IFDC launched the Assessment of State Fertilizer Scenario and Promoting Efficient Nutrient Management (ASPEN) project on June 23 at the Lily Hotel in Guwahati Assam, India. The ceremony was chaired by Dr. A.K. Bhutani, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Production Commissioner, and State Project Director, in the presence of almost 50 stakeholders in a hybrid model (in-person and virtual), including those from the Department of Agriculture, Assam Agricultural University, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), and the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART).
The ASPEN project is an initiative of the Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS) Society, under the auspices of the World Bank-funded APART. The project will provide technical backstopping to the fertilizer sector assessment of Assam state and introduce fertilizer deep placement (FDP) and nanofertilizer for promoting efficient nutrient management. The fertilizer sector assessment will be conducted in consultation with various stakeholders, including policymakers, the Department of Agriculture, the fertilizer industry, wholesalers, dealers, farmers, and researchers. The efficient nutrient management component includes the mechanization of production with a briquette-making machine and a combination FDP and zero-till seed placement drill. The technologies will be demonstrated in different crops in collaboration with the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), IRRI, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research Directorate of Rapeseed-Mustard Research (ICAR-DRMR), and WorldVeg. Knowledge generation and skill development for stakeholders, with a major emphasis on youth and gender, is one of the key objectives of the project. An innovative business model for FDP will be developed with the farmer producer companies being established by APART in Assam state. The inception workshop was attended by the IFDC Asia team, including participants from Nepal and Bangladesh.