CSISA has supported and led the creation of a collaborative “convergence platform” in Bihar, Odisha and eastern Uttar Pradesh, bringing together state agro-development actors, various government departments, cooperatives and private actors. Joining forces in this way better aligned all efforts, reducing overlap and duplication, as well as supporting rapid decision-making and encouraging cross-learning. CSISA and ICAR Agri-Extension have also helped establish state and district-level convergence groups.
State-level Convergence Platform Meetings
CSISA facilitated/participated in three Convergence Platform meetings in the last three months. At these meetings chaired by senior officials, stakeholders presented reports about research and interventions undertaken in the previous cropping seasons and proposed activities for Kharif. Stakeholders also discussed issues and concerns that the relevant departments committed to address. Consensus regarding actions and advisories for Kharif 2023 was also established.
Odisha Convergence Platform Meeting
On 16 June 2023, Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Kolkata convened a “Convergence Platform Odisha Meeting” at the Directorate of Extension Education, Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar. Dr. Arabinda Kumar Padhee, Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment (DAFE), Government of Odisha attended the meeting as the Chief Guest and Prof. Pravat Kumar Roul, Vice Chancellor, OUAT, as the Chairman. Dr. Pradip Dey, Director, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata was the convener. Around sixty participants from various stakeholder groups participated in the meeting, including the CSISA team led by Dr. RK Malik and Dr. Ashok Kumar.
Principal Secretary DAFE, Dr. Padhee, appreciated the concept of Convergence Platform and discussions on data as evidence presented in the meeting. He emphasised the need for more research outcomes that are resilient to extreme and variable weather and climate change, which he said will be helpful for the state.
Prof. Roul expressed appreciation for evidence-based priority setting by developing a consensus with multiple stakeholders through the platform. He advised more collaborations and capacity building through CSISA led surveys like LDS.
Bihar, Review and Planning of Convergence Platform: Rabi 2022 and Kharif 2023
The meeting in Patna, Bihar, was held under the chairmanship of the Director of Agriculture Department, Government of Bihar, Dr. Alok Ranjan Ghosh, and vice chairmanship of ATARI Director Dr. Anjani Kumar Singh. Several senior officials from ATARI, heads of KVKs, Bihar Agriculture University, and CSISA staff led by Dr. R.K Malik attended the meeting.
Dr Malik shared evidence on key insights of technologies that the CSISA-KVK network believe are ready for scaling and also technologies that are helping bridge the yield gaps. He also shared data on technologies that need targeting where the technological gains could be higher based on the kharif season data. Dr Mandhata Singh from KVK Buxar presented the results of the rice nursery enterprise (RNE) demonstrations and other related activities implemented by KVKs in Bihar. Dr Sugandha Munshi shared the convergence platform’s action taken report, including the inclusive agriculture system activities led by the platform.
During the discussions after each presentation, Director Dr. Ghosh enquired about developments related to RNE, seed varieties, JEEViKA’s participation and network and the convergence platforms’ collective strength to take proactive action.
Convergence Platform meeting in Lucknow
On 30 May, Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Kanpur, organised a “Convergence Platform” meeting at the Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow. Dr. Vivek Kumar Singh, Director of Agriculture, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh chaired the meeting; Dr. S.P Singh, Joint Director (Engineering) Department of Agriculture-Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, DDG UP Council of Agricultural Research (UPCAR), Dr. Peter Craufurd, Project leader-CSISA, Dr. RK Malik, and Dr. Ajay Kumar from CSISA, Dr. Panneerselvam from IRRI, and Dr. Sadhana Pandey from ATARI, Kanpur, and representatives from CSISA, KVKs, Bayer Crop Science, and ITC participated in the meeting.
Director Dr. SK Dubey laid out the agenda and highlighted actions from the earlier discussions with the Department of Agriculture ( DOA) and the DG (UPCAR) in April. He also briefed CP members about the purpose and outcome of the CSISA-KVK network, including the landscape diagnostic survey (LDS) and the subsequent formation of Convergence Platforms.
On CSISA’s behalf, Dr. R.K Malik presented evidence on a few critical factors that can help improve rice productivity in central and eastern UP: Time of transplanting for varieties/hybrids of different duration and the distribution of varieties/hybrids across districts.
He suggested that UPCAR may focus on these issues while awarding projects for new research in UP. The third issue Dr. Malik raised was the NPK use rates in UP. In the rice-wheat cropping system, he advised that using P in one crop rather than both crops needs attention through UPCAR.