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Sustainable and resilient farming systems intensification in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (SRFSI)

Project Code: CSE/2011/077
Program: Crops
Research Program Manager: Dr. Eric Huttner
Project Leader: Thakur Tiwari - International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
MAY 2014
JUN 2020
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Key partners
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute
Bihar Agricultural University
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
Curtin University of Technology
Department of Agricultural Extension
Indian Council of Agricultural Research
International Food Policy Research Institute
International Rice Research Institute
International Water Management Institute
Nepal Agricultural Research Council
Nepal Department of Agriculture
Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service
University of New England
University of Queensland
Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya


This project increased the value of the largest freshwater fishery in the world, in the Eastern Gangetic Plains, through improved irrigation design. 

The Eastern Gangetic Plains (EGP) of Bangladesh, India and Nepal is home to 300 million people. With the world’s highest concentration of rural poverty, communities depend on a strong dependence on agriculture for food security and livelihoods. 

The EGP has the potential to become a major contributor to South Asian regional food security. However, rice and wheat productivity remain low and diversification is limited. Labour shortages are also becoming more acute. 

These factors lead to smallholder vulnerability, climate and market risks that limit farmer and private sector investments in productivity-enhancing technologies. 

The project is a collaboration between more than 20 partners representing the research, development and educational sectors, taking place in 40 locations in the EGP. It is contributing towards sustainable and resilient farming intensification in the region and making smallholder agriculture more productive, profitable and sustainable, while safeguarding the environment, and encouraging women to participate.  

Project outcomes

  • Technology: The project promoted conservation agriculture-based system intensification (CASI) technology that helped to change agriculture in the region. It also proved more profitable – in particular, zero-till wheat and maize in India and Nepal, along with strip-till maize and wheat in Bangladesh, consistently showed higher yield performance and lower production costs. 
  • Research: The research indicates that best agronomic practices coupled with new seeds can increase productivity. These technologies and practices have more positive economic returns; use less water, labour and energy; and are lowering the greenhouse gas emissions. These project benefits were realised by some 100,000 farmers. 
  • Partnerships: Some partners have activities from this project in their regular program, which helps guarantee ownership beyond the life of the project. 
  • Gender: Nearly one-third of the total beneficiaries have been women.