CSISA in Bangladesh

The third phase of CSISA runs from 2015-2020, and is implemented by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Food Policy Research Institute and International Rice Research Institute, with the backing of a wide range of public and private sector partners in Bangladesh. The project builds on previous efforts convened by CSISA in Bangladesh (Phase I and II activities, the CSISA expansion project in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD), and the Rice Value Chain Project). In its third phase, CSISA provides a strategic overarching framework that guides and supports inter-related projects, while maintaining a focus on scaling-out innovative crop management practices and technologies to smallholder farmers.

CSISA locations in Banglades (click to enlarge)

CSISA locations in Bangladesh (click to enlarge)

In Bangladesh, CSISA Phase III now focuses on applied research on the following topics:

  1. Directly sown rice to address labor and energy constraints to precision rice establishment
  2. Agronomic and variety recommendations to reduce the threat of wheat blast
  3. Increasing the capacity of NARES to conduct participatory science and technology evaluations
  4. Rice-fallows development in coastal Bangladesh
  5. Deployment of better-bet agronomic messaging through private sector partners and dealer networks
  6. Managing risk by coping with climate extremes: Early wheat for combating heat stress

Key achievements include:  

  • With support from CSISA, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) was able to fast-track the release of the breeding line BAW 1260 in late 2017 as ‘BARI Gom 33’. BARI Gom 33 is derived from a CIMMYT cross and is resistant to wheat blast. It is also bio-fortified high Zn content (50-55 ppm) in comparison to other wheat varieties (averaging 40 ppm). BARI Gom 33 can therefore address critical zinc deficiency concerns for pregnant women and children in Bangladesh, as well as mitigate wheat blast risks.
  • Farmers in the Feed the Future Zone of Bangladesh tried out labor- and energy-saving directly sown rice on a large-scale for the first time. CSISA’s partnership with the Department of Agricultural Extension resulted in 200 hectares of directly sown rice being sown by farm machinery service providers in four districts. Farmers who directly sowed rice averaged profits over $100 per hectare more than with transplanted rice.
  • In addition to the release of BARI Gom 33, CSISA continued to support wheat blast surveillance and monitoring efforts in Bangladesh, and printed and distributed 0.3 million wheat blast awareness raising leaflets that reached farmers in disease affected zones across the country. These leaflets were based on agronomic strategies that can be employed by farmers to mitigate the wheat blast as identified by research conducted with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute.
  • Responding to CSISA’s mass media and awareness raising campaigns, farmers established rice on 60,000 hectares using healthier rice seedlings grown with simple but improved agronomic management practices. An additional 28,000 hectares resulted from CSISA’s strategic training of trainers in the Department of Agricultural Extension, who went on to popularize healthy rice seedling techniques among farmers.
  • CIMMYT led efforts to improve the production of pulses in the Feed the Future Zone in Bangladesh. By distributing guidelines on better-bet management of mungbean to development partners, the DAE, and the private sector, 3,592 farmers (37% women) on 611 hectares have begun using BARI recommended management practices.
  • 14,202 farmers scored dividends averaging $40 per hectare more than for conventional rice varieties by growing fine-grain and aromatic ‘premium quality rice’ varieties on 3,902 hectares in the Feed the Future zone. These farmers achieved higher profits by using CSISA’s advice on how to most efficiently cultivate premium quality rice, as well as through project efforts to assure farmers could sell rice at profits to mills with high demand and fair pricing structures. This was achieved by setting up 25 collection points for mills to directly source rice from farmers throughout the Feed the Future zone.
  • CSISA is the only research and development project in Bangladesh actively encouraging farmers to sow their wheat earlier in the calendar year, thereby avoiding risk of crop yield reducing heat stress. Based on this work, and partnerships with DAE, crop monitoring statistics showed that wheat sowing advanced by 10 days on 10%, 9% and 6% of all wheat area in Dinajpur, Jessore, and Faridpur hubs, respectively, in comparison to the previous year. Triangulating these data with farmers in a series of 30 focus group discussions to reliably estimates CSISA contribution to this achievement, sowing was advanced on a total of 4,576 hectares by nearly 14,000 farmers.
  • Responding to demand for training in the use of geographic information services (GIS) and spatial analysis from national research partners and students within Bangladesh, CSISA released a book entitled ‘Introduction to basic GIS and spatial analysis using QGIS: Applications in Bangladesh’ provides a set of learning modules introducing young scientists and researchers to GIS and spatial analysis using the open-source QGIS platform, and complementary R, SAGA and GRASS Platforms.


CSISA Mechanization and Irrigation  (CSISA-MI)

CSISA-MI is a five-year scaling project led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in partnership with iDE and funded by the USAID Mission in Bangladesh under the Feed the Future Initiative. CSISA-MI works to transform agriculture in southern Bangladesh by unlocking the potential productivity of the region’s farmers through surface water irrigation, efficient agricultural machinery and local service provision. The project emerged from the CSISA Phase II and CSISA-BD projects, and remains thematically and strategically aligned with CSISA Phase III, with programming activities jointly decided between these initiatives.

In developing local agricultural service providers through economic and technical training, the project has transformed the agricultural mechanization value chain and scaled out agricultural machinery services to individual farmers at a lower cost but with improved yields. It has introduced the axial flow pump (AFP) for water conveyance, power tiller operated multi-crop seeders (PTOS) for mechanized land preparation and seeding and reapers for mechanized harvesting.

Intervention Location: 16 districts & 49 upazillas in 3 rural hubs in southern Bangladesh

Service Providers Developed: 2,727 service providers with 2,978 machines (AFP 1,000, PTOS 1,385, and reapers 593)

Land Covered: About 92,000 hectares (AFP 30,984 ha, PTOS 51,887 ha, Reaper 8,973 ha)

Farmers Reached: More than 191,000 (AFP 38,045, PTOS 132,370, Reaper 21,027)

Training Provided:  40,000 farmers, service providers, mechanics, dealers, civil society and Government of Bangladesh officials.

Public Sector Engaged: Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation.


Investment by Private Sector

CSISA-MI is working to commercialize and catalyze broad availability of agricultural machines for service providers in the Feed the Future zone through partnerships with machinery manufacturers and importers, such as Advanced Chemical Industries, Rangpur Foundry Limited Group, The Metal (Pvt.) Ltd., Chittagong Builders and Janata Engineering. These companies and their service provider clients have invested their own funds to purchase, import, distribute, and market the equipment and the use of machinery services. This has assured available machinery, much of which was imported from abroad, for farmers in the Feed the Future zone. Consequently, US$ 2.3 million has been added to the value of the project.

Other achievements

  • Transforming of farmers into service providers as a new business, some of whom have also become machinery dealers
  • Developed manufacturers, engineering works, local repair workshops and mechanics
  • Raised mechanization awareness along the entire value chain, developed machinery learning villages
  • Established spare parts hubs, transformed spare parts shops into machinery dealers

Connecting Service Providers with Micro Finance Institutes

CSISA-MI established linkage between the service providers and micro finance institutes to ensure credit support. During year four of the project, 91 service providers received US$ 54,825 in credit to buy agricultural machinery. The majority of the credit went to reaper service providers (40), a significant portion of credit was taken by 38 PTOS service providers and a small proportion was used by the 12 AFP service providers. Eight national and local micro finance institutes (ASA, BDS, GJUS, JCF, PBSS, SDC, TMSS and Wave Foundation) provided financial services to the service providers.

Research for Impact


An improved prototype of AFP was developed in collaboration with local manufacturers, who have also been trained on fabrication, installation, and its efficient operation. A pump test bed was installed at BARI. A booklet was published in Bengali for the service providers to guide the proper installation and safe operation of AFPs. This and related research on surface water irrigation in Bangladesh has been published in an international peer-reviewed journal.


CSISA-MI has improved precision of maize seed meters, developed an operators’ calibration key to replace the tedious calibration process, simplified dog clutch design, modified seed metering in brush-type PTOS, developed improved rotary blades to allow strip-till seeding in moist clay soils and implemented numerous minor improvements based on the service providers’ needs. The project has introduced a direct drill maize seeder and fertilizer to increase efficiencies and also developed press wheels for wet soils for 4-wheeled tractor operated zero-till seeder. A “Tillage-and-Seeding Laboratory” has been established at BARI, which allows round the year advanced testing of farm machinery.


The 100 cm and 120 cm wide attachable reapers were modified for jute harvesting, especially for wet conditions. Developed sulky wheels to improve ergonomics of the self-propelled reaper operators during road transportation and field operation. Produced and distributed a simple language booklet to service providers on operation, repair and maintenance of reapers.

Bangladesh News

  • New Infographics Illustrate Impact of Wheat Blast

    Wheat blast is a fast-acting and devastating fungal disease that threatens food safety and security in the Americas and South Asia. First officially identified in Brazil in 1984, the disease is widespread in South American wheat fields, affecting as much as 3 million hectares in the early 1990s. In 2016, it crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and Bangladesh suffered a severe outbreak. Bangladesh released a blast-resistant wheat variety—developed with breeding lines from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)—in 2017, but the country and region remain extremely vulnerable. The ...

  • Seeing is Believing: Videos Increase Uptake of New Technologies

    Discussions on the video show of yield enhancing practices such as healthy rice seedling production and early wheat sowing throughout southern Bangladesh(Photo: M. Shahidul Haque Khan, CIMMYT) The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), in collaboration with the Bangladeshi NGO Agricultural Advisory Society (AAS), recently conducted video showings of yield-enhancing practices such as healthy rice seedling production and early wheat sowing throughout southern Bangladesh. Early wheat sowing and healthy rice seedlings are both key sustainable intensification practices in Bangladesh as early sowing helps wheat avoid terminal heat, which decreases yield, and the use of healthy seedlings ...

  • Wheat blast in Bangladesh: CSISA–BARI collaborative research

    CSISA is collaborating with the Wheat Research Centre (WRC) of the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) to develop a model for identifying wheat blast resistant varieties and approaches to mitigate the disease. In 2017, a blast resistant, zinc-enriched variety, BARI Gom 33, was released. This variety was validated in last year’s blast-affected farmers’ fields, and field days were organized to demonstrate its resistance to farmers, government organizations, NGOs and private sector companies. Most field day participants ...

  • Farmers apply healthy rice seedling practices long after development interventions

    To promote awareness about raising healthy rice seedlings, CSISA developed a dynamic solution – it introduced seedbed technology, an innovative technique for raising seedlings. Rice farmers in Bangladesh have long employed traditional methods to grow transplanted rice. They often use inferior quality seed and high seed rates that negatively affect the quality of seedlings. These seeds are susceptible to disease and contribute to lower yields. To reduce the yield gap, CSISA began raising awareness about healthy seedlings by promoting the use of seedbed technology. Seedbed technology has considerable advantages. It facilitates ...

  • Overcoming gender gaps in rural mechanization

    The custom hiring of labor- and cost-saving agricultural machinery services is increasingly common in South Asia. With agricultural machinery, gender gaps exist not only in the use of these technologies, but in farmers’ ability to rent and hire them. To explore
gender dynamics in emerging markets for
agricultural machinery service-provision in 
 Bangladesh, the Gender, Climate Change, and Nutrition Integration Initiative (led by IFPRI), CSISA and CSISA-MI partnered to conduct qualitative research in Faridpur and Jhenaidah districts in October–December 2017. The team interviewed husband and wife machine service providers, men and women who ...

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