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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 5

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

Inside this issue:

AAPI’s Farmer Training


Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of UDP Technology


AAPI Events in August 2011


Rewarding Retirement


Good Seed and UDP


Manufacture of Guti NPK


Action Needed by Aman Farmers


AAPI News Bulletin is a monthly publication of the AAPI project. Subscriptions are free. IFDC is a public international organization based in Alabama, USA. IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries.

In this fifth issue of AAPI news bulletin, we have reported the impressive increase in rice production arising from our farmers who are using Guti urea and the saving made by using less urea. The numbers speak for themselves – we estimate a value of about US $40 million for the incremental rice production and a saving on the urea subsidy of $4.47 million just for this Boro season. Farmer training is one of our key activities to extend the Fertilizer Deep Placement/Urea Deep Placement (FDP/UDP) technology to the farmers in the project area. Dr. Shaharuk Ahmed, AAPI Agriculture Specialist, and Mr. Iqbal Hoque, AAPI Training Officer, explain how and why farmer training is so important to our success.

Managing Editor: Ishrat Jahan Resident Representative IFDC Bangladesh Eurasia Division and Project Coordinator, AAPI

Dr. Mazid Miah, AAPI Soil Scientist, has explained some of the science behind UDP technology in his article on agronomic and environmental benefits arising from applying this technology. Many of us know of the yield increases and urea saving, but did you know that UDP technology contributes to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the nutrient load in runoff water?

Design and Layout: Syed Afzal Hossain Data Management Unit, AAPI

This month we have the story of Mosharraf Hossain who found rewards after retirement through

July 31, 2011

producing and selling Guti urea. The rewards are not all his. He provides jobs and leadership, bringing more food and more income for his community. *** UDP Increases Rice Production in Boro Season As reported in the last issue, AAPI implemented UDP on 172,372 hectares (ha). Crop cuts taken in farmer fields during Boro harvest have shown paddy yields are up by 15 percent when farmers apply UDP technology and this is also true for Guti NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). In Boro season, high yielding varieties (HYV) make up about 85 percent of the crop, 13 percent is hybrid and only 2 percent is a local variety.

Farmers carrying harvested UDP Boro Paddy

Assuming a millout ratio of 67 percent, the average incremental rice

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 AAPI Management: Ishrat Jahan, Project Coordinator; Grahame D. Hunter, Chief of Party; Md. Mofizul Islam, Sr. Agriculture Specialist; Dr. Shaharuk Ahmed Agriculture Specialist; Md. Mozammel Haque, Training Specialist; Mahmood Hussain, Training Specialist; Abul Hossain Mollah, Training Specialist, Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid Mia, Soil Scientist; Mainul Ahsan, Soil Scientist; Md. Nurul Islam, Market/Business Development Specialist; Ram Proshad Ghosh, Mechanical Engineer; Rubina Islam, Gender Specialist; Syed Afzal Mahmood Hossain, Senior Data Management Specialist; AFM Saleh Chowdhury, Chief Accountant; Bishnu Rup Chowdhury, Administrative and Procurement Officer

Volume 5 HYV Paddy Yield Calculated from Farmer Field Crop Cuts District

Bagerhat Barisal Gopalganj Jhalokhati Madaripur Mymensingh Patuakhali Pirojpur Shariatpur Sherpur All District

Guti Urea Paddy Yield (Kg/ha) 5,905 7,336 6,875 6,671 7,508 6,623 6,123 6,844 8,651 6,469 6,847

Prilled Urea Paddy Yield (Kg/ha) 5,149 6,453 6,148 6,531 6,116 5,768 5,175 6,262 7,643 5,536 5,971

Yield Difference (Kg/ha) 756 883 727 140 1,392 856 948 582 1,008 933 876

Percent of Yield Increased 15 14 12 2 23 15 18 9 13 17 15

Source: Farmers Plot Crop Cut, Boro 2011, AAPI

production for the AAPI project in Boro 2011 is 586.92 kilograms per hectare. Assuming a procurement price for rice at US $392.68 per metric ton (mt), the incremental rice production achieved by AAPI is calculated as 101,169 mt of rice, with a value of almost US $40 million. This is an increase in value of $231 per ha. The above Table presents

yield calculated from crop cuts from farmers field by AAPI district. UDP Boro Season Brings Substantial Saving in Urea Deep placement technology provides for more efficient use of fertilizer and this translates into less fertilizer used (see Table below). Block surveys

Urea Saving Calculated from Farmer Field Crop Cuts District Mymensingh Sherpur Mymensingh Region Gopalganj Barisal Madaripur Bagerhat Shariatpur Pirojpur Jhalokathi Patuakhali Barguna Barisal Region Average for All Districts

Guti Urea (Kg/ha)

Prilled Urea (Kg/ha)

Urea Saving (Kg/ha)

171 173 172 166 165 167 171 168 183 169 185 187 173 173

250 266 258 249 253 286 215 250 298 325 240 279 266 265

79 93 86 83 88 119 44 82 115 156 55 92 93 91

Source: Farmers Plot Crop Cut, Boro 2011, AAPI 2


Volume 5 techniques) and environmentally friendly rice production systems. AAPI routinely monitors farmer training and its impact on crop production through weekly reports and block surveys that are verified by Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) staff. During Boro 2011, 82,158 farmers were trained in the project area.

have provided the data to calculate the urea saved across AAPI districts. The total saving is estimated to be 15,642 mt. This includes NPK Guti. Assuming a urea subsidy of $286 per mt at the time of fertilizer application in Boro, the saving to the GOB is $4.47 million. *** AAPI’s Farmer Training: A Knowledge and Skill-Based Activity for Adoption of UDP Technology The training of farmers on new technology to improve crop management is an essential component of increasing productivity. Providing information and advice is generally not sufficient to enable all farmers to develop knowledge and adopt new technologies. This is especially true with the rapidly changing global climate, agrarian structures and agricultural technologies. Farmers must learn about new technologies through knowledge and skill-based training in their own environment. This will help to build capacity to cope with the changing environment in a reasonably short period of time.

Farmers training at Garura, Bakerganj on June 28, 2011

In Boro 2011, a total of 597,707 (552,311 male and 45,396 female) used UDP. Of the users, AAPI/IFDC trained 82,158 (18,693 female [23 percent] and 63,465 male [77 percent]). The following Table shows detail by AAPI district. Following the trickledown theory of technology dissemination, the neighboring farmers used UDP technologies and covered 172,372 ha with HYV and hybrid rice, which was 27 percent of the total HYV/hybrid Boro area (635,950 ha) in the project areas.

AAPI’s farmer training approach is unconventional in both technical content and extension methodology. It uses non-formal adult education methods particularly through ‘learning by doing’ or ‘experiential learning.’ In this approach, adult learning principles, such as valuing farmers’ field experiences, listening to their opinions and encouraging mutually supportive and challenging group interaction, in addition to collaborative activities, are incorporated to promote conceptual change.

Impact  UDP provided more effective use of fertilizers and this translates into less fertilizer used. The total urea saving is estimated to be 15,642 mt during Boro season.

Rather than teaching sophisticated production and income-generating techniques, AAPI encourages farmers to realize that knowledge and practice are both necessary to increase productivity. Farmers and local experts (subassistant agricultural officers and field monitoring officers) discuss soil health, the importance of good seeds and the cost-effective advantage of FDP/UDP technologies.

 Most of the trained farmers became the core potential change agents to promote UDP technologies in their respective areas.  Increased production helped the trained farmers get increased yields and additional

They also discuss prilled urea, water management (alternate wetting and drying 3


Volume 5 Farmers Trained by AAPI District (Boro 2011)


Total Farmers

Total Farmers Trained Male


Total FDP Farmers


Percent of Trained Farmers over Total FDP Farmers





















































































managed, nitrogen can become a damaging pollutant. In nature, soil nitrogen comes from organic matter and is fixed from the atmosphere by bacteria. Through processes called ammonification and nitrification, the complex organic forms of nitrogen are converted to simpler forms such as ammonium and nitrate that can be absorbed by the plant. A process of denitrification recycles the nitrogen back into the atmosphere.

income and empowered trained rural women to see a good future. Finally, from a sociological, ecological and economical perspective, AAPI farmers’ training activities involved support from local experts, rather than from outside experts, to whom farmers often do not have access. ***

Urea is a nitrogen fertilizer that is made from natural gas. It is the most widely used nitrogen fertilizer in Bangladesh and the government supports farmers by placing a subsidy on its sale. It is a complex organic compound and, for plants to absorb nitrogen from urea, it must be broken down first to ammonia and ammonium, then to nitrate. As ammonia, it can be lost as gas to the atmosphere. As ammonium it is available to the plant. When ammonium is exposed to the atmosphere, it converts to nitrate that is also available to the plant. However, nitrate is a very mobile element and can leach into ground water, runoff in flood water and, through the process of denitrification, convert to nitrous oxide, a very

Agronomic and Environmental Benefits of UDP Technology UDP technology has both agronomic and environmental benefits. Agronomic benefits are derived from the efficient use of nitrogen (N). Environmental benefits are derived from using less urea, reduced gas emission and reduction in the nutrient load in surface and underground water. To understand how these benefits occur, we have to understand that nitrogen is an essential element to life and agriculture. However, if poorly 4


Volume 5

powerful greenhouse gas. If we can keep the nitrogen in the ammonium form, it is less prone to losses. This is the objective of deep placement.

to 70 percent and increases grain yield 20 to 30 percent with 30 to 40 percent less applied nutrients compared to broadcast application of urea.

The traditional practice of broadcasting urea onto the surface of the soil is known to result in significant nitrogen loss. In rice cultivation, the efficiency of broadcast urea N is very low, generally 30 to 40 percent; in some cases, even lower. The low N use efficiency of broadcast urea is attributed to ammonia volatilization, denitrification, leaching and runoff losses. In flooded rice, ammonia volatilization can account for 20 percent to more than 80 percent of the total N lost from fertilizer sources.

AAPI Events in August 2011 In the month of August, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Aman paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.  495 batches of farmers’ training for Aman farmers  173 field demonstrations  12 field trials on NPK  4 motivational meetings with stakeholders  15 motivational field trip for Aus farmers  2 briquette producers technical training  2 small business management training

When nitrogen escapes from crops, it may be transported and deposited in gaseous or dissolved forms to downstream ecosystems causing eutrophication. This can result in luxuriant growth of algae, depletion of light and oxygen and dead zones in the aquatic systems. Nitrates in groundwater can become a human health hazard.

*** Rewarding Retirement

Deep placement of urea in lowland rice fields has been widely recognized as an effective nitrogen management practice for transplanted rice. Deep point placement of urea places the briquette into the reduced zone (lacking in oxygen) of the soil. This will hold the nitrogen in the ammonium form making it more available to the plant (allowing more efficient use of nitrogen) and substantially reduces gas emissions – mitigating the greenhouse gas/climate change; runoff losses – mitigating eutrophication; and leaching into groundwater – mitigating health hazards; and thus minimizing environment pollution.

Bangladeshi Mosharraf Hossain, previously a retired assistant accounting officer at Daulatpur Jute Mills in Khulna, is now a farmer and a Guti fertilizer producer/dealer. At age 57, Mosharraf has found retirement to be very interesting and rewarding. “I retired in 2002 and was concerned that I would be too idle, but things are very different now. I have a fertilizer shop in Uzirpur, Barisal, where I produce Guti fertilizer. I also grow rice, using the new fertilizer deep placement [FDP] technology,” Mosharraf said.

With a greater efficiency of nitrogen use, less urea is required to produce more grain of better quality. With less urea used, the cost to farmers for fertilizer is reduced and the subsidy required by the government is saved. Less urea required also means less natural gas consumed for its manufacture (around 16,000 ft3 or 650 m3 of gas per ton of urea).

Mosharraf formerly cultivated rice in the traditional method, but he was always looking for ways to improve his crop. He heard about the Improved Livelihood for Sidr-Affected Rice farmers (ILSAFARM) project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IFDC. He met IFDC’s field officer and learned about the benefits of Guti fertilizer and FDP technology. Because of his affiliation with the ILSAFARM project, he was offered a Guti-producing briquette machine at an

Beyond these environmental benefits, UDP ensures a continuous supply of nitrogen to the plant, removes hidden hunger with less weed infestation and higher crop quality. UDP (also called NPK Guti) increases N use efficiency by 50 5

Volume 5


season. The profit from Guti fertilizer sales was over Tk 1 lakh ($1,370) during the last Boro season. The production costs were also reduced. “Initially, it took six laborers to produce the briquettes, but now four are enough,” Mosharraf said.

80 percent subsidized rate. He and his business partner, Salim Sardar, were also able to purchase the fertilizer dealership for the initial capital of Tk 2 lakh (US $2,740).

In his retirement, Mosharraf has provided jobs for four people and local farmers are producing more rice using Guti fertilizer bought at his shop. “IFDC’s ILSAFARM and AAPI projects have changed my life!” His business partner, Selim Sardar, previously worked full-time as an electrician, but now has a better income. “During peak season of Boro or Aman, I work in the fertilizer shop and during the lean season, I work as an electrician. I now have a job all year. This has increased my income and I can provide more for my family,” said 45-year-old Selim. “My dream to better educate my three children is coming true.”

Mosharraf standing near his urea briquette machine

Because people in that area are learning about the benefits of Guti urea, the demand was quite high for the product during the 2009/10 Boro season. “I produced and sold 220 metric tons (mt) of Guti urea. The net profit was around Tk 1 lakh [US $1,370],” he said, adding that farmers mainly use Guti fertilizer during the dry season. During last year’s Aus season, he produced and sold only six mt of Guti fertilizer, but he more than made up for that with sales of 230 mt during the 2010/11 Boro season. He also produced and sold three mt of diammonium phosphate, muriate of potash and urea mixture briquettes, better known as NPK Guti.

Good Seed and UDP Good seed means it is of one variety; without weeds, disease or pests; has a high germination percentage; and will produce strong, vigorous seedlings. Seed production requires care in management. This starts with a pure foundation seed, planted in rows that can be inspected regularly to remove weeds and off-types and control pests and disease. The DAE has a creditable seed production program. When UDP technology is used in seed production, there are additional advantages:

Mosharraf is not only producing Guti fertilizer but used the same on 150 decimals (one and one-half acres) of land. He leased 100 decimals and he owned the rest. His total production was 90 maunds (3,600 kilograms). “Previously rice yield during Boro season was about eight maunds for each 20 decimals, but now it is over 12 maunds because of Guti fertilizer use,” Mosharraf said.

 Higher yield, more seed, better filled.  Higher quality seed, less sterile seed, natural grain color, more protein. Farmers wishing to enter into seed production should set aside a plot of land for the purpose and apply seed production technology with UDP technology.

Mosharraf believes his success as a businessman is because he sets an example by using the Guti briquettes in his own field with excellent results. He occasionally invites farmers to his shop for tea and explains the benefits of Guti fertilizer. He organized such a meeting just before the last Boro

*** 6

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materials. However, urea is hygroscopic and its inclusion in the mixture will increase the hygroscopicity of the product. The critical relative humidity (level at which atmospheric moisture is absorbed by the product) will decrease. As the product absorbs moisture, the MOP (which is a highly soluble salt) will dissolve, and the Guti NPK will deteriorate. Water should not be added when making Guti NPK because that increases the moisture content, which is undesirable.

Manufacture of Guti NPK Proper soil fertility management is necessary to achieve improved crop yields. In order to support improved use of the three primary nutrients (nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P], potassium [K]) needed in crop production, the extension of Guti (meaning granular) NPK as an adjunct to Guti urea began in a selected number of Upazilas in the southern districts during the last Boro season. The following Table of crop cuts from farmer field demonstrations shows that Guti NPK will provide yields as good as or better than Guti urea alone.

During the recent Aus season, when the relative humidity was high, some of the Guti NPK showed a very limited shelf life. The project recommends that the product not be stored and it should be packed and transported in sealed, moisture-proof containers.

Paddy Yield Calculated from Boro Demo Plots Guti Urea Yield (Kg/ha)

Guti NPK Yield (Kg/ha)

Prilled Urea Yield (Kg/ha)

BRRI Dhan-29




BRRI Dhan-28




BRRI Dhan-47




BRRI Dhan-50









Action Needed by Aman Farmers during August  Transplant healthy strong seedling aged 25-30 days in lines.  Keep 11/2 – 2 inches standing water land at the time of transplantation.  Plant 1-2 seedlings in each hill to ensure quick growth of seedlings and increased number of tillers.

Farmers who have used Guti NPK are expressing a commitment to continue to use the product instead of Guti urea. Encouraged by the results, the project will continue to disseminate the technology. Nevertheless, it is critically important to maintain high quality Guti NPK; the shelf life of the product and the quality control are two factors that must be monitored carefully.

 Plant seedlings in lines with plant to plant distance of 15 cm and row to row 20 cm  Apply Guti urea of 1.8 gram size within 5-7 days of transplantation keeping 40 cm (16 inches) distance from one placement point to another placement point.  Use of Guti urea will save your urea and increase crop yield.

Guti NPK production requires careful attention to the fertilizer products used. The fertilizer particles should be similar in size and chemically compatible. Granular urea is the closest in particle size to diammonium phosphate (DAP) and coarse grade muriate of potash (MOP); use of the three products to make Guti NPK will allow a better quality product. The mixture of urea, DAP and MOP are all chemically compatible as blending

 Use other fertilizers such TSP, MOP as per recommendation of DAE.  In case of damaged seedlings due to flood or any other natural calamity, replace the same seedling with fresh and healthy seedlings. *** 7


Volume 5


AAPI Bulletin Vol 5 July2011(Eng)  

As reported in the last issue, AAPI implemented UDP on 172,372 hectares (ha). Crop cuts taken in farmer fields during Boro harvest have show...