Tuesday, March 26, 2019

On the shoulders of giants, IRRI launches AGGRi Alliance

Building on its success in developing and delivering improved rice varieties in South Asia and Africa, IRRI through the Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance continues to strengthen its partnership with the national research and extension systems to increase rice yield and improve livelihoods of rice farmers in these regions.

According to IRRI breeder and project leader Joshua Cobb, “AGGRi Alliance will combine the progress made in modernizing IRRI’s rice breeding through Transforming Rice Breeding (TRB) project, with the successful trialing networks, germplasm development, and seed systems from the Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project - both supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) - into a single initiative that will expand IRRI’s variety testing networks into a globally aligned, modernized, rice breeding 'community of practice'. It will also empower women involved in the rice value chain which will be unified by a set of standards developed to make breeding decisions consistent with the demands of regional farmers, consumers, and processors”.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Enhancing Iloilo’s rice productivity through innovations on land leveling and rice straw management

Iloilo is one of the major rice baskets in the Philippines, and mechanization could play a role in increasing the productivity of rice farming in the province. Last 7 March 7, the laser-guided land leveling system and rice straw baler were showcased to demonstrate its benefits and determine opportunities for future use.  One hundred sixty five mushroom growers, ruminant raisers, rice farmers and members of irrigators’ association, graced the event to assess the benefits that can be obtained from using these technologies to help improve farming livelihoods and accelerate the Iloilo’s rice competitiveness.

Mr. Peter Sobrevega, Regional Technical Director of the Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office for Region 6, welcomed the participants and partners to the event and emphasized how important these technologies are in terms of improving the rice farming industry. He also mentioned that mechanized rice straw collection using rice straw balers, through the support of the RiceStrawPH project, can also help the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and the National Dairy Technology to improve the livestock sector.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Direct Seeded Rice Consortium convenes first annual meeting to advance partnerships for more sustainable, environment-friendly rice systems

14 March 2019, IRRI Headquarters ~ The Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC), a multi-stakeholder research for development platform established by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), held its first annual review and planning meeting to discuss the progress and challenges encountered in their first year.

Direct seeding is a crop establishment system wherein rice seeds are planted directly into the field, as opposed to the more conventional method of growing rice first in a nursery, then transplanting it into a flooded plot. Besides saving significant water, labor, and time, direct seeding also greatly decreases the output of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Some of the trade-offs associated with the shifts from transplanted rice to direct seeding include use of higher seed rates, and higher weed infestation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Vietnam government taps CGIAR to work on its New Rural Development program

For more than five decades, CGIAR and its centers have been collaborating with Vietnamese partners in pursuing agricultural development, poverty eradication and sustainability in the country. CG Centers and CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) have done a lot of work in Vietnam on improving the income and livelihood of the rural population and helping them cope with the impacts of climate change.

With this relevance and strong research for development (R4D) capacity, the National Coordination Office of the National Target Program on New Rural Development (NTP-NRD) forged a partnership with CGIAR centers operating in Vietnam to work together for the NTP-NRD or the Nông Thôn Mới program. As a comprehensive development program, the Nông Thôn Mới program not only aims to build new rural areas by having appropriate socio-economic infrastructure and protecting national defense and security but also combining agricultural development with industry and services and conserving the environment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Myanmar strives to improve resilience against climate change

Millions of resource-poor farmers in stress-prone areas in Myanmar can cope with the effects of climate change by cultivating high-yielding stress tolerant varieties and diversifying food and income sources.

There is a pressing challenge to help farmers to better withstand or recover from natural disasters and the threats of climate change. In the past 10 years, the country has experienced severe drought, flooding, and cyclones with increased frequency and duration.

With the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and national partners in Myanmar, IRRI through the Stress-Tolerant Rice in Vulnerable Environments (STRIVE) project, improved the ability of vulnerable smallholder farms to recover from natural disasters.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Public-private partnerships drive efforts toward food security

No single organization can do everything to be successful and innovative. While IRRI is at the forefront of boosting rice productivity globally, there is an alarming challenge of producing nutritious and high quality rice in an increasingly scarce resource. The complex situation of poverty and food security calls for more strategic research for development initiatives that is reinforced through public and private sector collaborations.

During the IRRI Science Week, IRRI scientists and staff gathered to discuss the challenges and key drivers in public-private partnerships that will help the institute widen its global impact. IRRI, as an honest broker in rice, continues to engage with global research for development partners. Private companies are an important component of such partnerships. More importantly, public- private partnership creates synergy among different actors that enables taking technologies to farmers’ fields, so everyone can reap the best returns.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Policy pathways to value chain transformation highlighted during IRRI Science Week

Making safe and nutritious rice accessible to the consumers who depend on it for nourishment and at the same time growing rice that is profitable for farmers who rely on it for their livelihood is a shared responsibility of all actors working within the rice based agri-food system. But current institutions and policies are no longer equipped to adequately address this challenge and require system-wide shifts in priority areas. In the past few years, to address some aspects of this multifaceted challenge, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has been conducting value chain research exploring consumer behaviours and preferences as entry points to making rice inclusive, sustainable and capable of meeting global food security and nutrition challenges.

At the Value Chains and Policies session of IRRI Science Week, presenters reflected on how the institution’s initiatives contribute to improving the rice value chain within the countries it works in. Ongoing work on consumer valuation of sustainable rice production, as well as product profiling and forecasting of appropriate rice varieties, demonstrate how robust data can help identify emerging markets and enable rice value chain actors to address these markets’ needs as well as opportunities. Research on the sociocultural and economic factors behind household food consumption, the impact of climate change on rice production, and new mechanization and post-harvest technologies examine different drivers of change that can catalyze the transformation of rice-based value chains. A key learning across all these research programs was the need to influence policies to ensure sustained systemic change and large scale impact, particularly in terms of making all aspects of rice production more inclusive, more nutritious and more sustainable.