Suraya Parvin (left), Senior Scientific Officer of BARC, discussing with the facilitator in the training. Photo: Jitendra Raj Bajracharya/ICIMOD.
The training strengthened the remote sensing capabilities of professionals from BARC and BARI in using satellite-based remote sensing tools and crop mapping to monitor drought risks. During the training, participants were exposed to a number of remote sensing and geographic information systems tools including SPIRITS, QGIS, ArcMap, GeoCLIM as well as a foundation course to Google Earth Engine. Additionally, open source platform to perform online and offline data collection using mobile application training was provided.This learning exchange took place in order to address the risks for agricultural drought in portions of north-western Bangladesh where farmers may lack access to, or cannot afford irrigation. This leads to bottlenecks in crop productivity and can impair the livelihoods of smallholder farmers reliant on variable and unpredictable precipitation. Access to quality drought monitoring and forecasting could assist farmers in adapting to these climactic risks. Meteorological and agricultural research institutions play a crucial role in providing improved information flow and drought risks advisories to farmers.
Mir Matin, theme leader of Geospatial Solutions, ICIMOD, organized the training on behalf of CSRD and ICIMOD, alongside Rajesh Bahadur Thapa, capacity building specialist, ICIMOD. ICIMOD’s Bhoj Raj also facilitated sessions on application of these tools.
“Bangladesh, especially the northern region, is most susceptible to drought and it is difficult to grow year-round crops here,” said Suraya Parvin, senior scientific officer of BARC. “To increase the cropping intensity in this region, drought monitoring is very essential. I think this training was extremely useful to prepare us for this challenge.”
The CSRD partnership and ICIMOD are working together to establish user-oriented platforms for the provision of easily accessible, timely and decision relevant scientific information, in the form of climate services. “This training, and the applied science products that will come from it, will be a crucial part of efforts to increase the resilience of Bangladesh’s smallholder farmers to climatic risks,” said Timothy J. Krupnik, systems agronomist, CIMMYT and CSRD project leader. “Working with the graduates of the training on a day-to-day basis, we expect to deepen BARC and BARI’s contributions to applied climate services in Bangladesh.”