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Author: rpuri

“Adoption of Climate Smart Agricultural Practices is Crucial” Dr. Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Secretary, Agriculture, Bihar


Dr. Raj Kumar Jat

Dr. Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Bihar visited the BISA research station at Samastipur, Bihar. Dr. Alok Ranjan Ghosh, Director, the Department of Agriculture, Bihar also accompanied him during this visit. They both first visited the DSR Rice fields of farmers Bhola Kumar and Pappu Kumar at village Bajitpur, block Fatehpur, district Vaishali. They interacted with the farmers and took a keen interest in knowing about the condition of the crop, the challenges of the farmers and their expectations from the Government of Bihar. Farmers expressed that this year their expected yield will be 28.60 quintals/acre as per the present crop situation of their fields.   

Post the farmer field visit a brief presentation on the Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) project & a farm visit was organized at BISA station in Samastipur. Delegates interacted Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, senior cropping system agronomist and station In-charge, and other scientists at the farm. Dr. Agarwal took a tour of the farm and looked very excited to see the innovative and sustainable agricultural practices being implemented at BISA. 

Dr. Jat described the ongoing modern scientific approaches through research & development being used to counter the changing climatic situation by BISA. They visited the plots of different technologies and different crops like soybean, cowpea, millet, and groundnut.

Dr. Agarwal appreciated the efforts of BISA in the field of Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) and applauded the vital role being played by BISA, Samastipur in research for development. He said ” Sowing at the right time is very important for farmers. Timely sowing helps in good production of any crop”. He also added that “BISA’s role as a catalyst is commendable and I appreciate their work in CRA with the other partners which is reaching out to the farmers with the climate resilient agriculture technology and practices”.

Dr. Agarwal, enquired about crop diversification options in south Bihar that can replace the Paddy-Wheat Cropping system at least by 50% with different crops like soybean, cowpea, millets, groundnut etc. He also planted a Mango sapling (Var.Amrapali) on the premises of BISA as a token of appreciation and a commitment towards a green and healthy environment. Dr. Jat gave an overview of the ongoing digital agriculture project which provides a one-stop solution with a mobile app for crop health monitoring. He also gathered information regarding the standardization of drone spraying by applying different replicas of doses (75%,100%,125%) & at different heights of drone spraying from the crop canopy at BISA Farm. Not only this but an agrochemical spray demonstration through a drone spraying system was also done in his presence.

Celebrating BISA’s Foundation Day – 12 Years of Excellence



Today, we mark a significant milestone in the journey of BISA as we celebrate 12 years of our Foundation Day. On this special occasion, we reflect on our history, accomplishments, and the unwavering dedication of each member who has contributed to our success.

Our journey began 12 years ago with a vision to create food, nutrition, livelihood, and environmentally secure South Asia. In the last decade, we have progressed and achieved remarkable milestones. The hard work and commitment of our team members and the support of our stakeholders made it all possible. Today, BISA is a global name in agriculture research with a vision to promote food security, nutrition, stable livelihoods, and eco-friendly practices in South Asia. Given the prominent challenges of climate change in these economically fragile agroecosystems, the partnership between BISA, ICAR, and CIMMYT plays a pivotal role in developing improved wheat and maize varieties with climate-smart and conservation agriculture-based practices.

BISA’s collaborative and inclusive approach is more relevant today when the world is grappling with various food and nutrition insecurity challenges. Therefore, BISA envisages attracting countries from South Asia, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), as well as National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), private sector companies, and civil society organizations as active partners for expanding reach in the South Asian region.

Collective action is to be garnered to provide trusted and effective mechanisms for developing and sharing cutting-edge agricultural technologies in the South Asian region. Working towards this goal, BISA collaborated with the NARS in Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and India. Government representatives from these countries were invited to a high-level meeting in New Delhi on 1 & 2 September 2022.  Delegates from these countries felt a need for a robust program of germplasm exchange within the region, which is essential to strengthening agriculture’s resilience. All countries expressed a significant need to raise their capacity of young researchers in advanced research techniques related to genomics, phenotyping, climate-smart agriculture, precision agriculture, and digital technologies.

Taking this mission ahead, BISA launched the “Atlas of Climate Adaptation in South Asian Agriculture” (ACASA) project with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Around 50 scientists from South Asian countries will work together to develop this Atlas, which aims to improve access to climate risk and solution option analytics for South Asian countries.  

Not only this, BISA also collaborated with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a new initiative called “Project for the Establishment of Nitrogen-Efficient Wheat Production Systems in Indo-Gangetic Plains by the Development of BNI Technology”. Thus, the research trials with BNI-trait are being carried out at CIMMYT-BISA research farms in India (Ludhiana, Jabalpur & Samastipur) and several ICAR institutions (IIWBR and CSSRI in Karnal, IARI at New Delhi).

Recently, BISA joined hands with Escorts Kubota Limited (EKL) CSR Foundation to demonstrate sustainable agriculture practices in different cropping systems. The project includes the development of a state-of-the-art facility, “Escorts Advanced Farming Institute (EAFI)” in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana and developing model farms. A similar initiative of EKL is already operational in Bangalore. EAFI envisages building an ecosystem that will give impetus to the adoption of new farming technologies and practices by the farmers and support and contribute to the Indian Government’s mission of increasing farm income in a sustainable manner.

In addition to new collaborations, BISA’s ongoing support to the Bihar government’s Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) program is helping small and marginal farmers cope with the changing climatic conditions. It started in 8 districts as a pilot project in 2019. Later in 2020, based on the outcomes of the pilot project, the honourable Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar ji launched the Climate Resilient Agriculture Program (CRA Program) in all 38 districts of Bihar. The key activities being implemented under this initiative in Bihar are crop calendar-based demonstration, crop diversification, capacity building, farm mechanisation etc.

BISA strongly believes in building capacities as it plays a critical role in the overall development of the Agri sector in South Asia. Every year, BISA organises capacity-building programs at its research stations in Ludhiana (Punjab), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Pusa (Bihar). This year, BISA conducted several training programs at three BISA farms in various technologies through field and lab training, travelling seminars, exposure visits, etc. Regular training was organised for researchers from India and neighbouring countries (Bangladesh, Nepal) on High-Throughput Phenotyping (HTP) data collection, Precision Phenotyping, Conservation Agriculture Practices, Climate-Smart Agriculture, Scale-Appropriate Mechanization, Weed Management, Quality Seed Production, and Maintenance Breeding.

All this would not have been possible without the support of our valuable partners in South Asia, outstanding governance provided by the CIMMYT-BISA board, and the generous and farsighted financial support of our funders. We are grateful to them for their interest and support for the millions of farmers and consumers who draw benefits and hope from BISA’s efforts.

Please join us in our celebrations and read more about BISA in this report – ‘Decade of Research’.

Adaptation Atlas is a Positive Step Towards Climate Resilient Agriculture

Guest Author

Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary (DARE) and Director General-Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India

Photo: Nirmal Sigtia (IWMI)

India holds an impressive record in agricultural production. We are among the largest producers of milk, pulses, tea, spices, cashew, jute, and bananas. Additionally, we rank as the second-largest producer of wheat, rice, fruits, and vegetables. Our agricultural sector has experienced notable growth, with production increasing from 3 to 127 times since the 1970s. We have also witnessed a substantial boost in agricultural productivity, with yields per hectare rising from 0.7 to 2.3 tons during the same period.

Despite these achievements, we face pressing challenges that threaten our agricultural landscape. Water scarcity, soil degradation, pest and disease outbreaks, and the intensifying impacts of climate change need urgent attention.

In India, we observe that minimum temperatures are rising faster than maximum temperatures. We also witness a more pronounced temperature increase during the rabi (winter) season than the kharif (monsoon) season. Rainfall is becoming more variable with increasing episodes of extreme rainfall. These climate risks increase our food and livelihood insecurity.

Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary (DARE) and Director General-Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India

We need advanced technological interventions and optimized resource allocation to address these challenges. Our development path, “Amrit Kaal,” necessitates climate-friendly practices prioritizing low carbon, water, nitrogen, and energy usage. To further realize this vision, adopting 5Ms based on better markets, regional planning for monsoons, improved mechanization, management of micro-irrigation and new fertilizers, and mainstreaming the insurance would be pivotal.  

India has undertaken research, development, and policy initiatives to build resilience in our food production system. However, the growing challenges of climate extremes demand sustained global efforts. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) therefore, welcomes international collaboration to exchange experiences and knowledge in climate action. We believe that collective efforts and shared expertise will strengthen our adaptation strategies.

In this regard, the Adaptation Atlas project can play a vital role. ICAR is glad to support ACASA and will deploy a team of young scientists to contribute to and benefit from this Adaptation Atlas. Furthermore, we are pleased to offer our website as a platform to host the Atlas, facilitating its broader utilization within our country. We thank BISA and BMGF for initiating this project in India.

Together, let us pave the way toward a climate-resilient future for agriculture, safeguarding our farmers’ livelihoods and securing food for future generations.

CIMMYT-BISA hosts exposure visit for Bangladesh delegates in Ludhiana, Punjab 


Ravi Gopal Singh, Raju Singh, Pradeep Bhati, Lalit Sharma, and Richa Sharma Puri

Small and micro agriculture machinery manufacturers from Bangladesh visit the BISA farm in Ludhiana, Punjab, India   

BISA envisages attracting countries from South Asia, BIMSTEC, SAARC, National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), national research institutes, private sector companies, and civil society organizations as active partners for expanding reach in the region. In September 2022, a high-level meeting was held in New Delhi where delegates from Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. All countries expressed a significant need to raise their capacity of young researchers in advanced research techniques related to genomics, phenotyping, climate-smart agriculture, precision agriculture, and digital technologies. Therefore, in continuation of that commitment,  a team of small and micro agricultural machinery business owners from Bangladesh visited BISA Ludhiana.   

A group of 34 manufacturers visited BISA’s state-of-the-art farm in Ludhiana on the 6th and 12th of July 2023 with CIMMYT Bangladesh Team under Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia- Mechanization and Extension Activity (CSISA-MEA)

Direct Seeded Rice Field Visit by the participants at BISA farm in Ludhiana

The exposure visit started with a warm welcome by Dr. Raju Singh, Station Coordinator, at BISA farm in Ludhiana. He talked briefly about the vision, mission, and partnerships of CIMMYT/BISA/ICAR with national agricultural research systems. Later, Dr. Raju with Dr. Lalit, Technical Co-ordinator shared the importance of Direct Seeded Rice Technology and machine transplanted rice and its benefit over manually transplanted rice. Participants also got the opportunity to visit the weed-free Direct Seeded Rice field, mechanically transplanted rice field and cover crop field. The visit was planned to sensitise the visitors about the diverse and advanced technologies and best practices adopted by BISA at its research farm in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the state government of Punjab. Spread in 500 acres in Ladhowal Ludhiana, BISA aims to harness the latest genetic, digital, and resource management technologies and use research for development approaches to invigorate the region’s agriculture and food systems while enhancing productivity, resilience, livelihood, and nutrition security to meet future demands.

The group’s tour included visits to different facilities of the farm like various wheat research trials, molecular laboratory, Precision Nitrogen Nutrition facility, seed processing unit, and farm machinery section. They also learned about the varietal diversity, precision agriculture, climate resilient production systems, farm topography, smart mechanization, and partnerships of BISA with other institutions that support leveraging international agricultural research.  

   Group visits different facilities at BISA research station in Ludhiana, Punjab 

While showing the farm facility, Dr. Pradeep Bhati, Wheat Breeder at BISA gave details of all the wheat growing zones in India and BISA’s three mega wheat growing zones (BISA Ludhiana: NWPZ, BISA Pusa: NEPZ and BISA Jabalpur: CZ).  Further, he detailed wheat research trials conducted at all BISA sites. He shared that more than 16,000 entries and >20,000 plots were planted at the Ludhiana farm during the 2022-23 season and the same were planted at other BISA sites too. He also explained about South Asia Bread Wheat Genomic Prediction yield trials which were conducted in three farms of BISA (Ludhiana, Jabalpur and Pusa), 10 national partners sites in India, two locations in Pakistan, one site in Bangladesh, two locations in Nepal and eight environments in CIMMYT Obregon Mexico. Dr. Pradeep also gave an overview of the yellow rust screening trials. He explained that more than 10,000 lines were screened for yellow rust every year at BISA Ludhiana, and the same lines were screened for spot blotch at BISA, Pusa in Bihar. The participants also gained an understanding of how all research trials are planted mechanically except two-row stripe rust screening nurseries with high precision and would get harvested by wintersteiger mechanically.

BISA, in the last decade, has focused on mechanization to increase overall profitability, productivity and input use efficiency. Thus, having a significant positive impact on Indian agriculture. BISA displayed innovative farm machinery, digital tools and equipment used in farming with the latest technology. Participants got the opportunity to visit the machinery section and the BISA team explained all machinery functions and calibrations. The participants showed interest in technologies and agricultural machinery being used in BISA farms.