Menu
STARS Project
close
STARS Project
close

Refine your search

STARS Project
About us

STARS in South Asia: IrMASaT*

* IrMASaT = Irrigation Management Advisory with Satellite Technology

IrMASaT is executed as part of the STARS project in Bangladesh, and is led by CIMMYT in partnership with the Institute for Water Modeling (IWM), the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) and the Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID).

Many farmers in the coastal zone of Bangladesh typically fallow their land in the dry season, or grow low input/output legumes such as grass pea (Lathyrus sativus), lentil (Lens culinaris), and mungbean (Vigna radiata).

Farmers harvesting mungbeans

Our recent study in the South Central delta identified 54,000 ha of fallow land. Another 261,000 ha are cropped with legumes. These crops do not necessarily require irrigation or other inputs, such as fertilizer or pesticides. Risk is low, but so are yield and profit. Ground water in this part of the delta is not suitable for irrigation, due to high salinity levels. But surface water, carried into the region by the Padma river and its tributaries, may be suitable. To accelerate intensification of crop production, the USAID-funded Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia – Mechanization and Irrigation (CSISA-MI) project is facilitating the deployment of pumps through partnerships with the private sector. Preliminary studies indicated that it might be possible to grow a crop with one or two irrigations only, because these soils have a high water holding capacity and the water table is close to the surface. In the coastal zones, however, salinity levels of surface and ground water increase in the winter months,  and irrigation may do more harm than good under certain circumstances. Use of surface water for irrigation at a large scale may also disturb water flow dynamics in the river system. Therefore, we are conducting an ex-ante analysis to determine the safe operating space.