CSISA at a Glance Challenges, Overview and Impacts

Challenges in South Asia

South Asia has the largest number of poor and undernourished people in the world.

What is CSISA?

The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) works to reduce hunger and increase food and income security of resource-poor farm families in South Asia through the development and inclusive adoption of new cereal varieties, sustainable agricultural technologies and policies.

It complements regional and national efforts and partners with civil society, public and private sector organizations.

CSISA is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and is implemented jointly in India with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Where CSISA works

South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic Plains – home to the region’s most important grain baskets – in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

What CSISA does

  • Promotes labor-, water- and energy-saving agricultural practices
  • Develops high-yielding, heat-, drought-, flood- and biotic and abiotic stress-tolerant cereal varieties
  • Improves farmers’ access to market information and enterprise development
  • Promotes climate-resilient farming technologies
  • Strengthens policy analysis to accelerate new technology adoption
  • Establishes strategic partnerships and builds capacity to create impact at scale

CSISA Impacts

Cross-Cutting Impacts

Empowering Women

More than 1,500 women farmers across Bihar and Odisha adopted at least one improved agriculture practice in 203-14.

Better Seeds

Released 49 new wheat varieties and 5 new rice varieties suited for cultivation under direct seeded rice method.

Improved Livestock

Use of chopped fodder to feed livestock led to 30% reduction in feed cost and 14% higher milk yield.


More than 150 axial flow threshers deployed through service providers facilitated advancement of wheat sowing.

Written and edited by: Anuradha Dhar, Ashwamegh Banerjee and Cynthia Mathys. Photo credits: Ashwamegh Banerjee, Srikanth Kolari, Vinaynath Reddy, Satish Kumar, Suryakanta Khandai and Wasim Iftikar. Copyright © the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2015. All rights reserved. Any opinions, boundaries and names stated herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily representative of or endorsed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) or its partner organizations. Fair use of this material is encouraged. Proper citation is requested.

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