Posts Tagged ‘CSISA’

CSISA Mechanization Meets Farmers’ Needs in Bihar, India

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Ashwamegh Banerjee

“A huge bottleneck exists in terms of time wasted in harvesting and threshing that is preventing timely sowing of crops,” said Scott Justice, agriculture mechanization specialist, CIMMYT. The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) is working to ensure smallholder farmers have access to machinery based on their specific requirements by improving existing designs to meet local needs.”

For shelling maize, farmers in Bihar can either purchase a very large, efficient machine that costs approximately US $786 or use a cheap handheld sheller that can shell only 15-20 kilograms per hour. According to Justice, “these lightweight, affordable shellers are relatively new on the scene. Their simple design means that they can easily be made by local manufacturers and can also be modified as required.”

Well-positioned for Next Phase, CSISA India Plans for Monsoon Cropping Season

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Ashwamegh Banerjee

As Phase II of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) draws to a close in India, it is well positioned for a Phase III, according to Andrew McDonald, CIMMYT Cropping Systems Agronomist and CSISA Project Leader speaking at the Objective 1 planning and evaluation meeting for the 2015 monsoon cropping season held in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 22-24 April. The meeting was attended by CSISA’s Objective 1 teams from the Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu hubs, comprising diverse disciplinary experts from CIMMYT, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

New Survey Technology Improves Impact Assessment in Bangladesh

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   Dr. Khondoker A. Mottaleb


CIMMYT-Bangladesh is implementing the computer-assisted personal interview software “Surveybe” in its projects, making it easier for researchers to conduct rapid, high-quality impact assessments. Frederick Rossi, CIMMYT agricultural economist, developed and led three Surveybe questionnaires over the past year, in partnership with the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) and the CSISA-Mechanization and Irrigation (CSISA-MI) project. Both initiatives are funded by USAID and working to transform agriculture in Bangladesh by increasing farm productivity through technology development and dissemination, surface water irrigation, efficient agricultural machinery and local services.

Low-cost Mechanization to Benefit Smallholder Farmers in Nepal

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Anuradha Dhar


With a new investment of US $4 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the four-year Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Nepal (CSISA-NP) was launched on 10 April in Kathmandu. Aimed to benefit smallholder farmers, work will join private and public partners to integrate scale-appropriate mechanization technologies with resource conservation and management best practices.

“For a country where 75 percent of the population makes its livelihoods in agriculture, these partnerships are absolutely important,” remarked Beth Dunford, Mission Director, USAID Nepal, at the launch. “Agriculture development, as we know, is one of the surest routes out of poverty.”

Young Researchers Trained to Develop Resilient Farming Systems

Posted by editor on . Posted in Conservation Agriculture

H.S. Jat, P.C. Sharma, Love Kumar Singh

From 27 September to 4 October, scientists from India’s national agricultural research systems attended the “Conservation Agriculture: Developing Resilient Systems” training program at the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) in Karnal, India. Participants learned about crop management technologies based on conservation agriculture (CA) and acquired skills to plan strategic CA research trials.

Farmers operate a seed drill

Participants of the conservation agriculture training program learn how to use a seed drill machine. Photo: Love Kumar Sing/CIMMYT

The training program was organized by CIMMYT’s Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and CSSRI. Eighteen researchers from the Division of Natural Resource Management, International Rice Research Institute and CIMMYT attended the course.

Opening the course, ICAR Assistant Director General (Seeds) Dr. J.S. Chauhan, highlighted the importanc eof CA training for improving the productivity of crops and cropping systems in different agro-ecological regions of India. Conservation agriculture can sustain the livelihood of smallholders while maintaining and improving the quality of the environment and natural resources. CSSRI Director Dr. D.K. Sharma explained that CA has the ability to slow the depletion of underground water, declining soil fertility associated with multiple nutrient deficiencies, pest outbreaks and increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. He also focused on how to design diversified and resilient cropping systems that use resources more efficiently, as an alternative to intensive rice-wheat systems.

Globally, the positive impact of CA-based techniques on natural resources, adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects has been widely acknowledged. In India, strategic research on CA such as precise nutrient application, water, cultivars and weed management has been initiated. However, CA still remains a relatively new concept in the country. Andrew McDonald, CSISA project leader, talked about how continuous cultivation of rice-wheat cropping systems for almost five decades in the Indo-Gangetic Plains has caused the degradation of natural resources such as water and soil, thus affecting climate and biodiversity. He said, “This training program offers a unique opportunity for members of the country’s scientific community who are working in the area of natural resource management to help address the issues of water, labor and energy through the use of advanced crop production technologies.”

The training covered basic principles of CA, included field exercises and modern CA techniques for efficient climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, impact assessment of CA technologies and sustainable management of natural resources to ensure food security, profitability and productivity. Participants were given hands-on training on the use of different technologies including the laser land leveler, turbo seeder, multi-crop planter, limit plot planter, bed planter and mechanical transplanter. They also learned how to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

Attendees also participated in strategic research trials at Kulvehri and Taraori in Karnal. H.S. Sidhu, farm development engineer of the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) and M.L. Jat, CIMMYT Senior cropping system agronomist, talked about the longterm strategic research trial on CA for intensive cereal systems, shared their experiences and outcomes related to BISA research and commented on the development work at Ladhowal, Ludhiana. Jat also spoke about using conservation agriculture and climate-smart agriculture, to achieve food sufficiency by 2050 through input-based management systems in diverse production systems and environments.

CSISA: Making a Difference in South Asia

Posted by editor on . Posted in Asia

Anu Dhar, Cynthia Mathys, Jennifer Johnson

Staff members of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) are developing and implementing projects aimed at improving agricultural production and standards of living for farmers in South Asia, with excellent results. At their “Seed Summit for Enhancing the Seed Supply Chain in Eastern India” meeting in Patna, Bihar on 14-15 May they worked to design solutions to improve the delivery of high-yielding seed varieties in eastern India, a region that has traditionally suffered from lack of access to these varieties and low seed replacement rates. The meeting, which included over 60 seed experts from the government, research and private sectors, focused on topics such as better-targeted subsidies on seeds, improved storage infrastructure and stronger extension systems to increase accessibility and adoption of improved seed varieties.

The roundtable “Sustainable Intensification in South Asia’s Cereal Systems: Investment Strategies for Productivity Growth, Resource Conservation, and Climate Risk Management” was held on 19 May in New Delhi. It brought together 20 firms and entrepreneurs to build collaborative action plans and joint investment strategies under CSISA to identify new product tie-ins, joint ventures, technical collaborations and shared marketing channels in order to bring high-tech farming ideas to India’s risk-prone ecologies.

CSISA IndiaIn India, CSISA seeks to increase crop yields through the provision of more accurate, location-specific fertilizer recommendations to maize and rice farmers with the “Crop Manager” decision-making tool. The web-based and mobile Android application uses information provided by farmers including field location, planting method, seed variety, typical yields and method of harvesting to create a personalized fertilizer application recommendation at critical crop growth stages to increase yield and profit.

CSISA-Nepal has initiated a series of participatory research trials in farmers’ fields, in order to promote maize triple cropping, the practice of planting maize during the spring period after winter crop harvesting, when fields would usually be fallow. The practice, while proven to be highly remunerative, is not widely popular. The trials seek to determine optimum management practices for maize in order to encourage triple cropping and to generate additional income for farmers.

Greater gender equality in agriculture is also an important goal of CSISA, supported through the creation of Kisan Sakhi, a support group to empower women farmers in Bihar, India by “disseminating new climate-resilient and sustainable farming technologies and practices that will reduce women’s drudgery and bridge the gender gap in agriculture.” A CSISA-Bangladesh project has already had a positive impact on the lives of rural women, providing new farming and pond management techniques that have helped them to greatly increase the productivity of their fish ponds and gain new respect within their families and communities.

To learn more about recent CSISA accomplishments please see the August newsletter here.

Smart Tools for Farmers in South Asia to Help Increase Yield

Posted by Katie on . Posted in Asia

By Anuradha Dhar/CIMMYT

In South Asia, 90 percent of smallholder farmers using fertilizer lack access to soil testing services. Due to blanket recommendations, the application of nutrients is not well-matched to the local requirements of the soil and crop. Also, excessive and imbalanced use of chemical fertilizers can result in the deterioration of soil fertility. This is becoming a cause for concern to the Indian agriculture sector. According to a study published in the Journal of the Environment, Development and Sustainability, India is losing soil 30 to 40 times faster than the natural replenishment rate. The solution lies in part in having a precise, site-specific nutrient management approach that will build a sustainable and profitable agriculture sector.

Seed Summit Aims to Improve Delivery of High-Yielding Varieties to Farmers in Eastern India

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia

By Anuradha Dhar

Strategies to make improved seed varieties more appealing and available to India’s farmers were the focus of the Seed Summit for Enhancing the Seed Supply Chain in Eastern India, held 14-15 May in Patna, Bihar. The summit was organized by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development Feed the Future initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

More than 60 seed experts from the government, research institutions and the private sector identified the challenges in the seed value chain and discussed actionable solutions that will improve the delivery of improved wheat and rice varieties to farmers in eastern India.

Improving Food Security: Women Start Collective Maize Farming in Tribal India

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia, Maize, Technology

By Anuradha Dhar/CIMMYT

Women farmers in the tribal villages of Odisha, eastern India, are increasing their yields through the use of hybrid seed varieties, new technologies and better agriculture practices with training and support from the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project and the Odisha agricultural department.


Badbil Rengalsahi is a remote, tribal village in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha with high poverty and low literacy rates. The village is home to 40 tribal families who mostly farm for a living. They usually grow local varieties of maize in home gardens for household consumption and sell the little surplus as green cobs in the local market. Yields are often low because farmers use unimproved varieties and traditional sowing methods and lack information about good agronomic practices, especially weed and nutrient management. Maize cake is a common breakfast and snack for children in the area, and low maize production often means they receive less food.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) edits and publishes an internet periodical in blog format entitled “CIMMYT.” The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center is domiciled at Km. 45 Carretera México-Veracruz, Col, el Batán, Texcoco, Estado de México, México, C.P. 56237; phone + 52 (55) 5804-2004; Responsible Editor: Genevieve Renard. Reserved Right for Exclusive Use granted by the Mexican Copyright Office (valid in Mexico) no. 04-2013-091212312700-203. Responsible for updating this blog: Katelyn Roett, Km. 45 Carretera México -Veracruz, El Batán, Texcoco, Estado de México. C. P. 56150, México. Weekly update. © CIMMYT 2014.

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