Monday, March 14, 2016

Indian Agrifair presents rice farmers with latest technologies for boosting productivity

BIHAR, India—Stress-tolerant rice varieties, high-quality seed production, and postharvest techniques were showcased at a farmers’ fair attended by thousands of farmers, scientists, and extension workers from the different districts of Bihar.

The kisan mela (farmers’ fair), organized by the Bihar Agricultural University (BAU), highlighted the achievements of the university and honored innovative farmers of the state. This year’s theme was Soil Health Management and Sustainable Agriculture.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) had an exhibit booth at the fair to promote the technologies developed by the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project and the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA).

The STRASA team introduced newly released drought-tolerant rice varieties (DRR 42, DRR 44, and Bina Dhan 11) to farmers and extension workers. The team also explored the possibility of partnerships with other stakeholders, especially in the speedy dissemination of stress-tolerant rice varieties into the state's stress-prone areas.

Also on display were technologies and products developed by the Improved Rice-based Rainfed Agricultural Systems project such as the manual transplanter, the community mat nursery, and performance charts of stress-tolerant rice varieties.

The Crop Manager for Rice-based Systems (CMRS), a recently developed technology customized for the Bihar region, was also demonstrated. CMRS aims to increase farmers' net income and sustain the productivity of rice-based cropping systems. As part of the demonstration, hundreds of fertilizer recommendations were generated with a detailed discussion with the concerned farmers.

Additionally, various information materials on the management of stress-tolerant varieties, seed production, and postharvest techniques were distributed to participating extension workers and farmers.

The IRRI booth, one of the most popular exhibits, won second place for Best Booth. The IRRI team included Dr. Amit Mishra, Mr. Mayank Sharma, Mr. Sarvesh Shukla, and Mr. Bhanu Pratap Bhadauria, all based in India.

The kisan mela, held at BAU, 4-7 March, was inaugurated by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

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