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Feed the Future delegation visits CIMMYT-Bangladesh

Bangladesh25The CIMMYT team in Bangladesh hosted a highprofile field visit on September 1, 2012, for a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) delegation consisting of Paul Weisenfeld (USAID Assistant to the Administrator for Global Food Security), Deniese Rollins (Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the USAID Asia Bureau), and Richard Green (USAID Bangladesh Mission Director). The purpose of the visit was to rapidly assess the activities of Feed the Future, an initiative supported by the US government, across Southern Bangladesh.

The delegation visited Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) project activity locations and other USAID partners. During the visit to CSISA-BD (a collaboration between CIMMYT, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and World Fish Center), cropping system agronomists Timothy J. Krupnik and Abdul Momin led a presentation jointly developed with Andrew McDonald on CIMMYT’s priority activities in scale-appropriate mechanization to achieve sustainable intensification of cereal-based farming systems. The USAID team appreciated CIMMYT’s emphasis on expanding surface water irrigation to eliminate unproductive fallows in Southern Bangladesh using axial flow pump technology. Additional discussion ensued on improving rainwater productivity using strip-tillage and conservation agriculture; bed-planting to save irrigation costs and mitigate soil arsenic contamination; CIMMYT’s work on labor-saving multi-crop reapers; and CSISA-BD’s emphasis on private sector integration and the promotion of viable business models for agricultural and tillage service providers. Following the presentation, Scott Justice, machinery expert and CIMMYT consultant, led a hands-on demonstration on seederfertilizer drills for strip tillage and raised bed-planters that can be attached to two-wheeled tractors. CIMMYT’s work to increase farmer and service provider adoption of these tools will increase in the future with USAID’s continued support for the CSISA-BD project.