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