December 14, 2010 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded IFDC, an international center for soil fertility and agricultural development, a five-year cooperative agreement in support of the Accelerating Agricultural Productivity Improvement in Bangladesh (AAPI) project.
Ishrat Jahan, AAPI project coordinator and IFDC country representative in Bangladesh, said, “The AAPI project is designed to strengthen and re-orient agricultural production systems in Bangladesh. The project goals are to improve food security and accelerate income growth in rural areas by increasing agricultural productivity on a sustainable basis. Improved resource use efficiency in agricultural production systems will be a priority.”
The US $24.1 million project will focus on improved soil fertility management and the rapid diffusion of the proven fertilizer deep placement (FDP) technology. FDP technology (very similar to urea deep placement) will enable farmers to increase rice yields by 20 percent while applying 35 percent less nitrogen fertilizers.
IFDC pioneered the development of FDP – a technology that reduces nitrogen losses significantly – and introduced it to Bangladesh. FDP is an important technology that has great potential to substantially improve crop yields using less fertilizer and is well-suited to rice production.
FDP technology is consistent with balanced fertilizer use because multi-nutrients are incorporated in each FDP briquette. Importantly, FDP technology reduces nitrogen losses (to the atmosphere and water systems) by 40 percent when compared with conventional fertilizer application techniques.
Working to improve resource use efficiency in agriculture production systems, the AAPI project will support water management systems such as alternate wetting and drying (AWD), a water-saving technology that lowland (paddy) rice farmers can apply to reduce water use in irrigated fields.
Grahame Hunter, project chief of party, said that the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Extension will play key roles in disseminating information, particularly by implementing demonstrations of the FDP and AWD technologies and farmer education. The Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA) will support efforts to strengthen the supply system for FDP products.
The AAPI project will provide women expanded opportunities to increase food security and incomes. Key impact areas directed at women include micro-enterprise development in FDP briquette supply, improved farming methods and in post-harvest activities.
The FDP technology also offers entrepreneurs small business opportunities because farmers must have a supply of the briquettes. Establishing village-level businesses to manufacture simple briquette-making machines, as well as the briquettes, is part of IFDC’s strategy to strengthen the private sector. The FDP process provides benefits for farmers, the environment and the economy.
The government of Bangladesh is expected to save $84.5 million through the AAPI project due to a reduction in farmer use of government-subsidized fertilizer. FDP technology will have a positive environmental impact due to: (1) reduced fertilizer application because of improved crop uptake efficiency; and (2) lower losses of nitrogen to the atmosphere and water systems. Incremental farmer incomes are estimated to be US $362 per hectare of paddy rice per year. The average annual income in Bangladesh is $520; therefore the increase in income is considerable.
There have been two successful FDP/UDP expansion projects in Bangladesh in recent years: Expansion of Urea Deep Placement Technology in 80 Upazilas of Bangladesh, which ended in 2009; and Expansion of Urea Deep Placement Technology in an Additional 80 Upazilas of Bangladesh, which began in November 2008 and ends in June 2011. IFDC has also been involved in the Improved Livelihood for Sidr-Affected Rice Farmers (ILSAFARM) project. ILSAFARM helped 280,000 families whose crops and lands were destroyed by Cyclone Sidr in 2007.
IFDC is a public international organization, governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing countries. The nonprofit Center is supported by various bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments.
IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.
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