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Conservation agriculture gaining momentum in Bangladesh

Capacity building and improved technical knowledge of conservation agriculture (CA) are crucial elements of the Cereal System Initiative in South Asia expansion in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD).

As part of CSISA-BD, CIMMYT recently organized an intensive course on CA-Based Crop Management, during 1-2 and 13 October 2011. The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) is a principal partner for CSISA-BD, and the course was developed in collaboration with it’s Farm Machineries and Post-Harvest Processing Engineering Division, and conducted in Gazipur, Bangladesh. Twenty-three participants, including CSISA agricultural development officers from CIMMYT and IRRI, and BARI Engineers, undertook the course.

Course topics included the rationale and principles behind CA-based crop management, the justification for the CA-based hub structure and adaptive research, and key issues associated with CA machinery. The majority of the course consisted of practical, hands-on exercises to calibrate and prepare two-wheeled tractors (2WT) for the direct seeding of maize, wheat, lentil, and rice under strip and zero till conditions. Further discussion and exercises centered on the potential of raised bed planting and crop residue management to conserve soil moisture, ameliorate salinity problems, and decrease production costs in Bangladesh.

In collaboration with BARI, similar intensive, hands-on workshops on CA-based crop and machinery management will be conducted with Bangladeshi farm service providers throughout the country. Thanks to Ken Sayre and Timothy Krupnik (CIMMYT), and M.A. Wohab and Md. Arshadul Haque (BARI) for leading the workshop, with organizational assistance and backstopping from A.K. M. Salah Uddin and Dinabandhu Pandit (CIMMYT).