ITC training materials and courses for Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute

The Faculty ITC of the University of Twente develops and delivers training materials under the theme Open Source Scientific Computing for AgroGeospatial Big Data Analysis. At the moment, we are in the second of the 5-phase TMT+ Bangladesh project. In delivering the training courses to the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), ITC ensures the inclusion of all BARI trainees in the courses. This was done through the involvement of the local partner CIMMYT and also to regularly evaluate the training progress.

On November 3rd 2021, BARI held an event to discuss the progress of the project and invited the trainees, Director General of BARI, Executive Chairman of BARC, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. During this event, Dr. Golam Mahboom distributed computer equipment to the training participants. The computers purchased can hopefully help the trainees to continue to follow the next phases of the training.

‘Digital Bangladesh’

BARI already established a laboratory called the “Agro-Environmental Remote Sensing and Modelling (ARSAM)” under its Agricultural Statistics and ICT (ASICT) Division. The establishment of another Agrometeorology laboratory is in process under its On-Farm Research Division (OFRD). BARI recognised the need to establish these new facilities as part of the drive towards digitalisation of agriculture in support of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ but at the same time, realised that the knowledge and skills of assigned staff was lagging behind the state-of-the-art in this still rapidly developing field. To address this, BARI identified the need for skills in big geodata analysis in agriculture in relation to its mandate. BARI also identified the research areas of the above mentioned facilities which would benefit from training in these area. These include land and water management, crop health, agronomy, soil science and farming systems.

Training to address knowledge gaps

With the assistance from the Faculty ITC, BARI matched these research areas to knowledge gaps that could be filled with training on specific subjects within the general topic of “Open Source Scientific Computing for AgroGeospatial Big Data Analysis”. The subjects have been grouped into different levels to match the needs:

· introduction level (Earth observation, scientific programming, statistics for machine learning)

· intermediate level (open source programming for big data, agrometeorology and crop growth modelling, big data analytics, agricultural monitoring with analysis-ready-data) and

· advanced level (scientific geocomputation, quantitative remote sensing of vegetation).

These subjects can be applied to real data from BARI projects within the training programme to ensure immediate application and embedding of the knowledge in operational and research processes.

About BARI and TMT+

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), the partner in the TMT+ Bangladesh Project, is committed to the main goals of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ which includes economic development through initiatives in food and nutrition and empowerment and equal rights for women. Digital transformation in agriculture and information technologies based on the use of big geospatial data and technologies both play a key role in the solution to Integrated Food and Nutrition Security (FNS), including sustainable water resources management and climate change mitigation. The TMT+ Bangladesh training is aimed at agro-geospatial big data analytical capacity building among BARI scientists in key research domains including crop mapping, monitoring, zoning, technology targeting, simulation modelling, yield prediction, and protection from biotic and abiotic stresses for the prevailing conditions in Bangladesh.

R. Kwakman MSc (Robin)
Communication Advisor (Faculty ITC)