefsteak
tomatoes. A team of 36 staff
members work in greenhouses
covering about 4.2 hectares.
on an area of about 3 hectares. The
cooperative uses substrate culture
and a fertigation system to reduce
crop disease, monitor the fertilizer
in the medium, and produce a good
quality pepper. The co-op has
developed an automatic irrigation
system and uses a power-lift
electric car for harvest to reduce
labor costs.
(back row, l to r): Chen-Yang Tai, Research
Fellow and trip organizer from Taichung
District Agricultural Research and Extension
Station (DARES); Willie Chen, AVRDC
Postdoctoral Fellow, Agronomy; Manager
Chan-Rong Lin of Golden Triangle and
Fruits Marketing Co.; Gregory Luther,
AVRDC Technology Dissemination
Specialist; Eric Shen, AVRDC Principal
Research Assistant; Sanjeet Kumar,
AVRDC Scientist - Pepper Breeding; Mr.
Wang; Jeff Chen from Taichung DARES.
(front row, l to r): AVRDC Associate
Specialist Mandy Lin and Training
Coordinator Lydia Wu.
The co-op uses microbag culture
and a drip irrigation system to
precisely control cultivation
conditions to reach the planned
production targets. The bright red
“Sunshine Tomato” variety
produced by the co-op is sweet and
Second stop: Puli Pepper
Production Cooperative Ltd., Puli
Township, Nantou County. The
major crop is sweet pepper, grown
Sweet pepper selection and classification at
Golden Triangle Vegetables and Fruits
Marketing Cooperative Ltd., in Houli District,
Taichung City, Central Taiwan.
Despite restructuring, vegetables still a priority at ACIAR
Keatinge and Regional Director for
South Asia Warwick Easdown
visited the headquarters of the
Australian Council for
International Agricultural
Research (ACIAR) in Canberra on
28 August 2014 to discuss ongoing
collaborative work. ACIAR is one of
AVRDC Director General Dyno Keatinge
and ACIAR CEO Nick Austin both sporting
their AVRDC chili ties.
Governments and their priorities can
quickly change, but the need to
improve diets and vegetable
production is a long-term
development need. A recent change
of government in Australia has
brought significant changes to its aid
and development policy with
implications for AVRDC. There is a
renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific
region, with greater emphasis on
engaging with the private sector for
sustainable economic development
beyond the life of projects.
AVRDC Director General Dyno
Dyno Keatinge addressing senior ACIAR
staff on the importance of vegetables.
AVRDC’s most important partners,
currently supporting projects in the
Pacific, South Asia and Africa.
Dyno gave a talk on the role of
vegetables in achieving the new UN
Sustainable Development Goals to a
group of 20 senior ACIAR staff that
led to a lively discussion on the
practical issues involved in improving
nutrition and economic development
through vegetables.
Meetings were held with ACIAR CEO
Nick Austin and senior portfolio
managers to discuss the progress of
current ACIAR projects, and
potential areas of collaboration
including projects with Association of
International Research and
Development Centers for Agriculture
(AIRCA) partners.
Plans are already well underway for a
new project with AVRDC to support
the development of the global
mungbean industry, and vegetables
are an ongoing development priority
for ACIAR.
Despite major restructuring of
Australia’s aid and development
program ACIAR continues to be a
vital partner for AVRDC, and Dyno
invited new senior staff for a
reciprocal visit to AVRDC
headquarters in Taiwan.
Impact of improved cultivars in East Africa
What is the adoption rate and
economic impact of improved
cultivars of tomato and African
eggplant in East Africa? A study to
answer those questions has begun in
10 countries in the region. Artisans 4
Development, a consultancy company
based in Arusha, Tanzania, is
conducting the study, supervised by
AVRDC's Monitoring and Evaluation
An inception and planning meeting
for the study took place on 24-26
October 2014 at AVRDC Eastern and
Southern Africa in Arusha. Teresa
Sequeros from Artisans 4
Development and Pepijn
a meeting with Teresa, Pepijn and B.
Raghu Ram, Chief Business Officer
of East African Seed Tanzania Ltd.
and his colleagues. This company has
been instrumental in delivering
vegetable seed to smallholder farmers
across Eastern Africa.
Schreinemachers, AVRDC Lead
Specialist - Monitoring & Evaluation
met with several AVRDC staff to
update themselves about the status of
improved tomato and African
eggplant of AVRDC pedigree.
Srinivasulu Rajendran, Postdoc
in Agricultural Economics, facilitated
The study is part of a wider effort by
AVRDC to document and quantify
the impact of its improved cultivars.
Similar studies are about to
commence in South Asia and
Southeast Asia. These studies will
help define results on reach and
adoption of AVRDC material and
should help to articulate clear
pathways to impact.
Directors in Thailand
(l to r): AVRDC East and Southeast Asia
Regional Director Fenton Beed; COA Executive
Yuan Deputy Minister Wen-Deh Chen; AVRDC
Director General Dyno Keatinge and translator.
AVRDC Director General Dyno Keatinge and new East and Southeast
Asia Regional Director Fenton Beed met with AVRDC partners in
Thailand from 30 October to 1 November 2014 to thank them for their
support. Their first call on the 30th: Dr. Poonpipope Kasemsap,
Kasetsart University (KU) Vice President for International Relations, who
has provided strong backing for the Center’s activities in the country and
across the region. Next, Dyno and Fenton spent the afternoon with Henry
MJ Chen, Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office
(TECO) in Bangkok. On the 31st, they traveled to AVRDC’s East and
Southeast Asia Research and Training Station on KU’s Kamphaeng Saen
campus, where they met with Dr. Sombat Chinawong, Vice-President
for KU Kamphaeng Saen; Dr. Sirikul Wasee, Director, KU Tropical
Vegetable Research Center; and Dr. Jingtair Siripanich, Head, KU
Postharvest Technology Center and Committee Member of the Horticulture
Innovation Lab Center for Excellence, to explore new prospects for
collaboration. Then it was back to Bangkok for the 13th Asia-Pacific
Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI)
General Assembly Meeting on 1 November. The two directors also
enjoyed a telecast of a Premier League match (Newcastle United 1 – 0
victory over Liverpool) and did some birdwatching at Bang Poo.
(top, l to r): Sombat Chinawong (c), Vice-President, Kasetsart University
(KU), Kamphaeng Saen; HE Henry MJ CHEN (l), Representative of the
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Bangkok; Poonpipope
Kasemsap (l), KU Vice President for International Relations receive
vegetable baskets from AVRDC Director General Dyno Keatinge and
East and Southeast Asia (ESEA) Regional Director Fenton Beed; the two
football fans receive the Cloth of Champions in recognition of their loyal
(l): Jingtair Siripanich, Head of Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen
Postharvest and his team.
33rd IVTC underway
The 33rd AVRDC International
Vegetable Training Course
(IVTC): From Seed to Harvest and
Beyond commenced on Monday, 15
September 2014 at the Center’s
East and Southeast Asia Research
and Training Station at Kasetsart
University (KU) Kamphaeng Saen
campus, Thailand. Sheila de
Lima, Admin and Training Officer
and Narinder Dhillon, Cucurbit
Breeder and Acting Regional
Director, welcomed 29 participants
from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso,
Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia,
Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nigeria, South
Korea, Sri Lanka, Swaziland,
Taiwan and Tuvalu for Module 1 Vegetables: From Seed to Harvest.
The month-long module focuses on
the essentials of integrated
vegetable production within the
framework of Good Agricultural
Practices (GAP). Participants are
introduced to crop production
methods as well as relevant
Participants tour
the agriculture
technologies on seed production,
seed health, seedling management,
good agricultural practices, soil
nutrient management,
vermicomposting, water
management, germplasm, seed
production systems and community
seed bank management, integrated
pest and disease management, and
experimental design and data
analysis for vegetable research.
The 33rd IVTC is organized in
collaboration with SATNET Asia, a
project funded by the European
Union and the HortCRSP Center of
Innovation at Kasetsart University,
and endorsed by the International
Society of Horticultural Science
(ISHS), particularly its Commission
on Education, Research Training
and Consultancy. Module 2 began
on 13 October; and Module 3 starts
on 10 November 2014.
External Program and Management Review team visits
South Asia
(MOFA) will fund the building of a
second floor for the South Asia
office was greeted with enthusiastic
appreciation by regional staff.
ICRISAT has agreed to facilitate the
construction process.
Welcoming the EPMR team with traditional
Indian garlands: (front row, l to r) Lucy Sun
from National Taiwan University; Doug
Pachico, Chair of the EPMR Panel; Yin-Fu
Chang, AVRDC Deputy Director General,
Administration and Services; Warwick
Easdown, AVRDC South Asia Regional
Director and AVRDC South Asia staff.
The two-week visit of the External
Program and Management Review
(EPMR) team to South Asia
involved 7200 km of travel across
the length and breadth of India,
and produced a few surprises.
Doug Pachico, Chair of the
EPMR Panel and Lucy Sun from
National Taiwan University visited
AVRDC South Asia in Hyderabad,
India accompanied by AVRDC
Deputy Director General,
Administration and Services Yinfu Chang from 10-14 September
Regional staff gave presentations
on the range of activities being
undertaken locally and the EPMR
team spent extensive time
reviewing the research fields. They
also met with International Crops
Research Institute for the SemiArid Tropics (ICRISAT) senior
management and scientists to
review the collaborative
partnership between the two
Dr. Chang’s unexpected, but
welcome announcement that the
Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
From September 14 to 24, Doug
Pachico criss-crossed India with
South Asia Regional Director
Warwick Easdown, Legume
Breeder Ram Nair and
Postharvest Specialist Jun Acedo
to Delhi in the north, Ranchi in the
east and finally to Bangalore in the
south of India for meetings with
dozens of partners. “There is a need
for AVRDC to balance both the
opportunities to enhance national
economic development as well as to
address the livelihood needs of the
poorest,” Doug said.
Ranchi is the capital of Jharkhand,
one of the poorest states in India
and home to a large tribal
population. Doug met with our long
-term NGO partners there and
viewed the production of home
garden seed packs. He then
travelled to the distant hills of West
Bengal to see AVRDC’s work
promoting vegetable production
among tribal communities in
partnership with our NGO partner
PRADAN. There has been a major
expansion of summer tomato
production as a result of AVRDC
Bangalore is the center of the
vegetable seed production industry
in South Asia and there Doug had
extensive discussions with one of
our major commercial seed
industry partners currently
supporting AVRDC work to test
virus resistant tomato lines
AVRDC Legume Breeder Ram Nair (r)
introduces legume pot trials to the EPMR
members along with head of the CGIAR
Legume CRP Noel Ellis (3rd from right).
In Delhi he met with senior staff of
the Indian Council for Agricultural
Research (ICAR) as well as our
CGIAR and Association of
International Research and
Development Centers for
Agriculture (AIRCA) colleagues. In
Ranchi and Bangalore he visited
two of the most important ICAR
horticultural research centers for
extensive discussions with their
staff and to view their work.
Viewing postharvest activities at the
Indian Institute of Horticultural Research,
Bangalore, India.
Although AVRDC’s project work in
South Asia is spread across a wide
area, the EPMR team was able to
see key project work and gain
valuable input from our partners in
the public, NGO and private sectors
to help shape the future strategic
direction of AVRDC.
Ghana gains from postharvest training
Participants in the training-of-trainers workshop held at the No-Till Training Center, Amanchia
Nwabiagya District, Ghana.
AVRDC - The World Vegetable
Center expanded its activities in
Ghana by hosting two training
sessions on appropriate methods
for postharvest handling of
vegetables for agricultural
extension staff and farmers from
the Ashanti and Eastern regions on
27-29 August 2014 and 10-12
September 2014, respectively.
Twenty-five participants (20 men
and 5 women) from Ashanti and 28
participants (24 men and 4 women)
from the Eastern Region engaged in
hands-on learning sessions guided
by Francis Appiah from Kwame
Nkrumah University of Science and
Technology (KNUST), a partner
organization with AVRDC for
postharvest activities in Ghana.
Financial support was provided by
the United States Agency for
International Development
The Ashanti Regional Director of
the Ministry of Food and
Agriculture (MOFA), Kwaku
Minku Fordjour and Eastern
Regional Director of the Ministry of
TROPICS (ICRISAT): (left to right) External
Program and Management Review panel
members Lucy Sun Hwang and Doug Pachico,
ICRISAT Director General William Dar, AVRDC
Deputy Director General Administration &
Services Yin-fu Chang, AVRDC South Asia
Regional Director Warwick Easdown, and CLL
Gowda, ICRISAT Deputy Director General
Research, gathered recently to discuss, among
other matters, the addition of a second floor to
the AVRDC South Asia office, which is located
on the ICRISAT campus in Hyderabad, India.
Funds will be supplied by the Taiwan Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, and the construction will be
coordinated by ICRISAT.
Food and Agriculture (MOFA),
Frederick Gyebi Twum,
welcomed the participants. Dr.
Appiah discussed findings from an
earlier postharvest loss assessment
carried out by AVRDC in Ghana as
well as a lecture on basic principles
of postharvest handling of
vegetables. Vida Ofori and Linda
Dari, who had previously received
postharvest training through
AVRDC, gave lectures on
postharvest tool kits, loss
assessment and quality
management techniques, and
discussed gender considerations for
postharvest activities. Participants
examined postharvest issues in
group activities, and presented
findings from their assignments on
possible problems with poor
packaging, such as tearing and
snagging, bruising, moisture
absorption, and insect invasion and
contamination. These problems are
common with jute sacks, cotton
bags, fertilizer bags, woven baskets,
and wooden boxes. The
participants recommended the use
of plastic crates to prevent
postharvest damage to vegetables.
Batch #2 open for business at VINESA’s Best Practice Hubs
Young farmers from Nduruma Village start their training at Madiira Farm Best Practice Hub.
The VINESA project (“Improving
income and nutrition in Eastern
and Southern Africa by enhancing
vegetable-based farming and food
systems in peri-urban corridors”)
funded by the Australian
International Food Security
Research Centre (AIFSRC) through
the Australian Centre for
International Agricultural Research
(ACIAR) has begun enrolling its
second batch of trainees in
Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and
Tanzania. The trainees were
selected based on interest in
vegetable farming; age between 18
– 35 years; both males and females;
access to land; and willingness to
train other farmers.
In Tanzania, 25 trainees from
Nduruma Village in Arumeru
District, Arusha attended their first
session on establishing seedling
nurseries. The young trainees
evaluated the advantages and
disadvantages of different
approaches to raise vegetable
seedlings—including plastic trays,
which prevent waste of seed,
minimize risks of soil-borne pests
and diseases, and increase seed
germination. The trainees heated
soil and manure in a drum, a
common method used to sterile the
rooting medium.
Many were concerned about the
cost of plastic trays. Without them,
however, farmers typically end up
planting more seeds to compensate
for seedlings lost to pests and
diseases, and the seedlings
themselves tend to be of poor
quality. The benefits provided by
plastic trays far outweigh the cost;
the trays can be re-used for several
seasons and can be shared among
farmers. “Depending on how they
are handled, plastic trays need to be
bought only once every two to four
years”, said Agatha Aloyce,
VINESA’s Country Coordinator in
To produce quality declared
vegetable seeds, farmers must start
with quality seeds and adhere to
strict rules of seed production from
seed regulation agencies. Farmers
expressed concern about poor
quality seed sold by unscrupulous
seed stockists; the seed has poor
germination rates and sometimes
contains off-types. “Farmers should
keep important information such as
receipts showing the date, place
and lot numbers to assist them in
tracing the source as well as for
lodging a claim for compensation,”
said Hassan Mndiga, AVRDC’s
Training and Outreach Officer.
Other challenges reported with
vegetable seeds in Arumeru District
were the high cost of seeds, failure
of farmers and seed companies to
adhere to the terms of reference in
their contracts, low skills in quality
seed production, and lack of seed
extraction and drying facilities.
Policy makers and stakeholders
should work together to address
these challenges if farmers, private
companies and the local
community are to benefit equitably
from quality declared seeds.
Sessions on integrated pest
management and integrated crop
management help ensure trainees
understand the importance of
producing vegetables that are safe
for consumers and the
environment. The young farmers
were encouraged to adopt options
that use fewer chemicals. Mansuet
Tilya, Research Coordinator for
HORTI – Tengeru said that “use of
mitigation measures such as
resistant crop varieties to pests and
diseases, mulches, crop rotation,
manure and cover crops help to
conserve both soil fertility and
moisture and in return gives
reasonable income to farmers.”
Incorrect pesticide type, dosage,
and timing of application cause
(...continued on page 17)
(...continued from page 16)
pests to become resistant to pesticides,
and increase environmental
contamination and production costs.
Farmers need to work together to combat
pests on their farms, said Silvest
Samali, VINESA’s Research and
Training Officer in Tanzania.
Cornel Massawe, Director, HORTITengeru, inspired the young farmers to
work hard to fulfill their dreams, and to
view vegetable production as a viable
employment opportunity. Ruth
Mnzava, Technology Transfer Officer at
HORTI-Tengeru, noted the importance of
improving vegetable value chains by
identifying key players—information
farmers need to build trustworthy and
profitable relationships. John
Macharia, VINESA’s Project Manager,
congratulated trainees for their interest in
learning and encouraged them to use
their time wisely to benefit from the sixmonth training course. “Work as a team,”
said John. “Seek out lasting partnerships
that will help you meet customers’
requirements.” Trainees were reminded
to produce vegetables based on identified
market opportunities, to ensure their
produce could be sold.
VINESA aims to train 500 young farmers
to follow safe and profitable vegetable
production methods in Africa by
(clockwise from top left): Ruth Mnzava conducts a session during the training for the
Hassan Mndiga, Training and Outreach Coordinator, AVRDC Eastern and Southern
Africa, explains the key requirements in producing quality declared seeds.
Agatha Aloyce fields questions from the trainees.
Marketing strategies for traditional vegetables in Africa
The University of Development
Study (UDS) in collaboration with
AVRDC – The World Vegetable
Center organized a stakeholders’
workshop in Tamale, North Ghana
on 17 July 2014 under a project
funded by the West and Central
Africa Council for Agricultural
Research and Development
(CORAF/WECARD) to discuss
strategies for marketing traditional
vegetables. Twenty participants,
including 13 men and 7 women,
attended the workshop.
Vice Dean of the Faculty of
Agriculture, Prof. Albert Kofi
Quainoo, welcomed the
participants and outlined the
workshop objectives. The project
Co-coordinator, Dr. Yakubu
Issaka Balma, gave a brief
presentation on the project, which
seeks to enhance income and
nutrition among the rural poor in
West and Central Africa by
promoting the production and
consumption of traditional
vegetables. Participants were put
into three groups and each group
was asked to identify challenges
confronting the marketing of
traditional vegetables and propose
measures to address the
The groups pinpointed a number of
lack of collective effort hinders
market penetration
inability to store vegetables causes
the harvest to rot before being sold
consumers’ concern about food
safety affects marketing
non-uniform measurements for
units and prices confuse farmers and
the high cost of transport forces
farmers to sell their produce to local
customers and intermediaries at low
prices for fear of their fresh produce
limited markets for producers
low production quantity and poor
traders determine prices of produce
gluts of vegetables in the market
during peak production times
Strengthening the capacity of
farmer and trader groups to
collaborate with district assemblies
to establish vegetable markets was
raised as a solution; this would
enable the farmers and traders to
define standard measurements as
well as prices. Other ways to
address marketing constraints
include creating awareness among
farmers on the use of appropriate
agronomic practices; conducting
research into commercial seed
production and efficient seed
delivery systems for traditional
vegetables; and engaging the
private sector and other partners in
developing seed production,
processing, packaging, and
distribution by seed distribution
agents and community
Participants suggested developing a
comprehensive value chain model
that will serve as a roadmap for
marketing traditional vegetables in
Africa. This calls for a
comprehensive value chain analysis
to ensure a thorough
understanding of the challenges
facing traditional leafy vegetable
farmers and other actors involved
in traditional vegetable production
and marketing.
Suma Mitra, Research Fellow, Lal Teer Seed Ltd, Bangladesh gave a talk on
“Development of Molecular Markers for Hybrid Verification of Different Vegetable Crops”
to AVRDC staff on 14 October 2014. During her internship at AVRDC, Suma worked under
the direction of Roland Schafleitner, Head of Biotechology/Molecular Breeding, to develop
cheap and simple DNA extraction methods for large sample numbers (> 500 samples/
day), and with Cucurbit Researcher Shin-jiun Cherng on the effect of silver thiosulphate on
induction of staminate flowers in gynoecious cucumber.
Wen-Jin Jiang, Visiting Research Scientist from Tainan District Agricultural Research
and Extension Station, Taiwan Council of Agriculture, shared his observations about the
AVRDC Organic Farm in a presentation on 31 October 2014. During his three-month study
visit, he set up net houses for sweet pepper, established a rice-soybean-maize-sweet potato
rotation in the open field, set worms to work in the vermicomposting chamber, and began
the process of organic certification for the farm. Naturally occurring arsenic in the soil and
irrigation water wells challenged Wen-Jin to come up with solutions, including planting
Pteris vittata L. or Chinese brake, a plant that takes up arsenic from the soil.
Mohamed Rakha, Postdoctoral Fellow – Tomato Breeding, joined AVRDC in
October. Dr. Rakha received his PhD in Horticultural Science from Florida University USA
and Kafrelsheikh University, Egypt for his studies on the identification of trichomes, loci
and chemical compounds associated with resistance to the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia
tabaci) in tomato. As a visiting scientist at Florida University he conducted quantitative
trait loci mapping of whitefly resistance derived from accession LA1777, and also
researched the location of the tomato dwarf gene. Mohamed works under the supervision
of AVRDC Tomato Breeder Peter Hanson, and is a welcome addition to the Center’s
breeding team.
Fresh, 6 November 2014
Fresh is published by :
AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center
P.O. Box 42, Shanhua, Tainan 74199
Editor: Maureen Mecozzi
Graphic design: Kathy Chen
Photographic guidance: Amy Chen and
Vanna Liu
Comments, ask a question, add a name to our mailing list: [email protected]
Contributors: Asghar Ali, Mansab Ali, Fenton
Beed, Sheila de Lima, Warwick Easdown, Regine
Kamga, Dyno Keatinge, John Macharia, Ngoni
Nenguwo, Srinivasulu Rajendran, Pepijn
Schreinemachers, Jaw-fen Wang, Jon
Wilkinson, Lydia Wu, Balma Yakubu