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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)


Integrated Rice Advisory System (IRAS) for sustainable productivity in Bangladesh

PI: Niaz Rahman (niaz.stat@brri.gov.bd), Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, in partnership with Bangladesh Agricultural University
U.S. Partner: Faisal Hossain, University of Washington
Project Dates: November 2019 - January 2022

Project Overview:
 
8-170 7 Transplanting farmers field at Rajshahi
Rajshahi site: transplantation in action. Photo credit: BRRI
8-170_PEER team
 Prof. Niaz and his team, Photo credit: BRRI
8-170 farmers training1
Local farmers' training program on rice advisory and its application at Baniachang, Habiganj. Photo credit: BRRI
The overall goal of the project is to develop an integrated framework for the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) to support delivery of agro-meteorological advisory services for rice crops in Bangladesh. The project is built upon ongoing research on forecast-based rice crop management at the Agromet and Crop Modeling Lab of BRRI. The PI and his colleagues will develop a Web-based platform, “Integrated Rice Advisory System (IRAS),” to provide extension workers and rice farmers with agro-meteorological advisories for effective decision-making. The goal is to map the sensitivity of a specific area and rice crop to certain weather conditions and understand how the weather in general will influence the growth of rice. BRRI uses the open-source Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model for generating location-specific weather forecasts. This model will be automated and integrated into IRAS. The system will be designed to utilize input from the multidisciplinary team of the Agromet Lab and consolidate findings and recommendations into informational bulletins for dissemination as a collaborative effort involving BRRI and relevant stakeholders, including extension workers, farmers, and others.

The project will also validate BRRI’s previous research on forecast-based rice crop management with the participation of volunteer farmers from four districts. Previously, BRRI conducted this research in a smaller controlled environment. Farmers and extension workers in the target locations will be trained to utilize the advisories generated through IRAS and apply them during the boro rice season at the pilot fields. In this project, the U.S. partner Dr. Faisal Hossain will contribute to the capacity building of BRRI staff by providing a technical training on “Application of Remote Sensing in Agro-advisory Generation” at the University of Washington. He will also participate in the co-production workshop and the co-design process in Bangladesh. He and his research group (www.saswe.net) are expected to provide R&D support and technical guidance on systems integration for IRAS.

Anticipated outcomes:

(1) Web-based platform—IRAS—capable of providing agro-advisories for rice crops; 
(2) Enhanced practical understanding of the performance of forecast-based rice crop management in comparison to traditional management practices.

Overall, the project addresses USAID country-specific goals focusing on food security and responsiveness to climate change in Bangladesh. Of all cereal crops in Bangladesh, rice plays the leading role by contributing 90% of total food grain production, with almost 100% of people eating rice as their main food and about 25% of the total rice crop being fed to livestock. Increased climatic variability is a huge constraint on farmer’s ability to make tactical and strategic agricultural management decisions which can substantially hinder rice production. The project promotes the application of research outcomes in farmers’ fields with the potential for increasing the rice yield, avoiding disease outbreaks, and ensuring efficient agricultural water management, thus reducing overall production costs as well. Successful implementation of the project is anticipated to help create a resilient rice farming community, minimizing livelihood risk, and attaining food security through sustainable rice production in Bangladesh in the face of a changing climate.

2021 Project updates and potential development impacts

 During the field experiments, the project team generated agro advisories based on weather forecast in respect of weather-induced stresses, field operations, sowing/planting time, application of agricultural inputs, water management, weeding, harvest, and post-harvest operations, the prevalence of pests and diseases considering the crop-weather interaction by a group of farm management specialists (agricultural statistician, agricultural meteorologist, plant pathologists, entomologists, agronomists, plant physiologists, soil scientists, and irrigation expert).

The project team's preliminary analysis from the field experimental data shows the impacts of the weather forecast based advisory service (WFBAS) has the potentiality to contribute on the food security of Bangladesh by generating advisories and awareness to climate change. Whereas, WFBAS is the potential for reducing poverty by enhancing the rice yield and income of the farmers through reducing insect and disease outbreaks, ensuring optimum water use for irrigation, labor, and energy utilization, reduce losses and risks, reduce environmental pollution with thoughtful use of agricultural chemicals through proper management in time and also guides for the selection of the best-suited rice varieties according to the predicted climatic circumstances. This is how the system reduces the overall costs of production and increases the income of the farmers. The adoption of this technology by the agricultural extension services would contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals through enhancing productivity and return of the small-scale food producers.

With almost 16.5 million farmers in Bangladesh, the team's target is to provide weather-based  advisory to all the farmers once a week on a regional basis. In this context, the team have developed an integrated rice advisory system (IRAS) that has the potential to do that and will significantly contribute to achieving the above-mentioned impacts through the smooth coordination of meteorology, research, and extension in an automated web-based mode.

From the field experimentation, the preliminary analytical results show that the implementation of a weather-based advisory service (WFBAS) has the potentiality to boost rough rice production through enhancing productivity in Bangladesh compared to traditional management.  
 

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PGA_147200PGA_147199PGA_147214PGA_147201PGA_147202