Friday, September 22, 2017

Odisha rice farmers begin seed production training





One of IRRI’s most significant initiatives is to develop and distribute high-quality, high-yield seeds that can thrive in vulnerable environmental conditions. Working toward this mission, IRRI launched a project called “Increasing Production of Rice Based Cropping Systems and Farmer’s Income" in Odisha, India. This project aims to make high-quality seeds accessible in the region in order to raise rice productivity and farmers' income.

As part of the project, a training program on quality rice seed production and storage was held last 6 September in Puri, Odisha, in collaboration with local NGO Lutheran World Relief Services.

The training program will test and demonstrate the training modules for seed production and proper storage practices. Test results will be used to revise the existing modules on seed production, which farmers and other stakeholders can then use as a guide. The updated module will be distributed across Odisha, with IRRI aiming to reach 2,700 farmers in all 30 districts of the state.

Thirty-five delegates attended the training. Among the topics discussed by Dr. Survesh Shukla, Training and Communication Specialist, and his team were:
  • seed/grain quality,
  • seed cleaning and treatment
  • nursery preparation,
  • rouging at different crop stages, and
  • observations and actions needed at different production stages (i.e., harvesting, threshing, drying, postharvest, and storage).
Recommended seed cleaning and storage practices were also demonstrated to the participants. In addition, training materials, such as flipbooks and manuals, were distributed among the farmers. The flipbook is specifically designed for women, as the program also aims to enhance women's capacity and increase their involvement in the seed sector. Participants also engaged in an open forum wherein they shared their experiences, asked questions, and voiced their insights.

Other stakeholders such as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), seed certification units, seed producers, and agriculture officials are expected to join the next round of trainings.

Authors: Manzoor H. Dar and Deepti Saksena 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Former IRRI Board chair passes away




Dr. Angeline Kamba, IRRI Board Member from 1998 to 2003, died on September 12, 2017 at the age of 81. A family representative stated that she “has passed peacefully at home after being unwell for over a month”. She is survived by two children and two grandchildren.

Dr. Kamba served as chair of the IRRI Board from 2002 to 2003. Prior to this, she was Zimbabwe’s representative to UNESCO Commission on Culture and Development, and held other positions in different local and international agencies such as Zimbabwe’s National Archives and CAB International.

She is a terrible loss to the development industry, and we express our deepest condolences to her family.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

IRRI solidifies partnership with PhilRice at the 30th National Rice R&D Conference




IRRI joined the 30th National Rice R&D Conference held at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Central Experiment Station in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on 5-6 September. Deputy Director for Communication and Partnerships Bruce Tolentino headed the IRRI delegation and presented the institute’s 2017-2025 strategic plan.

Monday, September 4, 2017

IRRI, ADB, stakeholders discuss climate-resilient agricultural practices in Bangladesh



There is a great need to quickly disseminate water-saving technologies to the farmers of Bangladesh, according to Md. Toufiqul Alam, additional secretary of the country's Ministry of Agriculture. 

With that goal, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized an inception meeting for the project, “Piloting of Climate-Resilient Agricultural Practices in Bangladesh” at Feni, 21-22 August. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss new knowledge from the launch of climate-resilient water-saving alternate wetting and drying agricultural practices. 

A work plan to solicit feedback from policymakers, experts, farmers, and other stakeholders associated with the implementation of the Muhuri Irrigation Project was recommended. Participants (photo) included the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), the Department of Agriculture and Extension (DAE), irrigation operators, and farmers. This project is part of ADB’s program on “Investment Assessment and Application of High-Level Technology for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Putting rice straw waste to good use

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines―A two-day workshop focusing on research-based, sustainable rice straw management initiatives and viable market prospects for rice straw was held at the IRRI Headquarters, 8-9 August. The event, titled "Putting Waste to Good Use: Sustainable Rice Straw Management in the Philippines," brought together researchers from Philippine government agencies and state universities and private sector entrepreneurs.  


A rice byproduct, rice straw can potentially be useful in several ways. However, in the Philippines, it is deemed to have little to no commercial value. Thus, it is usually burned or incorporated into the soil. Finding optimal uses for rice straw and determining how to manage it in an environmentally friendly way can increase farmers' income.

Friday, August 11, 2017

India: Season-long training on rice cultivation under way in Odisha

To further disseminate information and technologies on rice production across Odisha, India, season-long training sessions on using a mat-type nursery and mechanical transplanting and other aspects of cultivation have been under way since 14 July. The first session focused on raising healthy rice seedlings and preparing a mat nursery. 

Organized by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK)-Bhadrak of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India) in collaboration with Cereal Systems Initiative in South Asia (CSISA), the program is composed of five training days for each session, which are covering each phase of rice cultivation. The other four sessions are tackling rice transplanting, weed management, pest and disease management, and harvesting.

Twenty village agricultural workers from the Department of Agriculture participated during the first training day. They were grouped into five, each of which was assigned a plot at the KVK experimental farm. This scenario allows them to conduct trials throughout the training period.

Dr. Aurovinda Das, senior scientist and program coordinator of KVK-Bhadrak, explained the objectives of the training program as well as its relevance in Bhadrak, Odisha. Scientists from CSISA and KVK discussed the technical aspects of the program and demonstrated the actual mat nursery preparation in the field.

Instructional leaflets containing guidelines on mat-type nursery management, manual transplanting, and best bet agronomy were distributed among trainees. All participants are expected to further train farmers, dealers, and members of NGOs in mat-type nursery management in Odisha, India. 

Establishing a modified mat nursery is the most popular training video that IRRI has ever produced with nearly 310,000 views.

Authors: Aurovinda Das, Debashis Nayak, Vivek Kumar, Panneerselvam Peramaiyan, and Ashok Kumar
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

IRRI bags Outstanding Research Award for biofortified indica rice study

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines ― IRRI's  Genetic Transformation Laboratory, headed by Dr. Inez Slamet-Loedin, was recognized at the Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW) for its work on iron- and zinc-enriched indica rice. The study is regarded as a breakthrough in the battle against micronutrient deficiency.

IRRI's Genetic Transformation Laboratory Team receives an Outstanding Research Award from LBSCFI's PARRFI.

Titled "Biofortified Indica Rice Attains Iron and Zinc Nutrition Dietary Targets in the Field," the paper garnered the Outstanding Research and Development Award for the Research Category from the Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc.'s (LBSCFI) Philippine Agriculture and Resource Research Foundation, Inc. (PARRFI). LBSCFI's PARRFI grants this award to agricultural, forestry, and environmental projects that contribute to national development. The study was also recently published at Nature's Scientific Reports.

"The team is really excited to learn that we won the award. We feel honored that our continuous and persistent effort all these years was greatly appreciated. This recognition would certainly encourage the team to work with more spirit and more focus on developing healthier rice varieties for rice consumers," said Norman Oliva, one of the researchers.

The study successfully verified the proof of concept on attaining Fe/Zn nutritional targets under flooded field conditions. Genetically engineered rice has raised the levels of iron (up to 15 micrograms) and zinc (up to 45.7 micrograms). Generally, polished rice grains contain only around 2 micrograms of iron and 16 micrograms of zinc.

The RSTW, themed Science for the People: S&T in Harmony with Biodiversity, was organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region IV and featured back-to-back activities with the LBSCFI.  Highlight of the celebration was the Syensaya's Wonderama, which showcased interactive urban-, marine-, agriculture-, and environment-related exhibits. Simultaneously, fora were also conducted, including the DOST CALABARZON Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology Forum and LBSCFI's Technology Forum on Water Security. The event was held on August 2-4.