CSIRO's most prominent areas of work in South Asia are agriculture, water and mining. We have well-established projects in India and Nepal.
CSIRO and our Indian partners have a strong history of collaboration in the agricultural sciences, water and mining.
Collaborating on a range of research areas
CSIRO and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) India have been active partners under a Memorandum of Understanding for many years. In recent years, we have been awarded several grants through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund to work with CSIR institutes including the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) on highwall mining design and the Indian Institute of Microbial Technology on a diagnostic tool for tuberculosis.
The Land and Water business unit is undertaking a collaborative project with CSIR India and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, funded by the Australian government. The capacity building project focuses on ecotoxicological tools for management of environmental pollution due to pesticides and micro-pollutants in rivers for ensuring safety of water from its source to rivers. A range of participants from the city of Lucknow in India and nearby areas are involved.
CSIRO and CSIR's National Institute for Oceanography collaborated together to launch robotic floats equipped with revolutionary new sensors in the Indian Ocean. The new 'Bio Argo' floats, which were launched in mid-2014, are enhancing the already successful Argo float technology to measure large-scale changes in the chemistry and biology of marine ecosystems below the Indian Ocean's surface. This project received an additional 3 year grant from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund to continue this research.
Increasing cropping intensity and productivity in Bangladesh, West Bengal and India
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funds multiple water management projects in various regions of India including northern Gujurat and southern Rajasthan. CSIRO and local Indian partners are working on a project funded by ACIAR which aims to sustainably increase cropping intensity and productivity in the coastal zones of Bangladesh, West Bengal and India particularly in the dry season.
Researchers aim to increase cropping intensity and productivity through integrated soil, water and crop management. Local partners include the Indian Council of Agricultural Research Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya and the Tagore Society for Rural Development.
Helping the poorest households access the benefits of agricultural intensification
The Socially Inclusive Agricultural Intensification (SIAGI) project promotes socially inclusive and sustainable agricultural intensification in West Bengal, India and southern Bangladesh. CSIRO Land and Water is leading this project with Australian and local partners in India and Bangladesh. Researchers aim to explore and understand how agricultural intensification affects disadvantaged rural communities in West Bengal and Southern Bangladesh.
The project will develop and use new tools and engagement processes to understand the risks and trade-offs involved in agricultural intensification. This information will be used to support the design and delivery of public and private programs that are more socially inclusive and help women, landless, tribal people and the poorest households access the benefits of agricultural intensification. The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
The project aims to:
- Facilitate public-private partnerships which support socially excluded groups, including landless or marginal smallholders, women-headed households and tribal minorities. Researchers aim to achieve this through value chain and insurance approaches.
- Implement guidelines and design principles for agricultural intensification programs that are more socially inclusive, equitable and sustain the natural resource base.
- Implement processes to enhance social inclusion in associated Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) projects and other research projects.
- Enhance and disseminate best practices in achieving social inclusion and mobilisation of community resources.
Reducing poverty in smallholder farming households
The Sustainable Farming Systems Intensification (SRFSI) project aims to reduce poverty in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (EGPs) by improving productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder farmers while also safeguarding the environment. The Eastern Gangetic Plains of Northwest Bangladesh, states of Bihar and West Bengal, India and the Terai of Nepal are home to 300 million people. This area has the world's highest concentration of rural poverty and communities have a strong dependence on agriculture for food security and livelihoods.
The project focuses on understanding the bio-physical and socioeconomic settings which influence the successful output of smallholder farmers. CSIRO researchers aim to develop gender-inclusive, productive, profitable and lower-risk farming systems. Researchers are evaluating the benefits of adaptation technologies using Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) modelling. CSIRO has also assisted in developing and implementing multi-stakeholder forums to ensure increased update and scaling of project outputs.
The SRSFI project began in 2012 and today focuses on scaling the adoption of conservation agriculture system intensification (CASI) technologies to a wider network of farmers within the region. This multi-partnership project is managed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in conjunction with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides funding under their Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio.
CSIRO's work in Nepal involves the implementation of water management principles so that water availability can be better understood and the needs of different stakeholders can be met.
Implementing sustainable basin management
Nepal's plentiful water resources require careful management to ensure equitable use across the many competing demands of water users. CSIRO is working with partners in Nepal, particularly the Koshi and Kamala basins, to use integrated water resources management principles for sustainable basin planning.
The people of the Kamala Basin and Koshi Basin in East Nepal have a long history of dealing with too much water in monsoon and limited water in the dry season. Meeting the desire to increase agricultural production, develop local industries and support mining needs careful planning and management.
In the Kamala Basin, CSIRO is building knowledge about the surface water and has supported revisions to rainfall station locations, developed new gridded rainfall products and refined hydrological models of catchment runoff. This had led to better understanding of the timing and availability of water in major streams, including projected changes to water availability due to climate change.
CSIRO and partners are identifying the water needs, priorities and aspirations of different sectors and stakeholders in the Kamala Basin. The state of the basin report provides information on the current condition of water resources in the Kamala Basin, including how water is used, water quality and trends in how the water resource is changing. Proposed development actions for water planning aim to maximise the benefits and minimise negatives.