Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia
Intensive cereal cropping systems that include rice, wheat and/or maize are widespread throughout South Asia. Often, these cropping systems are integrated with livestock or aquaculture. These systems constitute the main economic activity in many rural areas and provide staple food for millions of people. The decrease in the rate of growth of cereal production, for both grain and residue, in South Asia is therefore of great concern. Simultaneously, issues of resource degradation, declining labor availability and climate variability pose steep challenges for achieving the goals of improving food security and rural livelihoods.
The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) was established in 2009 to promote durable change at scale in South Asia’s cereal-based cropping systems. Operating in rural “innovation hubs” in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, CSISA complements regional and national efforts and involves public, civil society and private sector partners in the development and dissemination of improved cropping systems, resource-conserving management technologies, new cereal varieties and hybrids, livestock feeding strategies and feed value chains, aquaculture systems and policies and markets. CSISA supports women farmers by ensuring their access and exposure to modern and improved technological innovations, knowledge and entrepreneurial skills that can help them become informed and recognized decision makers in agriculture.
The project is led by CIMMYT with partners the International Rice Research Institute and the International Food Policy Research Institute and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.