13th Conference on the Development of Drylands

Written by sdanda. Posted in News, News Happenings

Drylands cover over 40 percent of Earth’s land area and are home to more than a third of the world’s population. Though they provide ecosystem services that are crucial for global food, nutrition and water security, they are also some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems. A majority of the people living in dryland areas live in developing countries, and with fragile natural resources, achieving food security in these areas remains challenging.

The International Dryland Development Commission (IDCC) states that the efforts towards ensuring sustainable management of natural resources in dryland areas “have to be boosted in order to optimize adaptive mechanisms and risk aversion elements for dryland communities.”

Organized by IDCC and Arid Sone Research Association of India (AZAI), the 13thConference on the Development of Drylands, held in Jodhpur, India, from February 11-14, brings together national and international stakeholders to discuss sustainable dryland development under the theme “Converting Dryland Areas from Grey into Green.”

A traditional lamp-lighting ceremony opened the 13th Conference on the Development of Drylands in Jodhpur, India, on February 11, 2019

“With the release of the EAT-Lancet report, the world has come together under the umbrella of food as the answer to human and planetary health,” said Martin Kropff in his welcome address. “I think that drylands, too, need such an integrated approach.” He highlighted the importance of healthy and sustainable drylands for cereal production, explaining that 51 percent of the world’s maize crop and 76 percent of the world’s wheat crop are grown in these areas.

Over the course of the four-day conference, Kropff and other attendees will discuss a number of themes including climate change in drylands, managing land degradation and desertification, and soil health management, carbon sequestration and conservation. 

See the conference website for more information.

BISA-PAU awarded for collaborative work on residue management

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The Borlaug Institute in South Asia-Punjab Agricultural University (BISA-PAU) joint team recently received an award from the Indian Society for Agricultural Engineers (ISEA) in recognition of their work on rice residue management using the Super Straw Management System (Super SMS).

The uniform spread of rice residue is essential for the efficient use of Happy Seeder technology and maintaining uniform soil moisture in the field. Developed by researchers at PAU in 2016, the Super SMS is an innovative solution for paddy residue management in rice-wheat systems.

Through facilitating in-situ residue recycling, the Super SMS attachment for self-propelled combine harvesters will play a key role in tackling the problem of residue burning in the northwestern states in India and other parts of South Asia, thereby reducing environmental pollution and improving soil health. With these benefits in mind, the Government of India has since made the use of the Super SMS mandatory for all combine harvesters in northwest India. Harminder Singh Sidhu, a CIMMYT-BISA senior research engineer based in Ludhiana, has previously stressed the need for more sustainable methods of dealing with residue. “Happy seeder was found to be a very effective tool for direct sowing of wheat after paddy harvesting by combining harvesters fitted with super straw management system.”

Trilochan Mohapatra, ICAR director general, and I.M. Mishra, president of ISAE, present the ISAE Team Award – 2018

Trilochan Mohapatra, director general for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), formally conferred the ISAE Team Award – 2018 at the 53rd ISAE Annual Convention held from 28-30 January 2019, at Baranas Hindu University in Varanasi. Mohapatra acknowledged it as “a real team award which is making a difference on the ground.” 

The recipients acknowledged the role of local project partner New Gurdeep Agro Industries for its contributions to promoting the machinery. Within eight months of its commercialization, over 100 manufacturers in Punjab, India, had begun producing the attachment and over 5000 combine harvesters in the region are currently equipped with the Super SMS.

Conducting technical sessions and exposure visits to increase awareness among government officials

Written by sdanda. Posted in News Happenings

An exposure visit was conducted at the Jabalpur farm in Madhya Pradesh from 3rd to 5th October 2018 for the officials of the Maharashtra Tribal Development Department, encouraging adaptability and sustainability through scientific know-how. Government officials from three primary districts of Palghar, Gadchiroli and Pune participated over the two days visit. Methodologically separated, the training included farm visits, technical sessions, screening sessions, visit to hosting facilities and official meetings. BISA’s senior farm official, Mr. Pankaj Singh conducted the sessions addressing innovation in agriculture to implemented farm practices for reduced labor, land and environmental degradation. Direct Seeded Rice (DSR), scale-appropriate mechanization, precision nutrient and water management techniques, decision tools, sensors and automation-based management systems were some of the primary adapted tools discussed and showcased in the workshop. Using climate calibrated approaches, sustainable intensification of the Cereals-Legumes-Pulses system at Jabalpur was also a major feature in the visit, helping increase soil health and fertility through crop cycling.

Focusing on conservation agriculture, one of the intermediate workshops held demonstrations on Laser Land Leveling (LLL), combine harvesters and rear-mounted turbo Happy Seeder, revising on efficient time and labor management, soil conservation, and precision nutrient management. The second day of the workshop hosted visits to partner facilities and official meetings. Bio-control and Bio-pesticide Laboratory, Business Planning & Development (BPD) Unit, Medicinal Gardens Unit, and Seed Technology Centre were some of the technical hosting facilities for BISA provided by the (JNKVV) university, led by respective department heads. The participants were provided with details on precision fertilization, bio-fertilization, entrepreneurial approaches in farming, capacity training, medicinal values and importance, and seed treatment structure. The workshop ended with the visit to the Directorate of Weed Research (DWR) Jabalpur discussing on acknowledging climate change, ways to curb climatic extremes and the importance of climate resilience in agriculture. Concluding the workshop, Maharashtra Tribal Development Department officials agreed upon precision mechanization for the tribal landscape of Maharashtra and the importance of scaling climate resilience among the tribal farmers of Maharashtra.

Australian high commissioner’s visit to BISA farm at Ladhowal, Ludhiana and Climate Smart Village, Nurpur Bet

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Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner, visited the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) in Ladhowal, Ludhiana, India on February 19. Arun Joshi, Managing Director for BISA & CIMMYT in India, welcomed her with an introduction about the creation, mission, and activities of BISA and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). HS Sidhu, the Senior Research Engineer for BISA, explained the work CIMMYT and BISA were conducting in conservation agriculture in collaboration with Punjab Agricultural University, machinery manufacturers and farmers. This work focuses on using and scaling the Happy Seeder, which enables direct seeding of wheat into heavy loads of rice residue without burning. This technology has been called “an agricultural solution to air pollution in South Asia,”  as the burning of crop residue is a huge contributor to poor air quality in South Asia.