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CGIAR: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Nourishing the Future through Scientific Excellence

Innovation is rewarded at 2005 World Bank Development Marketplace

Fighting a voracious pest that attacks pigeonpea plants, naturally, a radio soap opera that persuades farmers to use fewer pesticides, and improving incomes by selling ornamental fish. These three innovative ideas were among 31 others chosen as winners of the 2005 World Bank Development Marketplace, receiving over US$430,000 in prize money. The Development Marketplace is a competitive grant program that identifies and directly supports innovative, bottom-up development ideas that deliver results. The program draws together a variety of individuals and institutions (NGO's, government agencies, donor agencies, academic institutions, and private sector companies) to work in partnerships to fight poverty.

The winning projects demonstrate how CGIAR scientists and their partners are creating and delivering environmentally-friendly solutions to benefit poor communities worldwide.

The Winning Projects

Traditional Technology with a Modern Twist- Indian farmers spend over US$500 million each year on insecticides to combat Helicoverpa armigera pest which attacks nearly 200 crops including beans, cereals, and fruits in India. The Center for World Solidarity (CWS), in partnership with the ICRISAT, national scientists, and local communities is providing farmers in India with cheaper and more eco-friendly pest management alternatives. The project will train an initial 300 farmers to introduce nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV), a viral disease that causes heavy mortality in pod borers without harming other organisms. NPV can be produced for 1/3 the cost of pesticides and creates additional income-generating opportunities for farmers. "We anticipate farmers will save an average of US$17/ha. Our plan to create village-level production units through participatory training will ensure the project's long-term sustainability", said Ranga Rao Gangavalli, ICRISAT plant pathologist while describing the project.

Environment Radio Soap Opera for Rural Vietnam- Thousands of rice farmers in Vietnam use excessive amounts of fertilizer, pesticide and water that contribute to environmental pollution and degradation. Vietnam's Broadcasting Authority, in partnership with the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and IRRI plans to reach approximately 10 million rural households with messages to promote environmental sustainability in the region through soap operas. "Biophysical scientists work closely with creative writers to come up with the script for each episode. The soap opera is broadcast twice a week at a prime listening time for rural families", said Monina Escalada, rice researcher at IRRI and project leader. Farmers will receive on the ground complementary training on the new, ecologically-friendly technologies.

Sustainable Use of African Rainforest Rivers- Overfishing and forest destruction is causing increasing poverty in the Lower Guinea Rainforest Rivers of southern Cameroon. In an effort to provide alternative sources of income the Cameroon National Agriculture Research Institute and the Organization for Environment and Sustainable Development, in partnership with the WorldFish Center are working to develop community-based business models to raise and sell ornamental fish through a multi-stage capacity building program. "In pioneering this initiative, we recognize communities are searching for new ways to improve their living standards by developing competitive products they can sell on the global market", said Randall Brummett, a fisheries' scientist at WorldFish leading the project.

This was a record year for the Development Marketplace: over 2,600 applications were received from 136 countries, and 78 finalists were chosen by a jury of 34 specialists. Finalists participated in a two-day competition to showcase their ideas, held on May 24th and 25th at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"Innovations for Livelihoods in a Sustainable Environment," was the theme chosen for this year. Proposals were assessed using the following criteria: Environmental Sustainability; Innovation; Realism and Results; Organizational and Financial Sustainability, and Replicability.

Project Booths at the Development Marketplace

A Development Marketplace visitor places his vote for the People's Choice Award by the booth of the "Environment Radio Soap Opera for Rural Vietnam" project.

Dr. GV Ranga Rao of ICRISAT showing his booth for the project, "Traditional Technology with a Modern Twist", to visitors

Project Booths at the Development Marketplace

Project Booths at the Development Marketplace

Dr. Monina Escalada of IRRI showing her booth for the project, "Environment Radio Soap Opera for Rural Vietnam", to Dr. Manuel Lantin of CGIAR Secretariat and colleagues.

Dr. Monina Escalada of IRRI receiving the project award from World Bank President James Wolfensohn

Dr. GV Ranga Rao of ICRISAT receiving the project award from World Bank President James Wolfensohn

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