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ISARC hosts workshop to address impacts of climate change on major cereal crops in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh

VARANASI, INDIA, 26 November 2023 - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi hosted Prioritizing Agronomy in Changing Environment (PAiCE),  an international workshop on adaptation options addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on rice, wheat, and maize. The objectives of the workshop are to identify the potential adaptation options, evaluate them, and validate them for prioritization in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

“PAiCE is an interactive tool developed to aid in the prioritization process of mitigating climatic hazards and the identification of adaptation options,” said ISARC Director Sudhanshu Singh. “It deals with the system characterization of key crops based on their area and economic value of production and the identification and prioritization of major climatic challenges and hazards for each crop and season.

“The workshop would lead to a discussion on multidimensional adaptation strategies based on the impact, cost, and value of potential adaptation options to harness maximum benefits for specific regions and crops,” Dr. Sudhanshu added.

The workshop was jointly organized by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), a regional program of Excellence in Agronomy (EiA), Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia (TAFSSA),  and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (ICAR-CRIDA), Hyderabad.

Addressing the event, ICAR-CRIDA Director Dr. V. K. Singh appreciated the world-class and technologically advanced scientific facilities available at ISARC that could help the stakeholders associated with IRRI in accelerating and scaling their knowledge and services. “We are highly thankful to ISARC for hosting this workshop and providing an excellent platform for the distinguished agronomy experts from different agencies across South Asia to interact among themselves and discuss the third module of the PAiCE tool. The main objectives of the workshop are to identify the potential adaptation options, evaluate them, and validate them for prioritization. I am hopeful that at the end of the workshop, we will have an efficient and validated module for the eastern IGP (Bihar and UP)”, Dr. Singh remarked.

EiA aims to increase the productivity and quality per unit of input (agronomic gain) of millions of smallholder farming households in prioritized farming systems by 2030. The initiative emphasizes women and young farmers, showing a measurable impact on food and nutrition security, income, resource use, soil health, climate resilience, and climate change mitigation.

“As part of its mandate, EiA intends to undertake stakeholder consultations/workshops to understand the priority areas of interventions to address production constraints and emerging challenges confronting smallholder farmers within Bihar and the eastern Indo-Gangetic Plain,” said Virender Kumar, research leader of the Climate-adaptive Agronomy & Mechanization Unit at IRRI.

“The prioritization is targeted to consider the climate adaptation and mitigation options based on the potential hazards, as well as sustainable intensification practices relevant to different crops and cropping systems in the region,” Dr. Kumar said. “In this context, EiA-CSISA and ICAR-CRIDA started building a participatory approach in co-designing and developing implementation plans in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh”.

Peter Crafurd, CIMMYT country representative for Nepal, emphasized the importance of PAiCE.

“The speed of climate change is accelerating, often in unpredictable ways,” Dr. Craffurd said. “Increasing climate resilience will pay dividends now and as a foundation for long-term adaptation. Collectively, testing assumptions and marshaling evidence for specific response options will build consensus and coherence across research, development, and policy networks.”

He added that disaggregating R&D, scaling, and risk transfer priorities will help make the most of public and private sector investment and that the clearly articulated priorities for specific production ecology contexts will empower rapid adaptation transitions.