Rajeev Varshney, ICRISAT’s Director, Center of Excellence in Genomics, participated in a brainstorming session organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a small group of external experts to explore ways in which advances in digital technologies might benefit smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
The event was held on 9 July in Seattle, Washington with nine other experts, and was chaired by Bill Gates and attended by his former and present associates (high level businessmen, entrepreneurs, philanthropists) and selected officials from the foundation and the Global Goods LLC. Global Good is an entity created by Bill Gates to hold patents, information and technology resulting from the foundation’s focus areas and collaborative engagements, aimed at solving social, health and economic problems in the developing world and in addressing education issues in the United States.
The brainstorming session included presentations and discussions on five distinct, but interrelated, aspects of digital revolution for agriculture: architecture, genomics, ecological intensification, remote sensing, and information and communication technologies (ICTs).
During the meeting, R Varshney delivered a presentation on “Genomics and Informatics for Digitalization of Crop Breeding” in which he provided an overview of the current status as well as future prospects of crop genomics in global agriculture in the next 3, 10 and 20 years. He highlighted the genomics work being carried out at ICRISAT and the Generation Challenge Programme under his leadership.
The other two genomics experts – Jun Wang, Executive Director, BGI-Shenzhen and Bob Reiter, Vice President- Biotechnology, Monsanto Company shared their vision on sequencing technology and agricultural research in the private sector, respectively.
Source: ICRISAT Happenings