Across the 12 districts in Bihar where the CSISA project is being implemented, farmers are switching to low tillage systems and other conservation agriculture management practices that protect the soil, cut water use, and require less labour. As a step towards popularization of latest and advanced machinery in the agriculture sector, CSISA organised a series of demonstrations and training programme on raising of mat-type nursery of paddy to be transplanted by the paddy transplanter, and on direct seeding of rice.
Taslima Begum is a house wife in Kandakul village under Faridpur District. She and her husband, a marginal farmer, work hard for the well-being of their three children. Since income from agriculture is not always sufficient to meet their family requirements, she helps her husband in their field to reduce the workload and the cost of hired labor, in addition to her housewife responsibilities.
Prior to joining with CSISA-BD, Taslima and her husband had never seen a reaper. In 2013, project staff organized a one-day training session in her village on wheat production under strip tillage and bed planting.The training featured a wheat reaper as an example of a profit-increasing technology. After her participation in the training, and obtaining additional knowledge about wheat reapers from a short video, Talisma asked CSISA-BD staff to do a demonstration on wheat reaper harvesting each time they visited her 120 decimal field. This request was realized on March 31st, when CSISA-BD CIMMYT personnel organized a demonstration in her field. She was astounded by the results:
Pashchim Shariakhali is a village under Patuakhali Sadar upazila with almost 2,000 resident farm families where agriculture is the only source of livelihood. Five to six years ago, villages there used to cultivate two to three crops in a year and earn a reasonable income from it. Today, most of the villagers cultivate only during aman season due to salinity problems. In the last boro season, Bihango Mohila Sangstha (BMS), NGO partner of CSISA-BD SRSPDS, organized a training event at Pashchim Shariakhali for production of newly developed salt-tolerant rice varieties: Binadhan-8 and BRRI dhan47.
The Koattakha River runs through the small village of Paspota, in the Jessore district, supporting around 50 households along its banks. The general livelihood activities of men in the village are fishing, agricultural day labor, and small-scale business, while women are mainly housewives and occasionally keep livestock.
U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell visited the experimental site of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), Sabajpura, at ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region (RCER) – Patna, on 13 May, 2013.
Ambassador Powell interacted with scientists from CSISA and ICAR, Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) of State Agriculture Department, women farmers of Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts and service providers from Bhojpur, Begusarai and Buxar districts of Bihar.
Ambassador Powell said that the U.S.-India partnership has been based on the joint commitment to improve agriculture productivity and climate resilience, and increase farm profits. She also commented on how the success of CSISA has set an example of the United States and India working side-by-side, and making a positive difference in people’s lives.
Various resource-conserving farm technologies were demonstrated at the ICAR-RCER Sabajpura farm. These technologies included mechanical transplanting of rice, laser land leveling and direct seeding of rice. Dr. R.K. Malik, Co-ordinator, Eastern UP & Bihar, explained the technologies being demonstrated at the site and its impact in helping farmers improve their productivity.
Earlier, Dr. B.P. Bhatt, Director, ICAR-RCER, and Dr. Andrew McDonald, Country Representative, CSISA, explained the role played by CSISA in developing and extending the best management practices under conservation agriculture in Bihar.
The CSISA project is jointly funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It supports efforts to improve cereal production growth in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Orissa. Such efforts utilize improved cropping systems, better management of natural resources, development of new cereal varieties and hybrids, and increased public and private investments in markets.