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Gobeshona 6: Agriculture and Natural Resource Management

IRRI on the topic of Agriculture and Natural Resource Management

The first plenary session of the second day of Gobeshona 6 was hosted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Titled “Agriculture and Natural Resource Management”, the session included a panel of five presenters: Dr Humnath Bhandari, IRRI Representative, Bangladesh; Dr Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, Scientist, IRRI; Dr Manoranjan Mondal, Scientist, IRRI; Dr S M Mofijul Islam, SSO, BRRI; and Dr Ahmad Salahuddin, Consultant, IRRI, who was also the moderator of the session. 

The session began with the introductory presentation by Dr Humnath Bhandari, who discussed the background and history of IRRI, and its work in Bangladesh. The presentation posed as a preface to the following three presentations that touched on the topics of greenhouse gas emission mitigation, crop intensification, and development strategies of varietal climate smart rice.  

Dr Md Rafiqul Islam’s presentation was titled “Climate Smart Rice Varietal Development Strategies”. During his presentation, he stressed on the importance of creating and routinely consulting product profiles of various rice varities based on market demand. This will allow for the producers to have access to information and be able to adjust seeds based on need. He also spoke of using greenhouses for rice production to increase output. He said that it is possible to do 3.5-4 cycles per year in greenhouse conditions. 

Dr Manoranjan Mondal spoke on “Resource Management and Crop Intensification in the Coastal Zone of Bangladesh”. A video was shown on coastal agricultural conditions. He then spoke of how adopting agricultural practices such as sunflower farming, increases resilience of these community members as well as improving their livelihoods. 

One important aspect of his presentation was that not all water resources in the coastal zone are saline, so he urged the government of Bangladesh to take steps to ensure food security by utilising these water resources; use sluice gate regulators to improve irrigation techniques. 

He concluded by speaking on the implementation of resilient cropping techniques to ensure food security as these resilient cropping take natural disasters into account. 

Dr S M Mofijul Islam with Dr Salahuddin Ahmad presented on “Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Water Management Technical and Dissemination Issues”. 

Dr Islam gave a description of methods to measure GHG gases in their research. He said, “we can claim Carbon credit of nearly 41931 million taka if we implement AWD practice”, and strongly suggested the adoptation of AWD practice. Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) is a water-saving technology that farmers can apply to reduce their irrigation water consumption in rice fields without decreasing its yield. He also encouraged the screening of high yielding rice varieties with low methane emissions so producers can emphasise the production of those varieties to reduce the carbon footprint of rice cultivation. Before conluding, a case study of implementing AWD technology in North West Bangladesh was shown. The speakers said that we need to make sure such technologies are effectively disseminated into society in order to make a difference. 

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