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Cereal systems initiative speeds growth of mechanized technologies in India, report shows

January 3, 2016
Learn more about CSISA's impacts in India by downloading the report here. Photo: CIMMYT

CSISA contributes to increased adoption of climate-resilient practices. Photo: CIMMYT

NEW DELHI, India (CIMMYT) — Major impacts of CIMMYT’s Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) include success in increasing access to and affordability of modern farming technologies and practices for smallholder farmers across India, according to a new report.

The initiative, which began in 2012, resulted in positive impacts and has built a robust service economy to improve access to new technologies for smallholder farmers, said Andrew McDonald, CSISA project leader.

“India has a large number of smallholders, especially in eastern states where the average landholding size is decreasing and machine ownership by farmers is often not economically viable,” McDonald said. “Unless we build a robust service economy to facilitate uptake of new technologies, they would be beyond the reach of most smallholders.”

CSISA has developed a network of nearly 2,000 service providers in eastern India over the past three years to accelerate the expansion of sustainable intensification technologies, resulting in improved yields of up to 20 percent and increased farmer incomes through cost savings of $100 per hectare, the publication reports.

The report also details CSISA’s contribution to increased adoption of climate-resilient practices such as early planting of wheat and the use of zero-tillage seed drills, which help farmers overcome labor shortages during rice cultivation through mechanical rice planting.

“CSISA has built a compelling body of evidence for the importance of early planting to combat the negative effects of rising temperatures,” McDonald said.

“As a result, public perception and official recommendations have changed, and more than 600,000 farmers are now planting wheat earlier in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.”

Additionally, CSISA helped popularize hybrid maize, which has increased yields and improved food security.

“Enhancing the productivity of the rice-wheat cropping systems in South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic Plains is essential for ensuring food security for more than 20 percent of the world’s population,” said McDonald. “CSISA, in close collaboration with national wheat programs, has released new wheat varieties with higher yield potential, which perform well even in stress-prone areas.”

These results were achieved during CSISA’s second phase, from 2012 to 2015, through collaborative work with national research and extension systems, research institutes, state governments, non-governmental organizations, private companies and farmers,.

Read the report:

interactive web page , magazine format, pdf


Led by CIMMYT, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) aims to sustainably improve cereal productivity, food security and increase farmers’ income in South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic Plains, home to the region’s most important grain baskets. www.csisa.org

For more information, contact:

Anuradha Dhar

Communications Specialist

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)