World Bank Regional Integration and Engagement in the South Asia Region (SAR) Director Ms. Cecile Fruman visited Assam on 25 January to get firsthand understanding and appreciation of IRRI’s work on the World Bank-funded Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART).
Fruman along with World Bank consultant for postharvest and value chains Dr. Arvind Jhamb, was welcomed by a team of IRRI senior scientists and officials from the Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS) Society. They observed Mechanical Transplanting of Rice (MTR) on a field in Rangia, under the jurisdiction of Kamrup district.
APART aims to add value and improve the resilience of selected agriculture value chains and is focused on smallholder farmers and agri-entrepreneurs from targeted districts in the state. IRRI’s technical assistance to the project includes introduction of climate-smart technologies such as MTR.
Fruman was pleased to see the community coming together to form a Farmer Producer Company (FPC) and benefiting from the project through stronger market linkages and the introduction of new stress-tolerant rice varieties and farm-based mechanization technologies. She met and visited the field of Mrs. Usha Nath, an exemplary farmer beneficiary under IRRI-APART. Mrs. Nath contributes extensively to the family income by running her own vermicompost unit and establishing different livestock enterprises. She has adopted a fully mechanized way of farming in her field and advocates for others in her community to follow suit. Mrs. Nath demonstrated the operation of a mechanical transplanter in her field and shared its benefits with Fruman and the rest of the team.
Fruman stressed the importance of community-driven development and the involvement of women farmers as key drivers of true progress.
“We honor what the community wants and what the women in the community want us to bring in terms of new innovations and technologies,” Fruman said, adding the need for scaling up of mechanization in the state to further increase the productivity and the profitability of its farmers.
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