Monday, July 15, 2019

Seed quality managers and technicians enhance skills on seed conservation


In partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT), IRRI hosted the Seed Quality Management (SQM) Workshop on 10-14 June, 2019, with IRRI’s Jae-Sung Lee, deputy overall management of IRRI Genebank, convening the event.

The SQM led by Dr. Fiona Hay, a former IRRI scientist and now working at Aarhus University, Denmark, is one of core activities in the CGIAR Genebank Platform. It pursues to improve seed quality and longevity through better genebank practices based on scientific evidences.

“It was a great opportunity to interact with other international/ national genebank staff. The outputs of the workshop will influence the future direction of seed conservation for world-important crop species”, said Dr. Lee.

The workshop resulted in four proposed SQM projects: 1) automation and image analysis; 2) seed longevity; 3) post-harvest handling; and 4) seed dormancy planned for the next phase of SQM from 2020. Better genebank operations and improved seed quality through those projects will maximize the impact of research, thus adheres to the IRRI’s theme–‘Harnessing rice genetic diversity to accelerate impact’. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Smarter planning for better planting: building capacity for WeRise technology to help rice farmers increase productivity and income



West Lombok, Indonesia - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in collaboration with the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology West Nusa Tenggara (AIAT-WNT), organized a two-day training for agricultural extension workers to deliver advisories to rice farmers through the Weather-rice-nutrient integrated decision support system (WeRise).

WeRise is an Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) tool that integrates seasonal climate predictions with crop growth and nutrient management models to provide recommendations on optimum planting times, suitable rice varieties to use, and the timing of fertilizer application for rainfed rice-growing areas under current and future climate conditions. As farmers continue to grapple with the effects of climate change, the IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Project (IJCRP) developed the WeRise platform to help farmers plan their crop calendar to increase yields and resilience as well as practice efficient water use. In this way, WeRise aims to improve rainfed rice productivity and the livelihoods of farmers.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

IRRI partners with social enterprise to incubate women’s producer company



As a concerted effort to test various models of women’s entrepreneurship development in rice agri-food systems, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has partnered with Access Livelihoods Consulting (ALC) India in the Dharmagarh and Kokasara blocks of Kalahandi district, Odisha to incubate a rural women-producer enterprise with 3,000 women farmers. This is undertaken through the project ‘Increasing Productivity of Rice-based Cropping Systems and Farmer's Income in Odisha’ supported by the State Government of Odisha. The initiative aims to double the income of the women farmers and groom the next generation of rural women leaders to conduct businesses profitably and sustainably.

Declared as one of India’s aspirational districts by policy think tank National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), and considered the “Rice Bowl of Odisha”, Kalahandi is where the major livelihood activities of a large section of rural population revolve around the paddy-based food system. In the two selected blocks of the district, more than 80% of the farmers are small and marginal with an average land-holding of less than 3 acres.  In Koksara, 80.9% of the cropping area is rain-fed and in the Dharamgarh block, 40% of the area is under canal irrigation. 34.8% of the women belong to the Scheduled Tribal (ST) community with an average annual income of below INR 40,000 and a major part of their income comes through paddy farming.



The Producer Company will provide all the services which include inputs (seed, fertilizers, bio-pesticides), agricultural machinery, financial services and marketing for its members and facilitate access to the latest technologies in production, processing, information and traceability. It will facilitate linkages with multiple stakeholders like government, financial institutions, knowledge Institutions and, markets and also, create adequate risk coverage mechanisms.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

IRRI leads the first roundtable discussion on laser-assisted land leveling in the Philippines



IRRI and the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) increases the profitability and sustainability of rice production by utilizing appropriate mechanization as enshrined in the country’s rice roadmap. 

With this, IRRI, the DA, with other rice industry stakeholders in the Philippines convened to share progress, discuss issues, and craft strategies in promoting laser leveling technologies.

Jon Hellin, leader of Sustainable Impact Platform, said that  “Laser Land Leveling was developed in the late 1990s and is a nice example of a technology development leading to considerable field operations efficiency, and towards environmental and financial sustainability. One of the reasons for this roundtable is to discuss how to scale the laser land leveling technology, share experiences from different agroecologies, farmer typologies, different methods, and approaches to scaling.” He also emphasized the importance of partnerships that will help accelerate the access to technologies.

Monday, July 1, 2019

54th Annual Rice Research Group Meeting furthering rice research in India



ICAR-National Rice Research Institute (NRRI, Cuttack), ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR, Hyderabad) and Association of Rice Research Workers Cuttack organized the 54th Annual Rice Group Meeting at NRRI between May 30 and June 2.

A team of senior scientists from IRRI India and the Philippines participated in the event where over 300 scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes, state agricultural universities and state departments of agriculture in India deliberated on the progress and challenges in 2018-19 in rice production. Future research opportunities of collaborations and the road map to address national priorities in the rice sector for India and South Asia were a highlight of the meeting.

IRRI, CCAFS support the promotion of climate-smart rice production in Vietnam


Dr. Nguyen Viet Khoa, head of Training and Education Division of the National Agriculture Extension Center, presenting the draft modules on climate-smart rice production. Photo by: NAEC
To mainstream climate change adaptation and mitigation in rice production, the National Agriculture Extension Center (NAEC) of Vietnam developed a set of training materials on climate-smart rice production for extension staff and rice farmers. With the help of experts from the various agencies attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, such as the institutes of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, NAEC drafted updated modules and presentations on the different steps of rice production and on effective communication and extension.

Eight specific modules were developed tackling topics such as adaptive cropping calendar (rice varieties, soil preparation, and crop establishment); water management; waste and by-product management, reducing post-harvest losses; and scaling and evaluation. For the first time a specific module on climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rice production has been included in the training outline as well. Alongside improving the clarity of lessons, the participants were also trained on how to keep the interest and attention of farmers, another crucial element for a successful training. The modules are intended to be used in the rice intensive region of Red River Delta, and eventually later-on, in the Mekong River Delta.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Dr. Jauhar Ali invited to University of Bonn for special seminar on climate-smart rice



18 June 2019 – IRRI Senior Scientist and Head of Hybrid Rice Breeding Dr. Jauhar Ali was invited last June 12 by the Institute for Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation of the University of Bonn, Germany to give a special seminar on ‘climate-smart rice for global food security’.

Dr. Ali’s seminar, which was attended by students and staff of the university, established the importance of rice as a global food staple, and how research into areas like climate-resilient crops, biofortification, crop management technologies, and policies on food availability and access can help ensure food and nutrition security.

Dr. Ali then went on to talk about Green Super Rice (GSR), a category of rice varieties and hybrids so named for their environmental sustainability and high resource-use efficiency. These cultivars, developed through an IRRI breeding strategy of identifying promising introgression lines with target traits and bred through Designed QTL Pyramiding, combine high yield potential with less inputs, multiple biotic and abiotic tolerances, and good grain quality that can help farmers achieve stable harvests and income amid climatic stresses.