The Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS) Society, Government of Assam, has signed the extension of collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for transforming the rice-based agrifood systems in Assam under the World Bank funded Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART). The project focuses on promoting climate-resilient production and processing of prioritized agriculture and allied commodities, investment promotion, agri-entrepreneurship development, efficient marketing including market- intelligence and credit linkage. IRRI provides technical support to the Assam Agricultural University and Department of Agriculture for implementing the rice value chain activities under the project.
The extension agreement was signed by Dr. Ashish Bhutani, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam (Agriculture Department), Agriculture Production Commissioner & State Project Director and Dr. Ajay Kohli, IRRI Deputy Director General, Research Delivery & Innovations in the presence of Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director, IRRI South Asia Regional Centre, Varanasi, Dr. U.S Singh International Consultant, Mr.T.C Dhondiyal, Programme Manager, South Asia, IRRI, Dr. Kanwar Singh, Resident Coordinator, IRRI, Assam and Mr. Baljeet Singh, Market Analyst/Operations Specialist, ARIAS Society.
The second phase of the IRRI-APART collaboration will focus on the development of the rice value chain of Assam by developing and strengthening technology flow through ICT- and GIS-enabled agro-advisory systems, knowledge dissemination, and catalyzing adoption. It aims to upgrade the rice value chain by supporting Farmer Producer Companies through business models and disseminating and scaling out sustainable, resource-efficient, and climate-smart technologies suited to rice-based systems of Assam.
The first phase of the agreement was signed in March 2018 between ARIAS society, the Government of Assam and IRRI, and was designed to increase productivity of farmers. The major impactful activities were the promotion of stress-tolerant rice varieties, scale appropriate mechanization, post-harvest rice value chain practices, and development of digital platforms such as the Rice Knowledge Bank (RKB), Rice Doctor Assam, webGIS portal, identifying stress prone areas, and rice-fallow areas for cropping system intensification through GIS technologies. The extended collaboration of IRRI will bring new domains of intensification of rice value chain technologies in the project.