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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 18

A project supported by USAID in collaboration with DAE Notes from Chief of Party, AAPI

Inside this issue:

Balanced Fertilization: the key to increase crop production, fertilizer use efficiency and environmental protection


AAPI’s Special Monitoring Initiatives/Activities


The Multi-Level Benefits of Guti Urea: A National Perspective


AAPI Introduces Most Efficient UDP Applicator to Date


Activity Achievements July 26 to August 27, 2012


AAPI Events in September 2012


AAPI News Bulletin is a monthly publication of the AAPI project.

This month AAPI saw the start of the Aus harvest. As reported in earlier Bulletins, the areas were down on average but it would seem that those who actually managed to get a crop planted are getting good yields and once again urea deep placement (UDP) technology is proving its worth. We will report results next month. The Aman crop is now being transplanted. The weather is again playing games with our farmers. Those in the north and the south west are not getting enough rain to plant. Seedlings are getting old while they

August 31, 2012

wait for the rain to transplant. Unlike Aus, Aman is an important food crop for all farmers and they cannot afford to miss. Many are turning on the irrigation pumps to supplement the water for transplanting. This is going to push the costs up but they cannot afford to lose this crop as it is their food security. Meanwhile those in the south are being affected by flooding from high tides. While this is an annual event, it seems the impacts get worse every year as the hydrology of the rivers and canals change. On Sunday, August 5, the project was honored by the attendance of the Honorable Minister of Agriculture Mrs Matia Chowdhury, MP at a

Subscriptions are free. IFDC is a Public International Organization (PIO) based in Alabama, USA. IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries. Managing Editor: Ishrat Jahan Resident Representative IFDC Bangladesh Eurasia Division and Project Coordinator, AAPI Design and Layout: Syed Afzal Hossain Data Management Unit, AAPI

Mrs Matia Chowdhury, MP and Honorable Minister of Agriculture distributing UDP applicators to farmers in the AAPI Applicator Distribution Workshop. Mr. Monzur Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Richard Greene, Mission Director, USAID; and Ms Ishrat Jahan, IFDC Resident Representative were also present.

The views expressed in this bulletin do not necessarily reflect views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government

AAPI NEWS BULLETIN AAPI News Bulletin Contact Persons: Ishrat Jahan Grahame D. Hunter Address: Dhaka Office: Road No. 62, House No. 4B, Apt-B2 Gulshan - 2, Dhaka -1212 Bangladesh Tel: 880-2-9894288 880-2-8817391 Fax: 880-2-8826109 Website: Barisal Office: “Zohora” 834 (New) Police Line Road, Barisal Tel: 0431-2176566 Jessore Office: 1351 Police Line Road Talikhola, Puraton Kasba Jessore Tel: 0421-60986 AAPI Management: Ishrat Jahan, Project Coordinator; Grahame D. Hunter, Chief of Party; Md. Mofizul Islam, Sr. Agriculture Specialist; Dr. Shaharuk Ahmed, Md. Fozlul Hoque, Md. Iqbal Hossain, Dr. Badirul Islam, Agriculture Specialists; Md. Shamsul Alam, Abul Hossain Mollah, Mahmood Hussain, Dr. AKM Farhad Training Specialists; Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid Mia, Mainul Ahsan, Soil Scientists; Md. Nurul Islam, Market/Business Development Specialist; Ram Proshad Ghosh, Mechanical Engineer; Dr. Abdul Wohab, Agriculture Engineer; Rubina Islam, Gender Specialist; Syed Afzal Mahmood Hossain, Senior Data Management Specialist; Farin Islam, M&E Specialist; AFM Saleh Chowdhury, Chief Accountant; Bishnu Rup Chowdhury, Administrative and Procurement Officer

Volume 18 workshop on UDP Applicators. One hundred and ninety three people attended and the Minister distributed an injector type applicator to fifty farmers from Gopalganj, Barisal, Jessore, Mymensingh and Sherpur. In her speech the Minister urged the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to introduce a farmerfriendly balanced fertilizer package similar to urea supergranules (known in Bangladesh as 'Guti Urea'). Mr. Richard Greene, Mission Director, USAID was the Special Guest and Mr. Monzur Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture was Chairperson at the workshop.

Balanced Fertilization: The Key to Increase Crop Production, Fertilizer Use Efficiency and Environmental Protection

This month Dr Mazid Miah, AAPI Soil Scientist, has written an article to explain the benefits of balanced fertilizer. As the article says, many farmers do not practice balanced fertilization and this accounts for low yields, loss of economic benefits and degraded soils. AAPI’s message of balanced fertilization directly addresses this problem. Farin Islam, AAPI Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, has an article on our special monitoring initiatives, in particular the surveys we employ to measure gross margin and jobs created by AAPI initiatives. It is important that we can document our achievements to give us all confidence that the project is achieving its objectives of food security and income growth. There is another article written on the multilevel benefits of Guti urea. A short article written on the introduction of the most efficient UDP applicator to date will ensure interest among the farmers for rapid expansion of the technology

Soil nutrients are rapidly declining as land is used for increased agricultural production; nutrients are extracted from the soil through this cop production. Fertilizers restore those nutrients that are lost and therefore stabilize and even increase crop production. Plants, like people, need balanced nutrition for normal growth and good health. Unlike people (who require a variety of foods), crop plants need only 17 nutrients to grow normally if those nutrients are supplied in the proper balance.

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As plants grow, they absorb and deplete nutrients from the soil. Farmers remove those same nutrients permanently when they harvest their crops. Fertilizers, whether mineral or organic, nourish the soil by returning these essential mineral nutrients. IFDC estimates that about half of the world’s population is alive today because of increased food production fueled by mineral fertilizers.

Nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen are in abundance in the air and water, and plants use sunlight to produce organic compounds. The remaining nutrients, including nitrogen, must come from the soil. Even nitrogen from the air can only get to the plant through the soil. Balanced fertilization is not just the supply of nutrients, but more specifically is the provision of the required nutrients at the appropriate time to achieve a good harvest. Balanced fertilization not only accelerates plant nutrient


Volume 18 carbon being stored in the soil, thus slowing atmospheric enrichment of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Healthy, vigorous crops – the result of balanced nutrition – produce a quicker canopy to protect the soil against rainfall and wind, thus reducing the potential for erosion. Extra surface plant residue left behind after the harvest of high yielding crops further protects against erosion and runoff.

uptake and maintains soil nutrient balance, but also increases yield, crop quality and farmers’ incomes while improving the quality of the environment. Unfortunately, it is true that most of our farmers do not practice balanced fertilization. As a result, farmers not only receive poor yields and make less profit, but they are also degrading the soils.

Balanced fertilized crops produce more yields per unit area, releasing fragile lands for other important and safer uses such as wild life habitats and recreational areas; this is a critical point to consider since arable land per person is shrinking, and in some areas, land that is unfit for sustained agricultural production continues to be farmed.

There are many examples around the world that show how fertilizer balance increases fertilizer use efficiency. More efficient use of fertilizer means less can be used to attain high yields. This is good for the farmer and good for the environment. Research has shown that when nitrogen (N) is balanced with phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and other essential nutrients, crop yields increase, as does N use efficiency. That means more N is used by the crop and less is left in the soil and water as a potential pollutant.

In order to maintain a balance between adequate food production and environmental protection over the long term, crop yields must continue to increase. Science leaves no doubt that every increase will be possible only through the proper use of plant nutrition and other best management practices. *** AAPI’s Special Monitoring Initiatives/ Activities AAPI assesses its progress and achievements through monitoring, utilizing asset of indicators that measure the performance of all activities, their corresponding outcomes and final impacts. These indicators are measured through different surveys such as a block survey, crop cut survey, performance evaluation surveys, various monitoring forms and weekly field monitoring officers’ (FMO) monitoring reports. Since the incorporation of new USAID Feed the Future (FTF) indicators at the end of 2011, AAPI has conducted a number of special surveys to specifically estimate these new indicators.

NPK briquettes

Another benefit of balanced nutrient use is increased water use efficiency by crops. Water use efficiency can be increased by as much as 200 percent and more simply by supplying essential nutrients in the proper balance. By growing more crops per hectare through proper nutrient balance, farmers can also help to alleviate the detrimental effect of global warming. Increased crop biomass results in more

One such survey is the gross margin survey, which began during Aman 2011 and is being conducted every season henceforth. This survey is 3


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conducted on a randomly selected representative sample of farmers from AAPI project areas. Farmers are interviewed by independent enumerators on size of land cultivated, cost of inputs (such as seed, irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, hired labor and land rent), production and sale of paddy. With that information, a gross margin is calculated by measuring the difference between revenue earned by selling paddy and straw and the costs incurred during production of the paddy. An improvement in gross margin reflects an increase in a farmer’s net income and profitability, which will lead to improved financial status and reduced poverty. As per the FTF indicator definition and guidelines provided by USAID experts, the gross margin is calculated in financial terms.

FTF indicator of jobs attributed to AAPI intervention. Briquette producers were asked to provide details of the number of employees who worked in their firms to date, along with their names and addresses in standardized forms. Only those jobs that were held for a minimum of one month were taken into account in this census. The census covered 593 firms that bought machines through March 2012. The results showed that, on average, there were 1.67 jobs created per firm; this number has been used to calculate the total number of jobs in briquette shops under AAPI. The gender distribution of these jobs was found to be 99 percent male. Beginning in Boro 2012, AAPI has also begun collecting information on the locations of urea briquette machines, UDP demonstration and trial plots and UDP blocks in each season using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices; this information is then reported in the quarterly reports using graphical maps.

The survey results in the past Aman 2011 and Boro 2012 seasons demonstrated that farmers generate extra income by using urea deep placement (UDP, also known commonly as Guti urea) compared with broadcasted urea; yields are also higher on average with UDP. The higher productivity and higher profitability of paddy cultivation using UDP (viz-a-viz the national average) confirms that using UDP is a viable option for sustainable food production and food security.

These new surveys and GPS maps are effective toward the further strengthening of AAPI’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system, allowing the project to closely track all activities and evaluate their impacts. The technology is facilitating better implementation, decisionmaking and prioritization of processes within the AAPI project.

Weighted Average Gross Margin per Hectare (Taka) Aman 2011 Boro 2012

UDP 44,913 33,504

Broadcasted Urea 27,903 15,299


Source: Gross Margin Survey, Aman 2011 and Boro 2012

The Multi-Level Benefits of Guti Urea: A National Perspective

The use of Guti urea is not only helping increase yields of paddy production, but it is also helping to create jobs in rural areas. There has been a significant rise in employment in urea briquette producer’s shops, as more workers are required to engage in the UDP briquette production process. With the increased demand for UDP briquette fertilizer, the number of jobs is steadily rising in these firms. In April 2012; AAPI conducted a census of urea briquette machine shops to measure

Amazed by the healthy paddy, larger sheaves and higher yields made possible through the use of UDP, known locally as Guti urea, many farmers have termed the fertilizer ‘Magic Guti.’ Many even ask if a vitamin is placed in the UDP briquettes. These questions reflect the effectiveness of UDP, a technology that is applied on nearly 1.0 million hectares (ha) out of 15 million ha of land used in rice production during Bangladesh’s three growing seasons each year. 4


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According to AAPI field surveys, the use of Guti urea enhances rice yields by around 20 percent, while reducing the overall use of urea fertilizer by 30 percent. While farmers’ gross margins using Guti during Boro season 2012 averaged Tk. 33,504 (US $455) per ha, margins were Tk. 15,299 (US $208) per ha for farmers using broadcast urea. During the Aman season 2011, the gross margin per ha using Guti urea was Tk. 44,913 (US $609) – using broadcast urea, the margin was Tk. 27,903 (US $379) per ha.

amounts of natural gas. Often, the government must stop supplies of natural gas to the fertilizer factories to ensure the availability of gas to other industries or to power plants. Even still, households often suffer from the lack of gas supply, which often prompts public outcry in the cities. The more extensive use of Guti urea could address these national issues to a great extent, if not fully.

Such additional profit is the prime factor driving farmers to use Guti urea. However, there are even greater aspects of UDP technology that are of paramount importance from a national perspective.

Subsidies offered to various sectors area huge burden for the governments of developing nations. Bangladesh is no exception. For the next fiscal year, the Government of Bangladesh has allocated Tk. 60 billion (US $814 million) in farm sector subsidies; that is 7.7 percent less than the current fiscal budget of Tk.65 billion (US $882 million). This huge burden could be cut substantially with the expansion of Guti urea use. In 2011, the average urea price in the international market was US $400/mt. The subsidy for one mt of urea during Boro season 2011 was assumed to be US $285.71. Considering this fact, nearly US $26 million (Tk. 2.15 billion) in subsidies is being saved with the use of Guti urea on 1.0 million hectares of land.

Reduction of Subsidy Costs

Food Security As a nation with a population of over 150 million, one that also faces a decline in available farmland, Bangladesh imports dozens of metric tons (mt) of food items each year. Increased rice yields through the use of Guti urea are already helping the government cut these import costs. An AAPI calculation suggests at least 586.92 kilograms (kg) more milled rice was produced per ha due to the use of Guti urea during Boro season 2011.Considering this incremental production, some 586,000 mt of additional milled rice are produced on 1.0 million ha through the use of Guti urea. Imagine how much rice production could be increased if the technology were used on at least half of the total land used for rice cultivation. The result could be as much as 4.4 million mt of additional rice output annually. Bangladesh could not only become self-sufficient in its national rice supply, but could also become a net exporter of rice!

Saving of Foreign Exchange Considering the average import price of rice at US $450/mt, Bangladesh presently saves US $263.7 million annually by not importing 586,000 mt of milled rice that it instead produces using Guti urea on 1.0 million hectares of land. By using the UDP technology, the country also saves US $36.4 million annually by not importing 91,000 mt of urea. So, the use of Guti urea on only 1.0 million ha of land allows the saving of some US $300 million ($263.7+$36.4 million). The saving of this foreign currency can dramatically improve the government’s ability to maintain balance of payment and facilitate the importation of heavy machinery for local industries – or build infrastructures that create large employment opportunities and improve businesses, which combined, can positively affect the overall economy.

Saving Urea Fertilizer and Natural Gas AAPI has found that 91 kg of urea is saved per ha in the application of Guti urea during Boro season. This means that 91,000 mt of urea are being saved using the technology on 1.0 million ha. The production of urea fertilizer requires substantial 5


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Protection of Environment

been a strong advocate for an effective UDP applicator in the production of irrigated rice.

Under the traditional practice of broadcasting urea onto the soil surface, nitrogen (N) efficiency is only 30-40 percent. The remainder of the N is lost to the environment through ammonia volatilization, denitrification, leaching and runoff. In flooded rice, ammonia volatilization can account for 20-80 percent of N loss. Being transported and deposited in gaseous or dissolved forms, N can negatively impact the surrounding ecosystem. Moreover, nitrate can convert into nitrous oxide, a very powerful greenhouse gas that is a major factor causing climate change, a hot global issue of the day. Guti urea, which is placed deep into the soil near the root zone, is a vital technology to avert these dangers. If UDP technology is more extensively adopted, Bangladesh can earn global recognition by showing the world that a small, developing nation can be just as effective in helping to reduce greenhouse gases as any larger, more developed nation.

AAPI scientists say farmers can easily control the applicator to apply briquettes 7.0 to 7.5 centimeters beneath the surface soil in the paddy field. Farmers do not need to bend down while using the technology, which will save 15-20 percent of the time that is required to apply the briquettes. Fifty farmers were provided with applicators at the program.

While increased productivity and reduced production costs are the major concerns of individual farmers, the nation and its economy is benefit substantially from UDP technology, which is perfectly termed by the farmers as Magic Guti.

Farmer using AAPI injector-type applicator

Lauding IFDC’s role in expanding Guti urea, the Minister said that she looks forward to the day when scientists develop an automatic Guti applicator to ensure greater efficiency and save even more time. Farmers of the country have long toiled to feed the nation; scientists serve a crucial role in making these farmers’ efforts less difficult by developing new technologies.

*** AAPI Introduces Most Efficient UDP Applicator to Date In a significant development, IFDC has introduced an improved UDP applicator that is, to date, the most efficient model made available to Bangladeshi farmers. The new applicator is expected to cut the labor costs and time required to apply the urea briquettes, or Guti urea, manually. The injector-type applicator received praise from dignitaries during an August 5th workshop at the auditorium of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC).

The Minister also called upon IFDC to develop a complete package of balanced fertilizer, including muriate of potash (MoP), triple superphosphate (TSP) and urea, as the indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers has been harmful to the soil, and fertilizer import costs continue to rise. “Fertilizer production at home also consumes much-needed natural gas,” Minister Chowdury said.

“I thank will save to some Minister

Agriculture Secretary Monzur Hossain termed development of the applicator as a “revolutionary advancement.” Secretary Hossain indicated that if the applicator has some deficiencies they could

IFDC for developing the applicator. It time, labor costs and ease farmers’ woes extent,” said Bangladesh Agriculture Matia Chowdhury, who has for years 6


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surely be improved on the basis of farmers’ feedback. On use of UDP, he noted that the 30 percent reduction in the use of urea under the technology means huge saving in both subsidy and natural gas costs. “The saved natural gas could be used to generate power,” Hossain added.

AAPI Events in September 2012 In the month of September 2012, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Aus and Aman paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.  172 batches of training for Aman farmers

IFDC Resident Representative Ishrat Jahan said that IFDC would continue to improve the applicator. Jahan indicated that a process is underway to incorporate a device with the new applicator so that UDP briquettes can be applied maintaining appropriate spacing in the paddy field.

 138 demo plots establish for Aman  5 trial plots establish for Aman  Sale of 40 briquette machine  2 motivational field trips  1 SAAO’s meeting

Terming AAPI a very effective project, USAID Mission Director Richard Greene said the IFDC project is helping accelerate Bangladesh’s economic and agricultural growth by enhancing rice yields, saving fertilizer and cutting rice production costs. “It is also good for environment,” he said.

 20 demo crop cut for Aus  7 trial crop cut for Aus  258 farmers field crop cut for Aus  5 field days for Aus  4 stakeholders workshop for Aman  Continue Block Survey for Aus 2012

*** Activity Achievements July 26 to August 27, 2012

From July 26 to August 27, 2012, AAPI successfully completed activities as shown in the following table. Indicator Aman season UDP coverage for Aman Farmer training Extension staff meeting Orientation Training Rice field demonstration Rice trials Motivational field trips Stakeholder workshops Sale of briquette machines Briquette owner training Aus season harvest Rice demonstration harvest Rice trials cut Field days Crop cuts in farmers field


ha Batches No. No. No. No. Batches Batches Batches Batches No. No. No. No.


Achievement in August 2012

Achievement to date

% of Target

503,275 2,752 10 26 422 36 10 8 90 7

350,920 1,353





























129 14 15 167













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AAPI Bulleting Vol 18 August 2012 (English)  
AAPI Bulleting Vol 18 August 2012 (English)  

AAPI Bulleting Vol 18 August 2012 (English)