The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) was launched in 2009 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). CSISA’s objective is to develop and deploy more efficient, productive and sustainable technologies for the diverse rice-wheat production systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) that ultimately improve food supply and improve the livelihoods of the poor in the region.
The CSISA Baseline Household Survey was conducted in late 2010 and early 2011 across eight of the hub domains in which CSISA was operating during its initial phase. The household survey was designed to inform CSISA management as well as to establish a priori conditions (farming practices, farmer livelihoods, etc.) against which the social, economic and livelihood impacts of CSISA will be evaluated. Pursuant to these objectives, a structured questionnaire was developed in a joint effort of socio-economists from different centers of the CGIAR, as well as agronomists and hub managers. In all, the baseline household survey collected data on
2,567 households across the CSISA hub domains of Haryana, Punjab, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu in India; Dinajpur and Gazipur in Bangladesh; and the Terai region of central Nepal.
Analysis of the baseline data finds that:
The CSISA coverage area is highly diverse in terms of climatological and agro-ecological conditions, cropping patterns, livestock management, land holdings, production practices, yie
lds and other variables. This reinforces the initiative’s site- and context-specific approach to effecting change, but complicates the evaluation of impact across the entire coverage area.
CSISA targeting is generally reflective of the surrounding population in the hub domain. However, evidence of more explicit targeting (e.g., of women-headed households or other vulnerable groups) was found only in the Gazipur hub.
Whereas findings suggest that labor-saving technological change may be a priority in the northwestern hubs (Punjab, Haryana), productivity-enhancing technological change that intensifies production on small landholdings may be a priority for most othe
Poverty and inequality measures indicate significant levels of vulnerability in the Nepal Terai, Bangladesh, eastern UP and Bihar. This may indicate a need for some re-prioritization of CSISA work in favor of Nepal, provided that CSISA’s technologies and approaches are appropriate to its needs.
The role of women in agriculture varies widely across the CSISA hub domains, and is determined largely by social status and social constructs. In general, women provide vital inp
uts into agricultural production, both in terms of labor as well as decision-making. The complexities of these issues suggest the need for more rigorous analysis regarding gender gaps in access to technical knowledge and information, inequalities in participation in key decision-making processes, as well as the impacts of the RCTs that are being promoted under CSISA. This may necessitate the collection of gender-disaggregated data for constraints analysis, technology prioritization among different household types and careful consideration in the design, implementation and evaluation of impact assessments.
Familiarity with RCTs is most limited in Bihar and other eastern hub domains, suggesting the obvious potential for expanding CSISA activities in these areas. That said, sources of information on RCTs are quite domain-specific and vary significantly between CSISA, input retailers and friends/neighbors.
There is evidence from the baseline survey to suggest that while non-adoption is largely driven by insufficient information about several RCTs, disadoption driven by poor yield p
erformance and other factors is a non-trivial phenomenon in the CSISA domains.