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Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia

Start date 2009 – End date 2020

Intensive cereal cropping systems that include rice, wheat and/or maize are widespread throughout South Asia. 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, 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.

  • Wheat fields in Bhar
  • Training in Bangladesh
  • Irrigating rice field
  • Farmer surrounded by wheat
  • Boys walk in maize wheat field
  • Congregating in maize field

Funding Institutions

  • United States Agency for International Development

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Principal coordinator

Andrew McDonald

project website



Promote resource-conserving practices, technologies and services that increase yield with less water, labor and input costs

Impart new knowledge on cropping management practices, from applied research

Improve access to market information and enterprise development.

Strengthen policy analysis to remove constraints to the adoption of new technologies

Build strategic partnerships and capacity to help sustain and enhance the scale of benefits of improved cereal growth