Friday, February 10, 2023

Learning Visit to IRRI in India by Delegates from Bangladesh: A Step towards Exploring Future Collaborations

17-23 January 2023 - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) recently organized a week-long learning visit for a four-member delegation from the Government of Bangladesh, to gain and exchange knowledge around a number of important initiatives that the food sector in Bangladesh needs to further improve their rice system. The visit was hosted at IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC), Varanasi.

The delegates represent the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture led by Dr. Muhammad Emdadul Haque, Director of Planning for Project Implementation and ICT Wing. He was accompanied by Dr. Rahana Sultana, Mr. Sotten Kumar, Mr. Rakibuzzaman Khan.

During the visit, participants learned about seed system innovations, breeding and varietal development, advancing and scaling climate-smart agronomy, advances in GIS and remote sensing, direct seeded rice techniques, IRRI Education initiatives, regenerative agricultural practices, and observation of various lab instruments and facilities at ISARC.

There were also interactions with various IRRI collaborators in India including the National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) in Cuttack, Odisha State Seeds and Organic Products Certification Agency OSSOPCA in Bhubaneswar, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS) Society in Assam, and the World Bank.  The delegation also spoke to different stakeholders involved in the rice value chain during the field interactions.

While in Odisha, participants visited farmlands growing varieties like Binadhan11, which was originally developed and registered in Bangladesh. Learning about IRRI’s initiative - Seeds without Borders and its catalyzing role in making promising varieties available to farmers across the borders, they were very appreciative of the onground impact.  They had a similar experience in Assam, when they saw several technological interventions like seed systems, mechanization, better bet agronomy, remote sensing, value chain, etc. integrated with rice farming delivering numerous benefits to the farmers.

Throughout the week-long exposure and learning tour, there were many discussions that happened between the IRRI team and the delegates from Bangladesh with the goal of exploring possible future collaborations between the two organizations with the aim of building more robust food systems. 

“There are many new rice technologies and innovations, like IRRI’s seed system innovations, speed breeding, precision agronomy, and policy-level initiatives like Seeds without Borders  that can significantly help farmers in Bangladesh”, said Dr Haque.

Dr Swati Nayak, South Asia lead for seed system and product management unit at IRRI coordinated the visit across multiple locations to provide practical exposure on the various technological delivery/ transfer models underway. ISARC Director, Dr. Sudhanshu Singh during the detailed interaction, extended all possible support by way of technical collaborations to the neighbouring country and its stakeholders through IRRI South Asia Regional Centre, Varanasi.


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