Posts Tagged ‘India’

New reports shed light on maize seed sector functioning and adoption

A farmer who took part in the KIT study in Bihar, India. Photo: Genevieve Audet-Bélanger/KIT.

Maize is a staple food in many developing countries, and ensuring that smallholder farmers have access to and are familiar with the improved maize varieties available to them is critical in improving food security worldwide for farming families and consumers. In order to understand whether smallholder farmers have access to improved maize varieties and how the organization of the seed sector supports this, the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) recently conducted four studies on seed sector functioning and the adoption of improved maize varieties.  

Booming Maize Demand and Industry Opportunity in Asia

A woman in Bangladesh grinds maize to prepare food for her family

A woman in Bangladesh grinds maize to prepare food for her family

Maize agronomists from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan jointly published a study examining the outlook for maize in their respective countries. The study, “Assessment of the Maize Situation, Outlook and Opportunities in Asia,” by Ranjit Kumar, K. Srinivas, M.A. Monayem Miah, Hassnain Shah, Hadijah A. Dahlan and Huanguang Qiu, was published in the extended summaries compilation for the Asia Maize Conference and Expert Consultation: “Maize for Feed, Nutrition and Environmental Security.”

CSISA: Making a Difference in South Asia

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.

This article was originally published on the CIMMYT blog.

A digital “green” platform

digital green africaDigital Green’s idea to film and screen ‘best practice’ videos of farming techniques across villages in India has won over both farmers and the government. To date, the non-profit international development organization has produced over 2,800 videos in more than 20 languages, reaching 3,000 villages and over 330,000 farmers. The organization currently implements projects in eight states in India and in select areas in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania in Africa with over 20 partners.