Dipika’s Journey from Project to PhD in Australia

DSI4MTF project’s former project coordinator from Nepal, Dipika Das received John Allwright fellowship 2016, Australia awards. Every year, the award is given to few potential candidates contributing to ACIAR projects globally. The fellowship let her pursue PhD at University of Southern Queensland in Australia. Being part of the project has given her opportunity to grab the scholarship and lead her career development once she has dreamt for. She is native of Eastern Gangetic Plain and getting involved in DSI4MTF research work helped her to deeply internalise the constraints and potential of small farmers. Especially the women who are changing the existing gender norms to participate in agriculture. Her PhD now focuses on exploring the ways to support smallholder women farmers to sustain in the competitive agricultural value chain and establish food security.

Recently Dipika received a Crawford Fund 2017 to participate in TropAg Conference 2017 Nov 20-22. She presented a poster, based on the research work conducted for DSI4MTF project in Saptari.   The poster titled, “Strengthening agriculture for marginal and tenant farmers in Eastern Gangetic Plains: agrarian relations with gender perspective in agricultural value chain” and demonstrated broadly the project operation activities in the Saptari site.

TropAg is the world’s leading international tropical agriculture event bringing together the best in research and innovation, across plant, animal and food sciences. The conference theme this year was High impact science to nourish the world. The event held in Brisbane attracted more than 700 delegates from 50 countries. Good number of interest was created by the poster presented.

Her further research will be carried in the DSI4MTF project sites in Saptari and Madhubani.


Instrumenting ponds to measure water levels

Installing water level staffing gauges in Madhubani

Installing water level staffing gauges in Madhubani

The project team have now completed the installation of staffing gauges in a number of ponds in the Saptari and Madhubani study villages. These staffing gauges will be read each week, so that a time series of data can be compiled to give us more information about how much water is in storage throughout the seasons.

Sophisticated electronic pressure transducers or rotary encoders can be used to measure the water depth to a high level of accuracy, however this technology also requires power and maintenance, and comes at significant cost. For this project a simple solution was chosen to collect weekly data by visual observation.

Locally available lengths of bamboo were cut into pieces according to the depth of the pond. A measuring tape was then attached to the bamboo with cable zip ties to highlight measurements throughout the scale. Small zip ties were connected at 2.5 cm increments and a longer ties at 5 cm increments to allow easier reading of the depth from a distance.

The weekly depth readings are being collected and will be captured and stored in the project database for analysis throughout the project.

To date, eight ponds have been instrumented in Saptari (five in Koiladi and three in Khoksar Parbaha) and eight ponds in Madhubani (five in Mauahi and three in Bhagwatipur).

Preparation of the bamboo staffing gauges

Preparation of the bamboo staffing gauges