Small Machines, Big Yield

Posted on News - Homepage, News & Announcements, May 7, 2014

The US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena recently visited Laharhat Char of Tungibaria union in southern Bangladesh to see CSISA-MI activities. He highlighted that small machines are beneficial to increase yield and reduce production cost for the marginal farmers in chars.

Farmers of Tungibaria union in Barisal Sadar Upazila are cultivating wheat using the Power Tiller Operated Seeder (PTOS) machine and Axial Flow Pump (AFP), a new practice that is four times more profitable than their traditional practice of cultivating low-yielding crops such as peas and lentils. PTOS allows farmers to prepare the land, sow seed and spread fertilizer simultaneously, boosting planting precision and saving labor costs. AFP is an inexpensive ‘off-the-shelf’ surface water irrigation technology that reduces fuel consumption for surface water pumping — and thus irrigation costs — by up to 50 percent.US Amb Wheat field

Local farmers shared their experiences with the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena during his visit to Laharhat Char (inner-island) of Tungibaria union on 28 February. “For the past three years, farmers have switched to growing wheat because higher yields can be obtained and the market price for wheat grain is better than lentil,” said Darbesh Farazi, one of the farmers.

Commenced in Bangladesh in 2013, under President Obama’s Feed the Future (FtF) Initiative, CSISA-MI is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in partnerships with iDE. The project seeks to transform agriculture in southern Bangladesh by unlocking the potential productivity of the region’s farmers during the dry season, while conserving that land’s ability to produce quality crops in the long-term, through surface water irrigation, efficient agricultural machinery and local service provision.

At Laharhat Char, Ambassador Mozena came across the distinct visual difference between mechanized and conventional practices of farmers of the area. The Ambassador learned about the need for using scientific machinery and precise fertilizer application practices in wheat cultivation and the extra profit that can result from innovative technologies. Used in tandem, small machines like the PTOS and AFP can help ensure the optimum use of fertilizers, reduce costs and lead to higher yields, a huge benefit for the marginal farmers of southern Bangladesh’s chars, the Ambassador said.

“In the first year, only two farmers cultivated wheat in the char. Other farmers were impressed with the higher yield and formed a 13-member group to expand the cultivation coverage”, said farmer Rahim Khan. Laharhat Char, still uninhabited, was formed from a sand bar in the main river about 30 years ago. Farmers initially seeded wheat in this land by broadcasting with little knowledge of the right fertilizer rates to use. He shared that using the PTOS to till and seed, timely application of AFP to irrigate the cultivated land, exercising recommended amount of fertilizer resulted in increased yield and reduced production cost. “This season, comparing to lentil, we expect to have a net profit of US $258 per hectare from wheat production,” said Rahim.

Kamal Mallik, another local farmer told Mozena, “Earlier, lentil production was around 600 kilograms per 0.40 hectare, but now it seems that wheat production will be around 1,000 kilograms from the same parcel of land; and the net profit is expected to be US $77.25”.

Other farmers were so impressed with the crop growth and reduction in planting costs that they hired the LSP to plant additional fields. From this year they have moved to sow wheat in lines by a PTOS operated by a local service provider, using the appropriate fertilizer rates and applying fertilizer using an AFP.

During the visit, the Ambassador also stopped at an agricultural fair where CSISA-MI was promoting agricultural machinery. There he met local service providers, machinery dealers, local agriculture department staff, agricultural scientists and CSISA-MI staff. At this event, Mamun Chowdhury, a service provider for PTOS in Laharhat Char, shared that he bought the PTOS for its multiple, simultaneous functions and high levels of precision. “This season, using the seeder, I have provided services to around 55 farmers and have earned around 50% more than the previous season when my service tool was the traditional power tiller,” said Chowdhury adding that he is aiming to extend his business by sowing wheat and irrigating adjacent chars that have been fallow in previous years.

CSISA-MI has partnered with large private sector companies, like RFL-Pran and ACI, to leverage its outcomes in the field. RFL and ACI collectively invested over $600,000 of their own funds to scale up access to agricultural machinery. Over 2,500 hectares of land in southern Bangladesh are now under the new machineries, in less than six months since the project began.

To reduce purchase risk and facilitate future adoption of the technologies, CSISA-MI introduced a cost discount model, a joint venture agreement in collaboration with the companies’ dealers. It offers vouchers to the LSPs, which makes the PTOS and AFP financially attractive.

“This is only the first year of marketing the AFP; we expect that next year the pump’s demand will double. The seeder will need three to five years to take over the market. People don’t know or understand much about the seeder as there was no such machine earlier, more seeder demonstrations will help increase its demand.” said Syed Md. Asraf, Director of Machinery Stores, one of the AFP dealers of RFL-Pran in Barsal.

Adoption of New Agricultural Technologies: Evidence from Field Experiments in Rural India

Posted on India-news, News - Homepage, News & Announcements, May 7, 2014

Agricultural development is largely dependent upon technological innovations that increase or enhance agricultural productivity. Despite the heralded benefits of many new agricultural technologies, their widespread adoption is often slow.

Slow uptake of new technologies may be due to supply-side constraints; large, fixed costs; or difficulties in learning about their relative benefits. IMG_3943The lack of key information about a technology’s benefits may be especially relevant for technologies such as abiotic stress-tolerant cultivars, which may not show benefits under all degrees of stress.

Adoption can be constrained by the uncertainty that arises due to both risk and ambiguity. Some factors that influence adoption decisions may not be directly visible, such as farmer preferences regarding uncertainty. Farmers in developing countries face a wide range of uncertainty, not the least of which arises from climate variability, including droughts. Droughts represent one of the most pressing constraints to rice production in rainfed environments.

Risks and Ambiguity

Risk arises because, while almost all new agricultural technologies tout increases in mean productivity, many perform optimally only under certain conditions, such as with precise additions of complementary inputs. Deviations from these conditions may result in reduced yield benefits vis-´a-vis the traditional technology and increased variance. Many farmers may dislike these risks and prefer more traditional technologies with less variable outcomes.

Ambiguity, on the other hand, arises because new technologies are unknown and unproven in the minds of prospective adopters, who generally do not know the yield distribution of the new technology. While this ambiguity makes it difficult for farmers to formulate profit expectations, farmers may also have apprehensions due to insufficient information, which may influence behavior and decision-making.

In a recent IFPRI Discussion Paper, selected as Best Paper from among 86 competing presentations at the recently held 4th International Conference on Applied Econometrics in March 2014 in Hyderabad, CSISA researchers Patrick Ward and Vartika Singh measure and analyze various behavioral parameters related to decision-making under uncertainty collected through field experiments in rural India. The experimental design allows for the identification of several different behavioral parameters, including risk, ambiguity and loss aversion and individuals’ tendency to weigh disproportionately the probability of rare events when making decisions.

Researchers conducted a series of five experiments, each comprising a set of choices between two options with different real payouts. Specifically, they observed that risk aversion alone does not sufficiently describe individuals’ behavior, but individuals have a tendency to weigh outcomes differently and demonstrate aversion to potential losses.

Disaggregating by gender, the research found that women are both significantly more risk averse and loss averse than men.

Farmers Willing to Adopt the New, Risk-reducing Variety

When they studied preferences for drought tolerant (DT) rice, the researchers observed that farmers’ risk and loss aversion interact with their perceptions about the potential risks and losses associated with the new seeds.

Unlike other new agricultural technologies, which may increase expected yields at the expense of increased variability, DT rice actually reduces overall yield variability and provides protection against downside risks, at least up to a certain level of drought stress. Both risk aversion and loss aversion significantly increase the probability that farmers will choose the newer DT variety seeds over their status quo seed (the seed they cultivated in the previous Kharif) since the additional value given by DT paddy is more compared to other paddy.

Therefore, the role of risk and ambiguity preferences seems straightforward when it comes to a technology like DT rice, since the technology provides benefits specifically targeted to farmers addressing climate-related risks and potential losses. However, considerable scope remains to explore the role of risk and ambiguity preferences on other agricultural technologies or farm management practices, especially ones in which the benefits are less visible in the physical product.

Efficient and Cost-effective Pumps Boost Irrigation in Bangladesh

Posted on Bangladesh-news, News & Announcements, April 14, 2014

More fields in Barisal region in southern Bangladesh are now being irrigated faster and more efficiently, as Local Service Providers (LSPs) have started using CSISA-MI’s Axial Flow Pumps (AFPs) for irrigation. The AFP, researched and promoted by the USAID-funded CSISA-MI project, part of President Obama’s Feed the Future (FtF) Campaign, is marketed and sold in local communities by agricultural retailer RFL. CSISA-MI promotes and supports sales of the irrigators to help increase dry season production in southern Bangladesh. Over the past six months since the project started, 46 AFPs have been purchased in the Barisal region, 35 of which are already deployed irrigating dry season crops. Attachable to a common two-wheeled tractor, the AFPs are easy to use and deploy. They have already irrigated 3.5 hectares of land owned by a total of 1,825 farmers in the target region. RFL aims to sell 165 of the machines by the end of March and irrigate at least 10.5 hectares of land. Participating LSPs report that a low-lift pump, currently the most common irrigation machine in Barisal, can irrigate about 16 hectares of land in one dry season; the AFP, however, can cover at least 24 hectares. LSPs’ revenues are increasing, with some earning more than 15 percent over the last year. Not only are the AFPs more efficient, they are more cost effective. LSPs estimate they can irrigate 0.40 hectares of land in 90 minutes with 1.5 liters of fuel and one laborer. In contrast, the low lift pumps take two hours and two liters of fuel to irrigate the same area. AFPs conserve at least $1.30 per day.

Local Ingenuity Multiplies Intervention

Posted on Bangladesh-news, News - Homepage, News & Announcements, April 10, 2014

Like many other farmers of Bangladesh, forty-year-old Ashim Halder of Batiaghata Upazila in Khulna is also skilled in carpentry, Ashim Halderearning extra money on the side by offering carpentry services to neighbors. This ability turned out for Ashim to be the key to innovate a wooden seed plate for the Bed Planter. Besides maize and wheat, the machine now also works for Sunflower seed plantation.

The Bed Planter is a new piece of technology introduced by USAID’s CSISA-MI project. The machine, marketed by agricultural retailer ACI, allows Local Service Providers (LSPs) like Halder to add seed to the farms as they plow – drastically increasing the rate at which land is prepared and the value of their services.

“I wanted to plant Sunflower with this machine, but it had no plate for Sunflower seed. They (CSISA-MI) said it’ll take two weeks to research on this. But by that time, plantation time would be over. So, I thought to try… within hours and after few trial and errors, I made the plate,” says Halder, describing how his innovation improved the Bed Planter and saved him from waiting till next Sunflower season.

Halder purchased the machine under the voucher scheme of CSISA-MI. “It cost 10,000 taka (US $128.62)… though the actual price is 40,000 taka (US $514.47). For this, I have to cultivate at least 8.1 hectares of land by this season (April). I already cultivated around 6.5 hectares. Once I fulfill the condition, I plan to cultivate another 2.0 hectares this season.”

Last season, at least 10 laborers were needed to cultivate and plant seed for a 0.1 hectares plot. This season, Halder has not only saved this cost, but his fuel and seed costs are actually half. Female members of his family are also relieved from a large work load. “Before (in plantation) at least 10 laborers used to work for a week. The women had to cook and serve meals three times a day for the laborers. In comparison, they are quite relaxed now,” says one of the female neighbors of Halder.

CSISA-MI’s innovation, combined with Halder’s hard work and ingenuity, are already improving lives of farmers and LSPs as labor scarcity is high in the rural as well as not affordable for smallholder farmers. It also contributing to increase production during dry season in the region.

Innovative Farm Machines Transform Agriculture in Bangladesh

Posted on News & Announcements, February 23, 2014

CSISA MI pic 3Agricultural mechanization in South Asia is helping conserve natural resources, improve productivity and increase profits, but many small-scale farmers have yet to benefit from emerging sustainable farming technologies and machinery. Factors such as the high cost of machines and farmers’ lack of access to finance make the machinery unaffordable for resource-poor farmers. However, Bangladesh leads by example and has been a hotbed of innovation, particularly with the 2WTs that are more appropriate for small-scale farmers than the four-wheel variety. Bangladesh has a strong agricultural tradition – nearly two-thirds of its population works in agriculture. It has achieved near self-sufficiency in rice production and has rapidly developed its agricultural sector over the past 20 years, despite being ranked 146th on the global human development index and having roughly half the per capita income of India. Bangladesh’s agriculture sector contributes 19 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. This is the bright side. The other side, however, is that farmers’ land-holdings are very small – an average farming household owns just 0.2 hectares or less – and Bangladesh is home to intensive cropping rotations. Every square centimeter of arable land is used 1.8 times a year, putting intense pressure on natural resources and making the system unsustainable in the long term. Farmers have to continually adapt to challenges including climate change, rising temperatures and increasing fuel prices to sustain productivity. As a result, many farmers are using innovative agricultural machinery to improve the precision and speed of planting and harvesting operations while reducing fuel, irrigation water and labor requirements. With the introduction of cheap, easy-to-operate and easy-to-maintain 2WTs, agriculture in Bangladesh has become highly mechanized during the last decade. Nearly 80 percent of farmers use 2WTs because they are versatile and can be fitted to a variety of innovative auxiliary equipment for planting, threshing and irrigation. A new CIMMYT book, Made in Bangladesh: Scale-appropriate machinery for agricultural resource conservation, highlights the innovative machinery that can be used with two-wheel tractors (2WT) for sustainable farming and gives detailed technical designs to help standardize production quality, making the machines more accessible to farmers. The information in the book is meant to have real-world impacts. Each chapter has scaled technical designs of the machinery, developed with computer-aided drafting to allow manufacturers in Bangladesh and beyond to reproduce and make improvements on the machines. The chapters focus on zero tillage, strip tillage seed and fertilizer drills, bed planters, axial flow irrigation pumps, strip tillage blades, improved furrow openers and seed metering mechanisms. “Many of the machines in the book are inspiring innovations,” said Timothy Krupnik, CIMMYT cropping systems agronomist and one of the book’s authors. “Bangladesh is often seen in a negative light – most international media focuses on its political tragedies, grinding poverty and pressing environmental concerns. But, if you live in Bangladesh, you can see beyond this because you get inspired every day by the creative ways that many of the world’s poorest people come up with creative solutions to the problems they face. All of the machines in the book were either designed and made in Bangladesh, or borrowed from other machines in South and Southeast Asia and then were manufactured in Bangladesh.” The book’s technical designs can be easily replicated by machinery manufacturers, scientists or farmers. “The drawings were developed in a reverse engineering process, where I measured the machines manually and immediately sketched them on paper by hand,” said co-author Santiago Santos Valle. “Once back in the office, I produced the computer-aided drawings using the hand-made sketches.” A learning module on technical drawing interpretation and instructions on how to use the drawings have also been included. Santos Valle added, “While developing the book and working on the drawings, we did a training workshop with local manufacturers and machinery researchers from partnering institutions in Bangladesh to familiarize them with the drawings. The learnings and feedback from the workshop helped to develop and improve the learning module and the instructions included in the book.” Standardization and Affordability There is a great need for small-scale farmers to adopt new machinery in order to overcome rural labor shortages in Bangladesh, which become more severe each year. “Wheat and maize yields decline between 1 and 1.5 percent per day when planted late, so you can imagine the effect if you use the machines to reduce tillage,” Krupnik explained. “Applying seed and fertilizer in one go can save seven to eight days that farmers would have otherwise spent plowing and preparing the land.” One of the most significant problems confronting mechanization in South Asia is design standardization. “Bangladesh has been a ‘hot bed’ of innovation, particularly for the two-wheel tractor,” said Andrew McDonald, CIMMYT cropping systems agronomist and co-author. “But much of this innovation has not reached farmers at scale because commercialization has been impeded by the lack of standardization. Essentially, most workshops create a unique machine every time a new piece is fabricated, which drives up costs to both manufacture and repair the machinery. Quality control is also an issue.” He emphasized that CIMMYT is playing a catalytic role to ensure high-quality machinery is available at a reasonable cost in Bangladesh. The organization is helping formalize the design elements of innovative machinery and working with workshops and industrial houses to implement these designs. In the USAID-Bangladesh Mission funded project, Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia – Mechanization and Irrigation (CSISA-MI), CIMMYT partners with the NGO International Development Enterprises (iDE) to develop and execute business models to encourage companies and agricultural manufacturers to produce and distribute the machines through commercial mechanisms. In turn, agricultural service providers are linked to finance entities and farmers to purchase machines and to assure demand in the field. These efforts are boosted by technical backing from CIMMYT scientists who assure that land is planted with reduced tillage implements or irrigated with energy efficient pumps. As a result, the adoption of these machines has significantly increased in the last few months – the machinery is now being used on over 2,000 hectares of new land in southern Bangladesh alone – more than a four-fold increase compared to the year before. The machines included in the book have wide applicability and use outside of Bangladesh, and can be used in many smallholder farming contexts in Asia and Africa. “We want the work done in Bangladesh to inspire agricultural machinery manufacturers to reproduce and improve machines in other countries,” Krupnik said. “For this reason the book is free and available through open access and can be downloaded, printed and shared with others as widely as possible.” The PDF version of the book is available online and can be downloaded from the CIMMYT repository.  

Short season rice varieties allow third crop cultivation in Faridpur, Bangladesh

Posted on News & Announcements, January 2, 2014

Rice is the dominant food crop of Bangladesh. In Faridpur region, growing Aman Mustard crop in FaridpurRice followed by Boro Rice is a popular cropping pattern. The time between Aman rice harvest in December and Boro Rice transplanting in February is not sufficient to grow a crop and therefore the land remains unused for two months. Replacing traditional Aman rice varieties with varieties which mature 30 days earlier without significant yield loss would allow farmers to grow a short season crop such as oil seed mustard between the Aman and Boro rice crops. Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) has been working in Faridpur region from its inception to introduce oil seed mustard. Farmers were initially reluctant to adopt this crop as they feared cultivating a third crop would delay the transplanting of the Boro rice. Therefore, to popularize this third crop, CSISA-BD conducted field demonstrations in 34 farmers’ field at Faridpur Sadar and NagarkandaUpazilas showcasing Aman-Mustard-Boro cropping patterns compared with an Aman-Boro cropping pattern. In the demonstration plots, short duration mustard verities Tori-7, BARI Sarisha 14 and BARI Sarisha 15 were grown after new short duration Aman rice varieties such as BBRI Dhan49 and Bina Dhan7. To save time the mustard was sown onto the wet paddy soils just before the harvest of the aman rice crop. By the time the aman crop was harvested, the mustard seed had germinated and the crop was established. Using conventional tillage systems would have required delaying sowing the mustard seed after the harvest of the rice crop and after the rice fields had dried out sufficiently to allow power tillers to till the land. The two or three passes of the power tiller required to achieve a fine enough tilth for mustard seed sowing would have further delayed planting. By using this relay system at least 20 days are saved which is vital if the mustard crop is to be harvested before the optimal time for Boro rice transplanting. Since it is not necessary to hire power tillers to prepare the land for mustard seed sowing and the system takes advantage of residual moisture from the rice crop to induce mustard seed germination, this eliminates most land preparation and irrigation costs. The yield and production costs from the demonstration plots were carefully collected by the Faridpur team and showed that farmers earned an extra $316 / ha from the plots growing the best yielding mustard, BARI Sarisha 14. This variety produced 0.94 t/ha grain in 80 days. The demonstrations showed farmers that by planting early maturing, high yielding aman rice varieties it was possible to grow a dry season cash earner such as oil seed mustard without delaying boro rice transplanting and as a result many farmers are now adopting this cropping system.

Supporting policy change: Bihar promotes early wheat sowing and zero tillage technology

Posted on News & Announcements, Uncategorized, December 19, 2013

CSISA’s efforts to promote early wheat sowing and zero tillage technology get full support from the Bihar Department of Agriculture. After three years of extensive work, CSISA has demonstrated that early wheat sowing – between November 1 and 15 – increases yields, primarily due to the crop’s ability to avoid terminal heat (35°C) during the grain-filling stage. This is a critical intervention in light of the changing climate of the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains. CSISA has also shown that a zero-till seed drill can facilitate early sowing by sowing the crop faster and with less labor. Largely due to CSISA’s policy advocacy around these two issues, the Bihar Department of Agriculture promoted early wheat sowing and zero till technology in its 2013 advisory to farmers, reversing earlier guidance that wheat only be sown in the last two weeks of November, or even in early December. In preparation for the 2013 Rabi cropping season, CSISA, the Bihar Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Technology Management Agency launched a campaign to promote early sowing, zero tillage and to discuss best management practices for wheat. Workshops were held in Darbhanga, Begusarai, Vaishali, Lakhisarai, Samastipur and Muzaffarpur during 26 October to 2 November, 2Bihar advisory on early wheat planting013. CSISA conducted lectures, shared case studies, showed relevant videos, and engaged in discussions with State Department officers and field functionaries at the grassroots level to encourage farmers to advance their wheat sowing at least by 10 days compared to last year, since most farmers would have sown their wheat in late November or early December. The State Agriculture Officers also directed their Block Agriculture Officers, agriculture coordinators, and Krishi Salhakars (farm advisors at the Panchayat level) to ensure maximum area under early wheat sowing, preferably under zero-tillage. The CSISA hub team developed extension materials (factsheets) on the advantages of ‘early sowing of wheat’ and ‘management of Phalaris minor in wheat’ with the help of BAMETI, the extension and training wing of the Bihar Department of Agriculture. These factsheets are being distributed to thousands of field level extension staff.

Improving food security: Women start collective maize farming in tribal Odisha

Posted on News & Announcements, December 19, 2013

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 CSISA project and the Odisha agricultural department. Johar Jaher Ayo SHGBadbil 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. However, this situation could soon improve thanks to women self-help groups (SHGs) like Johar Jaher Ayo. It started when a team from CSISA and state agricultural officers met with 11 women from the Johar SHG, who learned about new technologies and improved varieties. “Members were initially hesitant about growing maize with these new methods, but after learning about the benefits they decided to grow a collective test plot of maize on one hectare of fallow land,” said CSISA agricultural specialist Nabakishore Parida. The farmers bought hybrid maize seed and fertilizer using their collected savings “corpus fund” from the Large Sized Multipurpose Cooperative Society (LAMP) of the government of Odisha and plowed the field with tractors instead of the traditional wood plow. CSISA team members provided the seed-cumfertilizer multi-crop planter with an inclined plate seed metering system. The planter — commonly called a “seed drill”— helps achieve optimum plant populations and higher fertilizer efficiency by seeding in lines at a precise depth and spacing and placing fertilizer below the seeds. “The women farmers usually don’t get the right information at the right time,” Parida said. “CSISA trained them on better agronomy practices such as nutrient management and timely weed control.”Children enjoying Maize cake in badbil The women farmers are delighted with the results; their production has almost doubled this year compared to the previous year. “The work burden of these women has been reduced with the use of the seed drill,” said Kuni Murmu, president of Johar SHG.“Since women mostly do the sowing and fertilizer application with country plows, it used to take up a lot of our time.” In addition to harvesting a ton of green maize for use by their families and relatives, they have earned net profits of US $240 by selling surplus green maize and maize grain, and were even able to share green ears with neighbors. Concerned about more than financial profits, the women farmers were pleased that they could provide nutritious food for their children during the “lean” food season from August to October, when grain stores from the previous cropping season have been used up. Three women SHGs in Matiagarh village of Mayurbhanj have successfully adopted collective maize cultivation with support from CSISA. They took a fallow and bushy four-hectare plot on lease from the village landlord and used a seed-cumfertilizer multi-crop planter provided by CSISA to line sow. Site-specific nutrient management trials were also established to raise local awareness regarding the nutrient status of the soils and the benefits of balanced fertilization. “Line sowing with a seed drill has reduced our sowing cost and we could cover more area in short period,” said Babirani Sethi from Swarnalaxmi SHG. With good harvests this year, the Swarnlaxmi, Dhabaleswari and Mangala SHGs have earned respective profits of US $167 from 0.4 hectares (ha) of maize, US $242 for 0.8 ha and US $400 from 1 ha.

Farmers in western Nepal excited about new spring maize varieties by CSISA-Nepal

Posted on Nepal-news, News - Homepage, News & Announcements, September 19, 2013

In Terai, farmers were initially skeptical about growing maize in the dry spring period, with one farmer’s wife berating him for sowing maize on land she thought they should grow a fodder crop on. By about two months after planting, she was delightedly admitting being wrong, and showing visitors their maize field, with both the farmer’s variety and a hybrid, both under farmer management and recommended nutrient and establishment practices. All hybrids tested yielded at least 2 t/ha more than the farmer’s open pollinated variety (OPV), Arun-2 — which also yielded over 1 t/ha more with improved management than under typical farmer management.

Arun-2 (L) and hybrid (R) at Kanchanpur site in the far-west

Arun-2 (L) and hybrid (R) at Kanchanpur site in the far-west

Yields of the Rajkumar hybrid that farmers voiced early preference for were often doubled, at over 10 t/ha with just 3 irrigations. Hybrid yields under farmer management were comparable to or better than OPV yields under best practices, leading several farmers to state that they wanted to expand spring maize area next year and plant the Rajkumar hybrid by line-sowing as introduced by CSISA-NP rather than the traditional practice of broadcasting: they said that although initial time for line-sowing might be high, applying irrigation and weeding were cheaper and easier in the line-sown plots. Feed industry representatives invited to visit the plots were also pleased with the hybrid maize, and told farmers that they could guarantee the purchase of these farmers’ hybrid maize at the same rates as they currently pay Indian producers if they could increase production, as currently purchase over 200 t of maize annually from India at NPR 24/kg to meet demand. Following the discussion with feed company representatives, CSISA-NP participating farmers in the far-western Terai project sites were able to negotiate higher prices (about NPR 4-5 per kg) from the (non-feed company) buyers of their maize.
Typical farmer spring maize in far-west: water-stressed, and poorly managed

Typical farmer spring maize in far-west: water-stressed, and poorly managed

Contributed by: M. Devare

Helping farmers in implementing DSR technology

Posted on CSISA Success Story, India-news, News & Announcements, September 16, 2013

Sekhpura is a small village in the Fatua block of Patna District in Bihar. Farmers of this village have been practicing traditional methods of paddy cultivation. During the transplanting peak season, many farmers faced acute labor shortages for various farm operations, leaving them with little option but to delay the transplanting of paddy seedlings. This year CSISA has been active in training farmers to introduce dry direct-seeding of rice (DSR) using zero-tillage machines, to help solve the problem of labor scarcity. Rajiv Ranjan Singh has cultivated 3 acres of land under DSR. Expressing satisfaction on the progress of his crop, he said,”We saw the demonstration of this technology in nearby village and were inspired to adopt this method. The success of my crop will surely inspire others to follow.” Fatua and Punpun block was selected as it has a vast low-land area, which is suitable for DSR. The CSISA team worked closely with many farmers of the region to help them follow the appropriate technologies, which are pre-requisites for the success of DSR. This includes: time of seeding, weed management, and irrigation-water management. Training and consultation were conducted in Fatua which involved correct seeding method using seed-drill and spray techniques of herbicide by the CSISA team. Effective ways of water management for paddy cultivation were also explained, in the wake of low rainfall registered in the region. CSISA agricultural officer Anurag Ajay said, “Following the success of DSR in Baisa of Punpun during last year, many farmers were eager to adopt this technology. Training has helped us create awareness leading to adoption of this technology.”

Mr. Rajiv Ranjan Singh of Sekhpura from Fatua village in his DSR field

Mr. Rajiv Ranjan Singh of Sekhpura from Fatua village in his DSR field

Besides addressing labor scarcity issues, DSR can help reduce the amount of water needed for paddy, more so at a time when there has been scant rainfall in the region.

Continued support for mechanical transplanting of rice in Bihar

Posted on CSISA Success Story, India-news, News - Homepage, News & Announcements, September 16, 2013

Ranjit Singh, who cultivates paddy and maize on 22 acres of farmland with his brother, Neeraj Singh, said that although they had not yet quantified in detail the benefits of mechanical transplanting of rice, in general their observations indicated savings in labor and irrigation costs, and resulted in higher yields than traditional methods of paddy cultivation. Having started the operation in 2012, this year the acreage under mechanized transplanting in the village has increased substantially.

Newly transplanted rice seedlings: a mechanical transplanter in operation

In Rampur village, Tribhuvan Singh is also convinced that mechanical transplanting has helped them address challenges associated with farm labour in the region. The other advantage of this technology has been that it allowed him to transplant seedlings immediately after irrigating the field in an unpuddled condition, thus saving irrigation cost. “The practice of transplanting in unpuddled conditions has been helpful in saving water and maintaining of soil structure. The yield has been exceptionally good, which reinforced my belief in the technology. Other farmers are also convinced of this technology and were enthusiastic about opting for it,” Tribhuvan said.

The technology dissemination for mechanical transplanting of paddy is supported by CSISA team in Bihar which included raising of mat-type nursery, field preparation for transplanting in unpuddled conditions, and weed management.

According to scientific studies, around 10-20% of the total water required for rice culture, dedicated to puddling and transplanting, can be saved by unpuddled transplanting using self-propelled mechanical rice transplanters. Farmers benefit due to:

    • Efficient use of resources by saving on labour (20 man-days ha-1), cost savings (Rs 1500 ha-1), and water savings up to 10%
    • Timely transplanting of seedlings of optimal age (20 days)
    • Uniform spacing and optimum plant density  (30 -35 hills/m2 with 2-3 seedlings per hill)
    • Higher productivity (0.5 to 0.7 t ha-1) compared with traditional methods
    • Less transplanting shock, early vigour of seedling, better tillering,  and uniform maturity of crop that facilitate timely harvest and reduce harvest losses
    • Less incidence of ‘Bakanae’ disease due to less root injury
    • Improving soil health through eliminating puddling
    • Employment generation and the creation of alternate sources of income for rural youth through custom services on nursery raising and mechanical transplanting.

 

 

 

Partnering Indian farmers for environment-friendly and cost-efficient technology

Posted on CSISA Bulletin – Issue 1, India-news, News & Announcements, September 11, 2013

Compared to the more widely used method where seeds are first germinated in a nursery and then the rice seedlings are manually transplanted to the fields, dry direct-seeded rice (DSR) involves sowing seeds directly in the fields with the help of a machine called a Multi Crop Planter. This technique has been popular in some developed countries of the world, including the U.S., but is new for farmers in India.

Dr. Kamboj with farmers in Haryana

Farmers practicing DSR technology with CSISA scientist

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of India has been promoting this technique through its two flagship schemes, the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY).

U.S. Ambassador to India visit CSISA Research Platform in Bihar

Posted on India-news, News & Announcements, May 13, 2013

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.Dr. R.K. Malik explaining machine transplanting technology to Nancy J. Powell

 
Dr. R.K. Malik explaining machine transplanting technology to Nancy J. Powell

Copyright © 2017 CIMMYT

CSISA Website

Disclaimer

While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this website and its contents, CIMMYT and its implementing partner organizations for CSISA – IFPRI and IRRI – assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. All information and features described herein are subject to change without notice. This website may contain links to third-party websites. CIMMYT is not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. This website is providing these links only as a convenience, and the inclusion of a link does not imply endorsement by CIMMYT of the linked sites or their content.

Terms of Use

Copyright © 2017 International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
CIMMYT holds the copyright to all CSISA publications and web pages but encourages use of these materials for non-commercial purposes, unless specifically stated otherwise. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is hereby granted without fee and without a formal request provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and full citation on the first page. For copyrights not owned by CIMMYT, express permission must be pursued with the owner of the information. To republish or redistribute for commercial purposes, prior permission is required.