Thursday, October 26, 2017

IRRI, BRRI discuss policies on adopting farm mechanization and AWD technology in Bangladesh

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) are jointly spearheading the adoption of climate-smart technologies for agriculture in Bangladesh through the project, “Climate-smart practices and varieties for intensive rice-based systems in Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh is prone to various natural disasters, such as severe flooding and pest onslaught, that cause significant damage to rice-based systems. The project’s aim is to test, validate, and outscale technologies and practices, such as the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation method, diversified rice-based cropping systems, and new rice varieties, to cope with the adverse effects of climate change in the country.

To discuss strategies to help improve the lives and livelihoods of the rice farmers, a policy dialogue meeting on the constraints to the large-scale adoption of farm mechanization and AWD technology and the required policy measures in Eastern Bangladesh was held at the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) last 19 October 2017.

This project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, is implemented at the Muhuri Irrigation Project area in Feni District, Bangladesh.  It also seeks to address limitations in technology and identify required policy measures for scaling the climate-smart agricultural technologies.

High-level officials and delegates from the academe, government, and private agencies were present during the event. Among them are policymakers, academicians, researchers, agricultural scientists, development workers, private sector representatives, and farmers.

Dr. Shahjahan Kabir, Director General of BRRI, led the meeting, and Dr. Md. Abdur Rouf, Joint Secretary for Policy Planning of the Ministry of Agriculture, was the chief guest.

The participants also outlined the next steps in promoting rice transplanting and harvesting machines, and AWD methods in eastern Bangladesh. Dr. Arvind Kumar, IRRI Senior Scientist, and Dr. Abul Basher, ADB’s representative, gave keynote presentations that provided an array of information about the new technologies.

Attendees expressed their appreciation for the event as it gave them a platform to discuss critical issues in Bangladesh’s rice industry. To ensure continuity of the project’s success, stakeholders may expect similar policy dialogues in the future.

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