Climate-smart advisory services for major food crops in South and Southeast Asia

Project Description

Climate Smart Agriculture Advisory Service (CSAAS) seeks to harness the power of information and communication technology (ICT) for the outscaling of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies and climate-informed advisory services for rice, maize and wheat in South and Southeast Asia. ICT plays an increasingly important role in disseminating agricultural advisory services to farmers with timely and farm-specific information to improve their crop management decisions. The project is implemented in Vietnam, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Bihar and Odisha. Around 500,000 households are expected to benefit from CSAAS services.

CSAAS aims at expanding the capabilities of the Rice Crop Manager (RCM), a smartphone application, developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) which is currently being upscaled in the Philippines. The RCM enables agricultural extension staff to ensure sustainable productivity gains for poor rice farmers, through cost-effective crop management. Historical climate data, planting dates and weather forecasts, obtained through partnerships with other projects, such as CSISA and the meteorological services of RIMES are combined with location-specific crop management recommendations derived from current practices. The data received provide feedback to scientists to conduct additional research. The developed cloud-based, mobile phone app increases farmers’ adaptive capacity to climate change by enabling them to adjust crop management, cropping systems and postharvest operations for higher income and better food security.

Project Activities

  • Develop and release the first version of CSAAS for rice in Vietnam, India and Bangladesh
  • Evaluate and verify the effectiveness of recommendations given to male and female farmers through randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to better tailor the climate-informed agro-advisory service for the highly diverse rice-based production systems of the Mekong and Red River Deltas in Vietnam
  • Identify and facilitate public and private mechanisms and partnerships at national level for disseminating and sustaining use CSAAS in each country
  • Identify climate-smart management options and enhance the effectiveness of CSAAS for other cereals (maize and wheat) in collaboration with CIMMYT
  • Develop and roll out a “construction” manual and standard operating procedures for the replication of CSAAS beyond project end.

Outcomes

  • By 2016 in selected pilot areas in each country about 50,000 rice farmers receive farm and field-specific advice through the mediation of extension staff and mobile phones on optimal use of inputs and climate smart technologies, such as the alternate wetting and drying technology and stress tolerant seed varieties.
  • Farmers receive, by SMS, short range and extended weather forecasts and related agromet advisory.
  • Extension departments providing the service to farmers can access a website with real-time information on the farmer gender and farm characteristics to ensure better targeted and more gender sensitive services.
  • By 2017, CSAAS is endorsed by the national agriculture research system (NARES) of the different countries. Partnerships are established with mobile phone-based communication networks to use CSAAS in deploying farming advice to reach 200,000 farmers.  
  • By the end of the project in 2019, 800,000 recommendations are delivered by different public and private partnerships constellations based on CSAAS.
  • NARES update content and services to evolve CSAAS based on projects of stakeholders’ and farmers’ demands.

Expected Outputs

  • Results of action research and surveys in pilot locations to identify and evaluate climate-informed decision-making and management practices that can benefit male and female farmers who are exposed to uncertain and changing weather. ICT tools and collected information will be used to appropriately modify the agro-advisory service to facilitate targeted use by gender.
  • Initial versions of a rice climate-informed agro-advisory service for the Mekong Delta and north of Vietnam and in Bangladesh
  • Initial version of a maize climate-informed agro-advisory service for the Mekong Delta and Red River Delta of Vietnam
  • Reports, discussion paper and peer-reviewed journal articles on new climate information and analysis which enhances the capacity of data providers (e.g. regional and national meteorological institutions) to meet the demands of climate service beneficiaries
  • Report on mechanisms for effective partnerships in the development, dissemination, and use of the agro-advisory service
  • ‘Tool construction kit’ for advisory services

Partners

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) serves as the lead center in this project. It will draw on information from research, surveys, and monitoring to refine and improve the climate-informed agro-advisory service. IRRI will also provide technical expertise for rice and activities in the CSVs in Khulna, Bangladesh and Odisha, India.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is responsible for determining the effectiveness of the advisory service in India and Bangladesh. They will contribute to identifying climate-informed management options for rice, maize, and wheat, and in the development of ‘tool construction kit’ for advisory services; contributing to deployment of advisory service in India and Bangladesh; and contributing to technical content, activities, and partnerships related to maize and wheat.

For the Vietnam component, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) shall conduct research to develop and evaluate components of the climate-informed ago-advisory service. The MARD, Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute (CLRRI) and Soils and Fertilizers Research Institute (SFRI) will assist in obtaining endorsement of the agro-advisory service as a tool for use by the extension system, leverage partnerships with fertilizer companies to support and endorse the CSAAS and in the translation recommendations in the agro-advisory service.

For the India component, the same responsibilities will be carried out by the Bihar Agriculture University, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. BRRI will also assist in providing agro-advisory service to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), provide training and technical support for the deployment of agro-advisory service, and assist in the development of partnerships for wide-scale use of the agro-advisory service.

The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute will provide the technical content for the crop management and climate-informed recommendations for maize and wheat in the agro-advisory service in Bangladesh and assist in the development and translation of recommendations for maize and wheat.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Project Leader, Roland Buresh (IRRI) r.buresh@irri.org.

Project Publications

view all