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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 24

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

Inside this issue:

UDP in Aman 2012


UDP in Maize: Chuadanga Farmers’ Experience


Necessity for Sustainable Adoption of UDP Technology


UDP Enhanced Early Harvest of Cabbage and Productivity


AAPI Events in March 2013


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

This month we are publishing some of the results of Aman 2012. We had 571,778 hectares (ha) under urea deep placement (UDP) in our project area. The average yield was 4.9 tons/ha compared with 4.3 tons/ha in fields where urea was broadcast, sometimes two or three times. Urea savings were, on average, 47 kilograms (kg)/ha. Once again, the results show that less urea produces higher yields. This all translates to more food and more income from sales and input cost savings.

February 28, 2013

The month has been very busy for farmers and AAPI staff. The cold weather through January delayed transplantation of the Boro crop, and the season is approximately three weeks behind this time last year. Still, as the weather warms, the farmers are out from daylight to dark transplanting. The experts are confident the season will be as good as last year, remembering that the last Boro was a “bumper crop”. Farm gate paddy prices have moved up in the last month, and this is giving farmers some encouragement. Let’s hope the prices hold.

Agreement Officer’s Technical Representative (AOTR) Visits the Green House Gas Emissions Project (GHG), February 13-14, 2013

Subscriptions are free. International Fertilizer Development Center (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

Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU) GHG Trial site. Left to right: Field Lab Supervising Engineer Mr Md Bin Kalid, Junior Scientist Mr Azmul Huda, AOTR USAID Mr Aniruddha Roy, Project Coordinator Ms Ishrat Jahan, Chief of Party (COP) Mr Grahame Hunter, BAU Principal Investigator Dr Rafiqul Islam

The views expressed in this bulletin do not necessarily reflect views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 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; Sonia Kutubuddin, Activity Coordinator, 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 24 In this edition, we have an article by Dr Shaharuk Ahmed, AAPI agriculture specialist, about the adoption of UDP technology in the Chuadanga district maize crop. Through December 2012 and January 2013, we have run workshops with briquette shop owners to discuss issues and receive a commitment from them to sustain the Guti urea production. This is a critical element in the sustainability of the technology. Md. Al Mobasher Hussen, AAPI training officer, has provided a synopsis of the results of seven workshops.

districts that received assistance under the Improved Livelihood for Sidr-Affected Rice Farmers (ILSAFARM) project are now approaching 80 percent high yielding rice varieties (HYV).

14,150 16,787 25,620 34,351 21,461 12,733 2,061 66,192 8,313 43,753 15,190 1,835 24,462 10,705 14,310 67,112 8,589 12,178 28,718 771 429,291

% of HYV Area Under UDP 75 76 67 48 51 42 59 50 87 47 47 80 47 46 57 70 72 49 43 65 54







M&S Total:




UDP in Aman 2012

Grand Total:




The results for Aman 2012 are in, and the significant benefits of UDP have been demonstrated once again. UDP coverage and yield increments are the two factors that define our results. The AAPI project in Bangladesh collects the data by conducting block survey and crop cuts in farmers’ fields. The tables below display the UDP coverage and crop cuts in all project districts. Some UDP areas in

Source: AAPI Block Survey, Aman 2012 Note: FTF = Feed the Future M&S = Mymensingh and Sherpur

Dr Badirul Islam has an interesting result from our cabbage demonstrations. Not only are we using less urea and getting a higher yield, but the crop reaches harvest size at least a week earlier. That allows the growers to catch the early season prices that are some Tk. (Bangladesh currency) 5/head higher than later season prices. Farmers also noted that the UDP plots reach harvest size uniformly, allowing them to harvest whole fields rather than picking over the crop on a daily basis as they must do using traditional practices. ***


District Bagerhat Barguna Barisal Bhola Chuadanga Faridpur Gopalganj Jessore Jhalokati Jhenaidah Khulna Madaripur Magura Meherpur Narail Patuakhali Pirojpur Rajbari Satkhira Shariatpur FTF Total: Mymensingh Sherpur

Total UDP Area (Ha)

UDP in Other crops (Ha) 32.88 2.00 172.75 39.45 1.33 16.00 10.97 275.38

The yield results from crop cuts also show encouraging results despite the drought that occurred in the early stage of Aman 2012 transplantation. Other key results include:  1,806,395 farmers used UDP.

AAPI NEWS BULLETIN District Bagerhat Barguna Barisal Bhola Chuadanga Faridpur Gopalganj Jessore Jhalokati Jhenaidah Khulna Madaripur Magura Meherpur Narail Patuakhali Pirojpur Rajbari Satkhira Shariatpur FtF Average: Mymensingh Sherpur M&S Average: AAPI Average: CV (%)

Volume 24 Paddy Yield using Guti Urea (Kg/Ha) 4,852 4,878 4,767 5,329 5,050 5,267 5,164 4,894 4,751 5,537 5,389 4,217 4,963 5,185 5,045 5,046 4,539 5,306 4,995 3,837 5,067 4,496 4,363 4,467 4,911 13.40

Paddy Yield using Prilled Urea (Kg/Ha) 4,298 4,460 4,316 4,977 4,383 4,563 4,665 4,336 4,184 4,880 4,765 3,589 4,308 4,639 4,308 4,413 4,043 4,589 4,508 3,626 4,495 3,825 3,735 3,805 4,316 15.13

Yield Difference Kg/Ha Paddy Rice % 554 371 13% 418 280 9% 451 302 10% 352 236 7% 667 447 15% 704 472 15% 499 334 11% 558 374 13% 567 380 14% 657 440 13% 624 418 13% 628 421 17% 655 439 15% 546 366 12% 737 494 17% 633 424 14% 496 332 12% 717 480 16% 487 326 11% 211 141 6% 572 383 13% 671 450 18% 628 421 17% 662 444 17% 595 399 14%

Source: AAPI Crop Cuts, Aman 2012

UDP in Maize: Chuadanga Farmers’ Experience

 Average urea savings were 47 kg/ha. [This translates to a saving of over 26,000 MT of urea.]  Government of Bangladesh savings on urea subsidies amounted to United States dollar (USD) 7.6 million.

Maize is the second largest cereal crop in Bangladesh and one of the most important dry season cash crops for Chuadanga farmers. It covers approximately 43 percent of the area – that is, 42,000 ha out of a total crop area of 98,000 ha. Overall annual rainfall and temperature and the particular agro-climate land type opened a new opportunity for farmers to grow maize in this district. Specifically, the agro-climate and land types are:

To achieve the reported results (as quarter 8 performance), the following activities were completed:  827 urea briquette machines operated throughout the project Upazilas.  116,583 farmers were trained. (Of these farmers, 33,223 were women).  552 UDP demonstrations were conducted.  64 field days were organized.  35 stakeholder workshops took place.  10 motivational field trips were conducted.

Land: 43 percent high land, 33 percent medium high land and the remainder medium to low land. Soil: 33 percent loamy soil, 23 percent clay loam soil and 22 percent clay soil. Hydrology: 43 percent imperfectly drained, 38 percent poorly drained. The present price and productivity of maize make it competitive with Boro rice and potatoes. Many farmers were of the opinion that although maize is




Volume 24

comparatively an input-intensive crop, a higher return over Boro rice is possible due to the need for less irrigation and the stable market price of maize.

Guti urea in their maize fields this season. Their crops are now in the vegetative to reproductive stages.

Rabiul Islam of Alamdanga deep placing Guti urea in his maize plot.

All users expressed positive attitudes towards Guti urea and said that it helped them reduce urea application by approximately 30-40 percent. This enabled them to save about Taka 600-700/bigha on the cost of urea fertilizer.

Deep placement of urea briquettes (Guti urea) has become a proven technology enhancing the productivity of rice, vegetables, maize and bananas in the AAPI districts of Bangladesh.

Describing the application, the farmers explained that:  Guti urea should be deep placed 30-35 days after planting (7 leaf stage).

To disseminate the facts regarding new uses of Guti urea, AAPI has established two maize demonstration plots (one in Chuadanga Sadar, the other in Alamdanga upazila) in addition to its regular promotional activities.

 Three to four briquettes (2.7 gm) per plant should be placed in a furrow and covered.  Depending on the moisture availability, fields should be irrigated 2-3 days following Guti urea placement.

“During farmer training, field monitoring officers (FMOs) and sub-assistant agriculture officers (SAAOs) have generated interest and enthusiasm among the participants for using Guti urea in maize,” said Hazara Begum of Nafarkandi village in Sadar upazila. The same response came from farmers in Alamdanga, Damurhuda and Jibannagar. Hazara Begum cultivated two bighas (one bigha equals 33 decimal) of maize, one using urea briquettes and the other using broadcast urea.

UDP Area under Maize in 2013 by Upazila of Chuadanga District Upazila

Rabiul Islam of Jagannathpur village in Alamdanga cultivated 1.5 acres and said that many of his neighboring farmers used Guti urea in their plots. Also farmers of Bishnopur, Hawali, Joynathpur and Gobindogora blocks of Damurhuda and Monohorpur, Shimultola, Suthia, Grampatila and Hasdar blocks in Jibonnagar used

Area under  Maize (ha)

Area under  UDP (ha)

Chuadanga Sadar Damurhuda



















Source: DAE and AAPI, February 2013 4

No. of Farmers  Who Used UDP


Volume 24 The UDP technology experience among the maize growers of Chuadanga district is quite interesting and positive. The maize requirement is likely to rise over time in the area. This is due to higher rates of maize consumption instead of wheat consumption by small and marginal farmers in the area.

The majority of the farmers in this district cultivate hybrid maize with broadcast urea. These farmers used approximately 70-80 kg urea, including other fertilizers (triple superphosphate [TSP] 30 kg, muriate of potash [MOP] 25-30 kg, gypsum 20-30 kg, zinc (Zn) 2 kg and boron 0.2 kg per bigha). They generally apply prilled urea as the top dress 3-4 times in the furrows, but they have opted for UDP technology as the application of Guti urea needs only one application to complete the life cycle of the plant.

DAE officials said that farmers in this district used a lot of urea and other fertilizers for maize, which increased their costs of production and led to soil degradation. However, UDP technology will help the maize farmers in this district to use balanced doses of fertilizer with proper management practices.

The Advantages of Guti Urea Application Identified by the Farmers The farmers noted the following advantages of Guti urea application:


 Less urea was needed. Specifically, they used only 32-35 kg/bigha, which is about 30-40 percent less than used on the prilled urea.

Necessity for Sustainable Adoption of UDP Technology Since its inception, the AAPI project in Bangladesh has implemented diverse educational and promotional activities for the dissemination of UDP technology in rice and vegetable production. Sustainable adoption of the technology is one of the key objectives of AAPI. Successful achievement of the objective depends on the critical actors: the farmers, the briquette machine owners and the staff of the DAE.

 A single application saved labor costs.  Initial growth is very promising. Stems are stronger and leaves are deep green.  Maturity (i.e., cob formation) occurs 10-12 days earlier.  Applying broadcast urea at a stage of 16 leaves is difficult. Special care is needed for proper placement of urea in the maize field. In the case of Guti urea, one application can avoid this.

Workshops and Training Programs The project runs a series of workshops and training programs for these actors to motivate them to sustain the technology. Workshops have been arranged for briquette machine owners to encourage them to commit to activities that will lead to the regular production and sale of Guti urea. The workshops also aim to help owners identify the constraints and options related to the project and persuade them to find solutions to the constraints. AAPI has conducted seven such workshops to date and plans to conduct another three in the current Boro season. AAPI-IFDC invited briquette machine owners who are interested in sustaining UDP technology. DAE deputy director and upazila agricultural officers also were invited to the workshops. The workshop sessions are facilitated by the deputy director of DAE and AAPI senior staff.

 There was less weed and pest infestation.  Cob size was bigger than in the broadcast urea. Constraints to Guti Urea Application The farmers noted the following constraints to Guti urea application.  Lack of technical knowledge on Guti urea application and management.  Initially high labor costs.  Less motivational and promotional activities by DAE.  Negative attitude of farmers toward change. 5


Volume 24  Lack of linkage with farmer groups for effective promotion.

During the workshops, the briquette machine owners and upazila agriculture officers are divided into three to five small groups. Each small group discusses problems related to the sustainability of Guti urea business and ways to find solutions. The groups are asked to look for self-help solutions to real-life situations in which they must address the issues. Groups present their issues, recommendations and commitments to play a role in the sustainability equation. A summary of the results of seven workshops follows.

 The need for follow-up activities and ongoing motivation.  The problem with raw materials when producing Guti urea. (Different granuler sizes of urea affect Guti urea production.)  Poor repair and maintenance of briquette machines.  Unavailability of spare parts for briquette machines in the local market.

Issues and Problems Identified in the Workshops The following issues and identified in the workshops.



Recommendations The workshops recommended the followings .

 The selling price of Guti urea.

 A reasonable profit to briquette machine owners should be determined by taking into consideration variable selling prices for Guti urea , as well as transportation and other costs. (This issue must be addressed by the District Fertilizer and Seed Monitoring Commitee and the Upazila Fertilizer and Seed Monitoring Committee.)

 Lack of motivation to produce, store and market Guti urea.  Lack of raw materials for non-Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) dealers/retailers for producing Guti urea.  Lack of simple provisions to upgrade briquette owners to the status of retailers in the system.

 The DAE needs to motivate BCIC dealers and retailers. (The Ministry of Agriculture may issue a letter advising all BCIC dealers to keep sufficient stock of Guti urea in their shops.)

 Lack of credit facilities for prospective briquette machine investors.  Retailers disinterested to buy back Guti urea from producers at value-added prices.

 Linkages between BCIC dealers and briquette machine owners should be established so that the briquette machine owners (non-BCIC dealers/retailers) obtain continuous supplies of urea for uninterrupted production of urea briquettes.

 Lack of business strategies for promoting the product.  The labor crisis and lack of skilled labor during the peak season.  The necessity for promoting line sowing in rice. (Guti urea is mainly applicable in line sowing plots.)

 Special provisions should be made to ensure urea availablibility for non-BCIC dealer briquette producers.

 The need for promoting Guti urea for use in other crops and even fish ponds.  The need for an efficient applicator.


 Provisions should be made to upgrade nonBCIC dealer/cum briquette owners to fertilizer retailers, affording them secured supplies of urea for production of Guti urea.


 The need to produce mixed Guti fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphate and potash (NPK).

 Available credit should be available to briquette producers. 6


Volume 24

 Guti urea should be sold to retailers in bulk quantity at a reasonable (wholesale) price by BCIC dealers/cum briquette producers, allowing retailers to make reasonable profits.

 Monitoring/follow-up must be strengthened following farmers training.  Guti urea supply should be introduced and ensured in the program of agricultural rehabilitation and non-governmental organization (NGO) loan programs.

 DAE and Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA) should encourage BCIC dealers cum briquette machine owners to engage in promotional activities to increase sale of Guti urea.

 Technical support should be provided by AAPI staff to help briquette machine owners overcome production issues.

 The use of Guti urea by model farmers who already obtain the benefits of Guti urea should be publicized.

 Local spare parts for maintenance of briquette machines should be available.  DAE mechanics should receive training and be involved in the repair and maintenance of briquette machines.

 Practical training on the use of Guti urea applicators should be organized.  The DAE should take the initiative to increase rice cultivation in line sowing for easy adoption of Guti urea.

 Local mechanic training programs should be strengthened to ensure future maintenance of briquette machines.

 The availability of efficient applicators for farmers should be ensured.

 Promotion of Guti urea should be a social responsibility of all related stakeholders.

 More training on the application of Guti urea in vegetable crops should be arranged to encourage farmers to use it in high value crops.

 Guti urea and NPK Guti should be included in the national agriculture policy (NAP) for sustainable agriculture production and food security.

 Briquette machine owners should be encouraged by DAE and AAPI senior staff to properly maintain the machines.

Guti Urea Producers’ Commitment Guti Urea Producers are committed to:

 Effective promotional support should be provided for NPK briquette makers.

 Using Guti urea in their own Boro crop fields and motivating other farmers to use it.

 Liaison by FMO in cooperation with SAAOs of DAE should be maintained with leading farmer groups such as integrated pest management (IPM) club, integrated crop management (ICM) club, farmers field school (FFS), common interest groups (CIGs), village based organizations (VBOs) and irrigation scheme groups to motivate other farmers.

 Setting up Guti urea demonstrations in collaboration with DAE to motivate farmers.  Arranging for publicity on the benefits of Guti urea through miking in village markets.  Arranging frequent motivational meetings with farmers and irrigation managers.  Arranging motivational video shows in shops/ market places by procuring compact disks (CDs) on the benefits of UDP technology.

 Local influencial persons such as union parishad members, chairmen, school teachers and Mosque Imams should be motivated to play positive roles to popularize Guti urea among farmers.

 Carrying out regular machine maintenance to ensure the production and progressive increase in production of good briquettes. *** 7


Volume 24

UDP Enhanced Early Harvest of Cabbage and Productivity

only 21 percent had been harvested, by that date, from the broadcasted urea plot. As indicated, the market price of cabbage followed a trend decline as the overall cabbage harvest increased. Thus, with the the early harvest ( achieved with the UDP plots) realized a peak market price (Tk. 10-15 per head). After January 6, 2013 the price of cabbage had fallen sharply.

The AAPI project has established 23 demonstration plots of cabbage in the AAPI districts during the Boro 2012-2013 season. Harvesting of the plots is in progress. The demonstration plots include UDP and urea broadcasted (bcd) plots. All other inputs remain same for both the plots. The visual benefits with UDP on cabbage (yield improvement, fruit development, and maturity for earlier harvest) are apparent. In order to assess the economic returns to farmers from UDP use (vis-à-vis bcd) on cabbage, data are collected by the farmers at each picking and reported to the FMOs of AAPI, who monitors the progress of the harvest.

Fruit size improvement is also realized with the UDP plots. The size of cabbage was larger (1.70 kg/head) in the UDP plot than that of broadcasted urea plot (1.32 kg/head). UDP increased yield by 28.43 percent.

A demonstration of cabbage under cabbage-Borotransplanted (T) Aman cropping pattern was established by a woman farmer, Ms Arzina Khatun, wife of Md Hafizur Rahman in the AAPI Sadullahpur Model village, Bagherpara, Jessore using UDP and broadcast urea applications. All other fertilizers and inputs applied are same in both the plots. The cabbage variety was KK cross. The planting date was October 5, 2012; 27 days old seedlings were used. As indicated in the graph below, cabbage under UDP management achieved a much earlier harvest date and this benefitted farmers due to the higher early market price for the fruit.

Cabbage demo at the model village Sadullahpur.

A key advantage of UDP is improved nutrient use efficiency. In this demo there was a 10 percent saving on urea when compared to broadcast application of fertilizers. Early harvest also means an early release of land for the succeeding Boro rotation to be followed by T Aman. *** AAPI Events in March 2013 In the month of March 2013, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Boro paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.  National workshop on NPK  Monthly staff meeting  1 training for briquette producers

In total, 62 percent of the cabbages were harvested from the UDP plot up to January 6, 2013 while

 1 local mechanic training 8

AAPI News Bulletin Vol 24 (English)