Researchers’ forum on multi-dimensional crop improvement and the role of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) held

The Agricultural and Nutritional Research Laboratories Directorate of EIAR in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) held a seminar entitled “Opportunities from multi-dimensional crop improvement and the supporting role of near-infrared spectroscopy networks” on 9 November 2016 at the EIAR headquarters. The status and market of crop residue fodder, the quality of crop residue fodder and its impact on livestock productivity, and laboratory infrastructure for improvement of crop to fodder traits were among the points presented by the seminar presenter Dr. Michael Blummel, Feed and Forages Research Team Leader from (ILRI).

Dr. Adugna Wakjira, Deputy Director General of EIAR, said in the seminar that such evidence-based scientific forums are vital to reinforce maximization of limited resources in food and feed, and that the activities started should be strengthened and results be put into practice.

Dr. Blummel also indicated that crop residues have a key role in livestock feed supply, and that high-quality fodder that well balanced in nutrient composition and variation has a significant impact on diet quality, intake and productivity of livestock. While, the market value for concentrated high quality fodder becomes high. 

He presented that, in Ethiopia, there is a livestock nutritional variation in all cereal and legume crops and, therefore, cultivar release criteria should target genetic enhancement towards dual and multi-purpose traits of crops in order to grasp the multiple benefits of crops. He said that the tools, stationary and mobile near-infrared spectroscope (NIRS), are the machines required for phenotyping crop residue fodder quality, mainstreaming of multi-dimensional crop improvement activities and reduction of problems in qualitative trait prediction of crop research and breeding endeavors. 

The seminar brought together researchers from research directorates of EIAR, representative of the Director General of ILRI to Ethiopia, program leaders, and the CGIAR researchers.