IFDC Programs Designed to Improve Crop Yields

IFDC programs aim to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in Bangladesh's rice fields

The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) is researching and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions that result from lowland rice farming in Bangladesh.

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Through a new component of the USAID-funded Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI), the project will quantify the environmental benefits of fertilizer deep placement (FDP) technology and build Bangladesh’s national capacity to incorporate climate change activities into development programs. The new activity integrates the U.S. government’s Global Climate Change Initiative into its Feed the Future initiative. Bangladesh is a priority country for both initiatives.

Rice farms account for 85% of Bangladesh’s agricultural land and emit greenhouse gases in the form of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Runoff of excess nitrogen and phosphorus can severely impact wetland and coastal habitats, and the ineffective management of crops, soils, water and nutrients not only leads to lower yields and inefficient resource use but also results in higher GHG emission rates.

“FDP is likely to significantly reduce GHG emissions, particularly nitrous oxide and nitric oxide emissions, and will further mitigate climate change by substantially reducing ammonia volatilization losses and the nitrification process in the wetlands,” said Dr. Upendra Singh, IFDC principal scientist-systems modeling (soil fertility).

“The AAPI project is expanding FDP technology to over a million hectares involving 2.5 million farmers,” said John Allgood, director of IFDC’s EurAsia Division. “Altogether, FDP technology is used on more than 12% of Bangladesh’s rice-growing land. FDP technology is helping to increase yields and reduce the cost of fertilization. It also helps reduce negative impacts on Bangladesh’s ecosystems and thereby contributes to the country’s resilience to climate change.”

IFDC, with funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) also launched its ICT Platform called Mfarms in support of bringing business solutions into agriculture.

Mfarms is a web and cell-phone based platform (www.mfarms.org), which provides affordable tools for building linkages, improving communications and operational efficiencies among actors along the agricultural value chain. The platform was developed by Image-AD Ltd, a Ghanaian company.

The platform, which has a high potential for making agriculture and agribusiness a lucrative venture, is designed to create operational efficiencies by allowing organizations, associations and identifiable groups to serve a large number of their geographically dispersed members or affiliates. As a decision support tool, Mfarms can be used for production and purchase planning, broadcast of alerts and extension information, verification of adherence to production techniques and schedules, as well as the calculation of production and transaction costs.

Currently, Mfarms is being used successfully to link smallholder farmers to structured staple food markets and for planning, monitoring and marketing of agricultural inputs and food products.

(Source: IFDC; edited by FCI Staff)