Enhanced legumes production in Lao PDR through cross-country learning
Cross-country collaboration between Lao PDR, Vietnam, Nepal and India is leading to inclusion of legumes in crop rotation for soil nutrient sustainability as well as in the largely cereal-based daily diets of Lao PDR people which is leading to enhanced nutrition security. Researchers from Lao PDR received seeds of improved groundnut varieties and mung bean and learnt the sustainable intensification technologies of production for these two crops from their counterparts in Vietnam.
During a recent annual review meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) grant project, the project achievements were highlighted:
Major achievements during 2012-13 to 2015-16:
Intercropping with grain legumes was a key strategy identified to improve productivity and sustainability of rainfed agriculture in the project countries. Through farmer-participatory field trials, the productive intercropping options identified to intensify and diversify rainfed cropping systems in these regions were:
- Groundnut with maize in Lao PDR, Nepal and Vietnam
- Pigeonpea with maize in Nepal
- Pigeonpea with soybean in Madhya Pradesh, India
Other initiatives implemented included ridge planting systems; seed treatment; integrated pest management (IPM); integrated crop management (ICM); integrated nutrient management (INM); adoption of improved crop varieties and production technologies; promoting community-based seed production groups and market linkages. Drought forecasting as well as drought adaptation and mitigating strategies for the target regions are important components of the project.
Country specific achievements for the period of 2012-13 to 2015-16 cropping seasons are highlighted below.
- To ensure seed supply of improved varieties, 24 tons groundnut (L 23 and L 26 varieties) and seven tons of soybean (NAS-S1 variety) seed was produced at the research stations
- Farmers were linked with a local seed company in Cao Bang which purchased 500 tons of groundnut seed from the farmers benefiting them to the tune of US$120,000
- 808 farmers participated in seed production of improved varieties in their fields subsequently and produced 547 tons seed of groundnut (L 23 and L 26), mungbean (DX 208 and DXVN 7) and soybean (DT 26 and NAS-S1)
- 1,549 farmers (48% women) received formal training in improved crop production technologies including ICM, IPM and IPM; processing, storage and value addition in crops such as soybean, mungbean and groundnut.
- 223 farmers (44% women) participated in field days/fairs/exposure visits to witness improved technologies
- 110 tons of groundnut seed (Thainan 9 and KKU 6 varieties) was produced by 88 farmers including 18 women
- 285 farmers (43% women) received training in production technologies and intensive practices of mungbean, soybean and groundnut
- 60 farmers (52% women) witnessed new improved technologies on farmers’ fields
- 227 farmers produced 16 tons of chickpea (Avrodhi and KPG 173-4 varieties), bean (PB 0001, KBL 2 and KBL 3 varieties), pigeonpea (ICPL 88039 variety), lentil (Sagun, KPG 59, Khajura 1, Simal, ILL 7723, ILL 3738, RL 13, RL 4 and RL 6 varieties) and soybean (Pooja variety) on their fields through community based seed production system
- 426 farmers (52% women) were trained in seed production technologies of legumes and value addition
- 126 farmers (55% women) visited fields of other farmers who practiced improved technologies during four field days
- 432 farmers produced 19.2 tons of breeder seed and 8 tons TL seed of improved chickpea, pigeonpea and lentil varieties 3,971 farmers (50% women) received training in improved legume production technologies
- 1,941 farmers (45% women) participated in field visits and workshops to see and learn improved technologies in various crops
- Cross-country learning: Two scientists and two technical staff from Lao PDR received training in Vietnam at Center for Technology Transfer and Extension, VAAS on production technologies and intensive practices of mungbean, soybean and groundnut
- ICRISAT trained technical staff from all six locations in value addition in legumes in a training session conducted at ICRISAT-India
- ICRISAT trained four scientists (two each from Laos and Vietnam) in production technologies of chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut. The participants also received training on mungbean production technology through the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) on the campus during the same period.
At the review meeting, climate change effects in project sites were highlighted as a growing concern, particularly less water availability. Over 10,000 ha of rice area suffered from low water availability in Vietnam last year, which was not witnessed earlier over such a large extent. Dr Nguyen Hong San, Vice President, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) noted that in the wake of these climate change scenarios, there is an urgent need to move away from low net-income earning rice crop to high net-income alternative crops in upland areas. Climate resilient grain legumes are the best alternative crops for these regions. Dr Wani, Research Program Director-Asia, ICRISAT, urged the partners to document the success stories of the project and make them available on the project website to facilitate cross-learning.
Dr Nguyen Thanh Tung, Country Presence Officer, IFAD Vietnam, said that IFAD is looking forward for continued partnerships to achieve enhanced productivity of legumes and resilience to climate change scenarios through the linkages established between researchers, partners and farmers.
In Rajasthan, India, it was observed that improved varieties/hybrids crops have contributed significantly to intensification of crop production in the target areas. The NGO Mitigating Poverty in Western Rajasthan (MPOWER) is the project partner in Rajasthan The improved varieties are contributing to enhanced crop yield and net income to farmers. Simple interventions like seed coating of Molybdenum in pigeonpea, intercropping of pigeonpea with soybean and ridge-planting of pigeonpea have contributed to significant yield increase in the project sites of Madhya Pradesh state in India.
The four-year IFAD grant project (2012-13 to 2015-16) “Sustainable Management of Crop-based Production Systems for Raising Agricultural Productivity in Rainfed Asia” is implemented in Nepal (western mid-level hills region), India (Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan), Lao PDR (northern and southern areas) and Vietnam (Ha Tinh and Cao Bang provinces). This project has received a one year no-cost extension (2016-17).
IFAD grant projects are linked to IFAD loan projects in their respective countries. Grant projects, through pilot projects develop scaleable technologies that the loan projects adopt and upscale in the respective regions.
The fourth annual review meeting was held from 25-27 May at VAAS, Hanoi, Vietnam. The participants included Dr Hong Son, Ms Thi Thu Trang Nguyen, Ms Thanh Huong Dao and Dr NT Chinh from VAAS, Vietnam; Dr Vinoth Vansi from SNRMPEP, Lao PDR; Dr Netra Hari Ghimire from NARC, Nepal; Dr Ashok Tikle and Dr HS Yadava from RVSKVV, India; Mr Brij Kishore from MPOWER, India; and Dr Suhas P Wani, Dr Pooran Gaur, Dr Sameer Kumar, Dr P Janila and Dr Srinivasan from ICRISAT. The progress was reviewed and the work plans for 2016-17 were prepared.