Finger millet and pigeon pea are widely grown in India, particularly by marginal farmers. BIOFI aims to optimize such rainfed mixed-culture schemes using bio-irrigation and bio-fertilization (boosting yields, improving nutritional quality).


  • Lead school School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences
  • Institute Agriculture
  • Research unit International Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Funding organisation Others
  • Duration 01.05.2014 - 31.12.2017
  • Project management Dr. Dominic Blättler
  • Head of project Dr. Dominic Blättler
  • Project staff Prof. Dr. Urs Christoph Scheidegger
    Dr. Dominic Blättler
    Pia Clara Fehle
  • Partner Pondicherry University
    Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau FibL
    Bharathiar University
    Small Millets, GKVK Bangalore
    Institute of Botany, Uni Basel
    ISCB Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology
    MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India
  • Keywords India, pigeon pea, finger millet, intercropping system, bio-irrigation, bio-fertilization


The aim of the project BIOFI is the development and implementation of an environmentally, economically and socially improved finger millet and pigeon pea intercropping system for arid/semi-arid zones, using bio-inoculants and bio-irrigation

Course of action

BIOFI combines biotechnology and socio-economic research. Biotech uses arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) as "biofertilizers" central to the hydraulic lift ("bioirrigation"). Socio-economic groups aim to better understand local farming and seed systems, intercropping patterns, farmers’ decision making and the bio-inputs market (incl. "eco-enterprises"). Ecological and economic assessment of biofertilizer production/application.