EDITED BY Zahirul Islam, Mahabub Hossain, Thelma Paris, Bill Hardy, Joyce Gorsuch
Hundreds of millions of rural poor in Bangladesh, India,and Nepal derive their food security and livelihoodsfrom the 25 million hectares of the eastern Gangetic Plains devoted to farming systems based mainly on rainfed rice. Previous research on these farming systems has identified and developed improved cultivars and agronomic practices usefulto poor farmers in the study areas in eastern India and insimilar agroecologies in the region. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) coordinates the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), which was formed by the merging of the Rainfed Lowland Rice Research Consortium and the Upland Rice Research Consortium. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) convenes the Rice-Wheat Consortium (RWC) for the Indo-Gangetic Plains. The International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) coordinates the Cereal and Legumes Asia Network (CLAN) and the Global Grain Legumes Drought Research Network (GGLDRN). The consortia and networks have identified and developed a range of promising technologies that offer improved incomes for farmers of rainfed fields and ensure agroecosystem sustainability. A key to success has been the conversion from a commodity-centered approach to a systems-based one in which farmer participatory research generates location-specific recommendations. This approach has allowed better adaptation of improved practices to small-farm conditions and accelerated the pace of adoption around the field-testing sites.
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