Monday, September 4, 2017

IRRI, ADB, stakeholders discuss climate-resilient agricultural practices in Bangladesh

There is a great need to quickly disseminate water-saving technologies to the farmers of Bangladesh, according to Md. Toufiqul Alam, additional secretary of the country's Ministry of Agriculture. 

With that goal, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized an inception meeting for the project, “Piloting of Climate-Resilient Agricultural Practices in Bangladesh” at Feni, 21-22 August. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss new knowledge from the launch of climate-resilient water-saving alternate wetting and drying agricultural practices. 

A work plan to solicit feedback from policymakers, experts, farmers, and other stakeholders associated with the implementation of the Muhuri Irrigation Project was recommended. Participants (photo) included the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), the Department of Agriculture and Extension (DAE), irrigation operators, and farmers. This project is part of ADB’s program on “Investment Assessment and Application of High-Level Technology for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific.”

Prominent agricultural scientists, water management specialists, and agricultural extension professionals from the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) joined IRRI, ADB, DAE, and 32 farmers in deliberations and field visits to project areas. 

I.M. Reazul Hasan, director of the Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP), further highlighted the importance of providing farmers with smart irrigation cards in the IMIP-operated region, which will enable them to use irrigation water efficiently.  

Group activities and an open session were part of the program and participants were given a chance to create a proposal to implement effective and efficient use of ground water in rice farming through the adoption of AWD. They were also asked to include suggestions on how to increase cropping intensity and farmers’ income by bringing suitable third crop cultivation in between two rice crops in the project area.

Md. Abul Basher from ADB noted the social consequences brought about by adopting the AWD technology. He emphasized the need to identify constraints in its implementation and the importance of translating technology guidelines into users’ local language for easier application.

The workshop ended with high hopes of continued cooperation from all participants united by a common goal, which is to improve the livelihood of Bangladeshi farmers.

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