ADB-IRRI eye increased investments for sustainable agriculture technologies

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have recently completed a technical assistance project which aims to help governments identify and prioritize appropriate climate-resilient agricultural technologies and practices for high-impact investment.

Under the ADB technical assistance Investment Assessment and Application of High-Level Technology for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific , IRRI and select national research organizations piloted the “Climate-smart practices and varieties for intensive rice-based systems in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Cambodia” project. The pilot had three major components; a) identification of constraints, policy, institutional support, and logistics needed to scale up climate-smart water-saving mechanized technologies; b) demonstration of climate-smart agricultural practices (CSAs) related to rice-based systems; and (c) development of a database along with evidence of benefits from CSAs using participatory approaches.

“Rice lands are threatened annually by climate-related stresses. This collaboration sets forward a proven climate-responsive framework that is built out of the current realities of smallholders in these climate-vulnerable areas,” said Arvind Kumar, the project’s lead from IRRI, adding that these environmental factors are further aggravated by limited landholdings and farmer knowledge.

Technologies and methods tested included alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and mechanized direct-seeded rice (DSR), the distribution of better rice varieties (high yielding, with short duration and better grain quality), introduction of mechanization for crop establishment and rice harvesting. The intensification and diversification of rice-based cropping systems in target areas where also prioritized for the pilot.

The farmers were also exposed to ICT tools such as Rice Crop Manager (RCM) for agro-advisory and market information, and were given provisions for a crop insurance program.

Jit Kumari Yogi, 57, a farmer-leader and a member of the women-managed local Community Forest User Group in Nepal cited positive returns from the introduction of DSR technology and…