Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia

Established in 2009, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA)—a project jointly implemented by IFPRI, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), with support from USAID—has been fostering durable change at scale in the region’s cereal- based cropping system. IFPRI’s work on the adoption of new technology, intellectual property rights, and public- private partnerships, among others, has contributed to developing a more productive cereal system in the region.

One of IFPRI’s notable research projects for CSISA looked at the economic and environmental trade-offs associated with poorly targeted subsidies for laser land- leveler (LLL) equipment in India. As part of this study, in 2013 the government adopted CSISA-recommended alternative strategies, which improved the effectiveness of these subsidies in eastern Uttar Pradesh. In addition, from 2012 to 2015, CSISA helped establish networks of service providers that rent agriculture machines to smallholder farmers in eastern India. Because of better access to these machines, thousands of smallholder farmers increased their productivity. Over 50,000 hectares of zero-tillage wheat was sown between 2013 and 2014 across Bihar and Uttar Pradesh— 42 percent more than the previous year. Additionally, IFPRI’s research strengthened the quality of the debate around the development of seed systems in South Asia. For example, IFPRI and CIMMYT contributed to discussions   at  the  National  Seed  Summit  in  Nepal  in  2015,  which was convened by the country’s Ministry of Agricultural Development. This event translated Nepal’s Seed Vision 2025 into concrete implementation steps, emphasizing reforms to the variety registration quality control and private-sector investment. The summit also facilitated a US$15 million investment from USAID to strengthen the country’s  seed system.