14 October 2013 A specialised CABI rice agri-advice pilot has been successfully implemented, so much so that following a multi-stakeholder donor workshop held in October, our centre in India is now working to increase its scale to the national level across India.
Rice growers can experience yield losses as high as 60%. As domestic demand for rice is now growing faster than production, practical measures that can raise rice productivity are attracting interest in India.
To minimise losses from weed competition, pest attack or poor crop nutrition, CABI, in collaboration with Indian agri-business, PI industries Ltd, has developed and delivered an agri-advisory service targeting rice extension workers and farmers in the Uttar Pradesh region. The aim has been to build capacity and skills to improve cultural practice and agronomy and ultimately boost yield.
Mimicking the drop-in centres of National Plant Health Systems, 16 plant doctors were trained. These doctors then delivering locally tailored advice at a series of plant clinics throughout the region.
The tailoring of advice has been an important element of the work, because Uttar Pradesh is a highly varied region, covering a wide range of rice-growing environments, soil types and agro-climatic zones. While this factor increased the pilots complexity, it has now armed CABI with the resources and experience to roll out a nationwide scheme.