15 February 2023, ISARC, Varanasi - As a part of the ongoing collaboration between IRRI and Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) under the Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) Initiative of Government of Bihar, a three day capacity development training program centered around rice production practices was conducted at the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC), Varanasi from 9th-11th February 2023.
The overarching idea behind this training program was to upskill farmers’ knowledge on climate change, develop climate-resilient agri-practices, enhance farm productivity, and farm profits without jeopardizing the natural systems.
A total of 40 farmers underwent the Capacity Development Training Program. Through this program, important aspects of rice production were covered in detail, starting from crop calender and farm planning, to selection of right rice varieties, quality seed production to soil-nutrient management, water management, weed and pest management, all in the context of Bihar.
Along with in-class sessions, the farmers also had hands-on-training and were demonstrated the usage of different farm machineries. The trainees were particularly intrigued seeing drone employment for farm Operations. Another highlight of the training was the work in the domain of Rice value-addition; production of value-added products from different varieties of rice. With the aim of enhancing farm income & fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship, a dedicated session on business models was also conducted for the farmers.
The three day program provided a platform for meaningful exchange of thoughts between the farmers, scientists, and subject matter experts on crucial farm issues. Farmers’ on field concerns were also addressed by session experts along with their gleaning insights from their field experiences.
Addressing the trainees, Joanna Kane-Potaka, Deputy Director General for Strategy, Engagement, and Impact, urged the farmer trainees to adopt the training of the trainer (ToT) approach in order to pass on the learnings to fellow farmers back home. Furthermore, she underlined the need to encourage more women to participate. Dr. Jongsoo Shin, Regional Representative for Asia, IRRI, hopes capacity development interventions of this nature will build in-country capacity to an extent where these trainees will be able to impart learning to farmers from cross-border countries as well.
The program was designed & implemented by IRRI Education, the capacity development, knowledge dissemination unit of ISARC. The center has been playing a pivotal role in bolstering the rice based agri-food systems by developing the capacities of the ecosystem stakeholders through education and knowledge dissemination activities. The unit regularly collaborates with institutes seeking interventions in the areas of capacity development on climate resilient practices, climate change mitigation, climate adaption & sustainable agri-practices.
ISARC, in its strategic location at Varanasi, is in close vicinity to institutes like Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR). With IRRI Scientists onboard, these customized programs provide the best opportunity to impart knowledge in a participatory manner. The collaboration with Bihar Agricultural University is one of a wide array of programs that are under this initiative.
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