In February, ACIAR’s Crop Improvement & Management program manager, Dr Eric Huttner, visited Bangladesh to check on progress of ACIAR projects in the region. Here he describes the research with pulses, which is aiming to improve people’s nutrition as well as provide benefits to the soil and livestock...
|A young girl holds a basket of weeds with which to feed livestock|
Earlier this year I visited on-farm field trials of ACIAR’s Bangladesh pulses project. This project is exploring intensification of rice-based cropping systems with pulses, in 10 districts in western Bangladesh.
|Field day. |
Farmers and project leader Professor William Erskine (centre)
The research includes trials with local farmers on their land, using different pulse crops, varieties and growing practices. The researchers, farmers and others get together on field days to talk about the progress.
|Farmer Minto with his lentils|
Growing pulses in this way has multiple benefits for the farmer. Pulses provide a good source of protein nutrition for the family, and also provide opportunities to generate income from an extra crop. The cropping practices also benefit the farming system through improvements to the soil, and providing a source of fodder for livestock. The pulse plants themselves, or weeds from the field (as in the photo at top), can be used as feed.
|Farmers and project staff survey the fields|
|Program Manager Eric Huttner inspects a field of pulses (right)|
Eric is in the field with Dr Israil Hussain,
who is involved in another ACIAR project in Bangladesh
Over the next 3 years, the project will continue trials with farmers, of different crops, varieties and growing practices, to come up with recommendations for farmers of what will work best.
By Dr Eric Huttner, ACIAR’s Crop Improvement & Management program manager
ACIAR project Introduction of short duration pulses into rice-based cropping systems in western Bangladesh
ACIAR’s medium-term strategy for Bangladesh