Tuesday, October 2, 2018

IRRI and partners enhance farmer livelihood through new rice straw composting technique



Rice straw is a natural byproduct of rice production. Each kilogram of milled rice produces around 0.7-1.4 kilos of rice straw, a potential additional income for smallholder farmers that usually end up being burnt due to convenience and lack of awareness on other rice straw management options.

With support from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), IRRI and its partners are developing and piloting technologies to facilitate the use of rice straw as an additional opportunity to enhance farmer income and improve sustainability of rice production.

Through the project “Scalable straw management options for improved farmer livelihoods, sustainability, and low environmental footprint in rice-based production systems”, IRRI conducted a demonstration of a locally adapted compost turner in Vietnam last September 19.

Monday, October 1, 2018

IRRI gathers researchers to advance breeding programs around the world



IRRI together with the Excellence in Breeding (EiB) program and the Genomic Open-Source Breeding Informatics Initiative (GOBii) gathers advanced research institutes around the globe to advance innovations and solve increasingly complex problems in rice-growing countries and beyond.

Last August, IRRI hosted more than 40 participants from public sector breeding programs across ten countries for the Joint Breeders’ Training and Workshop. The activity was an opportunity for breeders and informaticians to discuss, evaluate, and enable agricultural institutions in Asia and some parts of Africa to modernize their breeding programs.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Empowering women farmers to lead agricultural transformation



A network of women farmer leaders are set to drive widespread adoption of innovations and technologies across India. IRRI, together with the Department of Biotechnology of India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, are training women farmer leaders on advanced rice production to help boost food security in India.

A week-long advanced training on rice production was recently implemented by IRRI Education for women farmers. According to participant Jamuna Dutta Baruah, “through this program we were able to enrich what we have learned from the first training program with advanced knowledge on farming systems, mechanization, business development, and leadership skills.”

Monday, September 24, 2018

IRRI, WorldFish and Myanmar work together to optimize rice-fish farming productivity



IRRI, together with WorldFish and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation of Myanmar is exploring opportunities to improve the the livelihood, income, and nutrition of smallholder farmers in Myanmar by maximizing the combined productivity of rice and fish farming.

Research results conducted in Myanmar and some neighboring countries through the ACIAR-funded Rice-Fish project show that improved rice-fish farming offers a chance for farmers to produce a greater range of food and earn more income while only having minimum paddy modifications. “In Myanmar, growing fish together with rice has not affected rice yield. It has even increased farmer income by 9% in Maubin, Ayeyarwady Region, and 132% in Letpadan, Bago Region”, reports IRRI scientist Alexander Stuart.

Friday, September 21, 2018

IRRI discovers SWEET solution to bacterial blight



IRRI is leading innovations to provide adequate solutions to problems such as bacterial blight which severely affect rice production. In irrigated environments, bacterial blight can easily spread to large areas, causing up to 30% losses, a huge impact on the income for smallholder farmers in Asia.

Major genes for resistance called Xa genes (e.g., Xa4, Xa5, Xa21), have already been used in rice breeding programs. However, despite the importance of these genes in controlling the disease, the bacteria adapted to these resistant varieties making them susceptible again. There is a need to continue discovering new ways and developing varieties that can protect farmers from losses due to bacterial blight.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

IRRI transforms rice breeding processes through market-oriented product profiling


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Cambodian farmers invest in future rice varieties—digital product profiling through the
Investment Game Application (IGA) (photo credit: Matty Demont)

IRRI is purposefully engaging with farmers to inform policies and establish standards that transform rice breeding to become more efficient and market-oriented.

Together with the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), IRRI conducted behavioral experiments with Cambodian rice farmers in Prey Veng and Takeo to elicit their preferences for future rice varietal trait improvements.

Farmers were trained in digital product profiling through an interactive app called Investment Game Application (IGA). The app enables them to participate in a simulated investment market for public rice breeding.  More specifically, IGA helps farmers express their preferences for the varietal trait improvements that they need to improve their livelihoods. Since the app simulates and exposes farmers to the cost and risk trade-offs that rice breeders face under resource constraints, it compels them to prioritize their preferences and design focused product profiles for their future needs as rice farmers. IRRI senior economist Matty demont explains, “By placing farmers in the shoes of donors and by allowing them to decide on the allocation of rice breeding funds, we are able to determine their preferences and priorities. In turn, this helps researchers starting priority setting at an early stage in the field, helping breeding programs become more cost-efficient, market-driven, client- and product-oriented, and forward-looking.”

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Consumers willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced rice, a new study shows



In a study recently published in Food Policy, a leading international journal in agricultural economics, researchers from the International Rice Research Institute, Hue University, and Ghent University tested urban Vietnamese consumers’ response to sustainable production labels in rice.
Through behavioral market experiments, they elicited consumers’ willingness to pay for rice produced and labeled under the national sustainable production standard “VietGAP” in a supermarket in Can Tho City in the Mekong River Delta. The researchers also examined the conditions that make consumers willing to pay more for certified-sustainable rice. They found that consumers were willing to pay price premiums of 9% for certified sustainably produced rice on top of the price of regular rice. These premiums even further increased up to 33% when they were informed about what the label on sustainably-produced products mean and where exactly the rice was produced. Consumers that consider themselves as environment- and health-conscious tended to be most responsive to sustainable production labels.