Friday, April 26, 2019

Green super rice varieties are boosting productivity and income with less inputs and more environmental sustainability



Integrated breeding and crop management solutions help smallholder farmers improve their income and livelihood while protecting the environment and themselves.

Green Super Rice (GSR) can produce high and stable yield with fewer inputs like water, fertilizers, and pesticides. These varieties have the tolerance to different abiotic stresses such as drought, floods, salinity, and other stresses.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations (BMGF) and the Chinese Government, IRRI through the GSR project released 55 varieties in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East and Southern Africa. At present, these varieties cover more than two million hectares in 11 countries. According to a study conducted in the Philippines, GSR farmers have an estimated income advantage of more than USD 231 per hectare. This advantage can reach up to USD 409 per hectare during the wet season.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Frogs can be heroes or villains in the rice ecosystem, a new study revealed


Molly Shuman-Goodier, lead researcher, recently earned her PhD at the Northern Arizona State University. Grant Singleton, IRRI’s Principal Scientist and CORIGAP project leader, served as one of her supervisors

In a recent study published in the internationally renowned journal Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment, researchers from the Northern Arizona University, the International Rice Research Institute, and the University of Greenwich investigated the functional roles of frogs in the rice ecosystem. The research was conducted on the Zeigler Experiment Station at IRRI, and led by Molly Shuman-Goodier a PhD student who graduated from Northern Arizona University  in April 2019.

A field survey was conducted in two separate rainy seasons of 2015 and 2017 to determine whether the endemic native Luzon wart frogs (Fejevarya vittigera) and non-native cane toads (Rhinella marina) consume rice pests and which is more effective in doing so.  The diet composition of the two species was also examined to determine how these two species compete for food resources in the rice fields. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

IRRI joins regional discussion on mechanization of grain harvesting


Demonstration of a wheat combine in Bhairahawa district, Terai Region, Nepal.

IRRI’s  Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster participated in a traveling seminar on Mechanized Grain Harvesting for Smallholder Farmers in Nepal and Asia in Nepal on 25-29 March 2019 .

The event aimed to identify mechanization research and learning areas across South and Southeast Asia, particularly Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. The traveling seminar included field visits and a workshop on farmers’ grain wheat harvesting, interactions with various distributors, service providers and operators of emerging technologies on rice harvesting at Nepal’s Terai Region.

Dr. Timothy Krupnik, Lead of CSISA Bangladesh, said that CSISA is addressing challenges in smallholder farmers’ productivity and that the traveling seminar is an avenue to stimulate ideas for collaborative research around markets and market system on appropriate mechanization.

Monday, April 15, 2019

IRRI hosts 13th Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange delegates



48 delegates from ten countries across Asia recently visited the International Rice Research headquarters to learn about the institute's agricultural biotechnology initiatives and biosafety protocols. The study visit formed part of the itinerary of the 13th Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange program, an annual knowledge exchange platform organized by Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines, Croplife Philippines, and Croplife Asia for farmers, policymakers, journalists, and other key stakeholders engaged in agriculture.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Former Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development appointed as new member of IRRI Board of Trustees



With his extensive experience in agriculture and great contribution to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Dr. Cao Đức Phát, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam from 2004 to 2016, was recently appointed as a new member of IRRI's Board of Trustees. His appointment will be effective 10 January 2019 for a term of three (3) years.

In a meeting to celebrate Dr. Phát’s appointment, Dr. Ole Sander, the IRRI country representative to Vietnam, recalled the significant contributions Dr. Phát provided to IRRI when he was the minister of MARD. These include allowing IRRI to have an active role in the development of the rice restructuring plan of Vietnam, as well as helping strengthen the research and capacity building collaboration between IRRI and the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS).

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.