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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’.