Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nepal: 3-day rice tech transfer training workshop held

IRRI, in collaboration with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), organized a 3-day international training workshop on “Rice technology transfer systems (RTTS) for stress-prone environments in South Asia” at Pokhara, Nepal from the 20th to the 22nd of March 2014. The workshop was supported by the EC-IFAD funded project “Improved rice crop management for raising productivity in the submergence-prone and salt-affected rainfed lowlands in South Asia” and STRASA (Stress tolerant rice for Africa and South Asia).

Thirty researchers and extension workers from Bangladesh, Nepal, and India participated in this event. The focus of the training was to share the knowledge and experiences of successful rice technology transfer models and research-extension linkages as practiced in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal and to strengthen the technology promotion and delivery system.

Dr. A. K. Agnihotri, senior associate scientist, IRRI India welcomed the chief guest Dr. Ram Chandra Adhikari, regional director of the Regional Agricultural Research Station of NARC, Lumle, and participants from India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. He talked about harnessing the productivity potential of Himalayan and Tarai regions of Nepal through introduction of suitable stress tolerant rice varieties (STRVs) and improved management practices. These practices can help augment food grain production in the regions. Dr. Adhikari applauded the continuous support of IRRI in improving the rice productivity.

“70% of the total rice area in Nepal is rainfed and prone to frequent drought, submergence and cold stresses due to climate change. There is an urgent need to offer sustainable solution to mitigate these challenges that could be achieved only through strengthening the NARC partnership with IRRI,” Dr. Adhikari said.

Mr. Julian Lapitan, senior manager, National Programs Relations, IRRI, Philippines pointed out that agriculture is facing challenges of dwindling land area, the aging of farmers, aversion of youth to practice agriculture, and the declining interest of students in the discipline of agriculture. There is a need to popularize and transfer relevant affordable and sustainable technologies to farmers to increase productivity and improve their livelihood to accelerate the dissemination efforts, he added. Dr. Bhaba Prasad Tripathi  highlighted the overwhelming success of Swarna-Sub1, Samba Mahsuri-Sub1 in Nepal and the recent release of drought tolerant rice varieties Sukha Dhan 4, 5 & 6.

Mr. Lapitan facilitated the training and demonstrated how business management practices and leadership development improve the technology transfer system. Dr. R.M. Kathresan, Dean, Annamalai University, India delivered a lecture on farming systems research options and highlighted the successful crop diversification interventions in Tamil Nadu State of India.

Mr. T.C. Dhoundiyal, project manager, STRASA South Asia talked about how project management practices and tools can be used in agriculture extension system for transfer of technologies.

The project partners from India, Bangladesh and Nepal shared their experiences and lessons learned from the outcomes of the EC-IFAD and STRASA projects. These useful deliberations helped get the participants acquainted with new advancement in the agricultural research, extension and development.

A field visit to RARS, Lumle was organized for the participants. Dr. R.C. Adhikari, along with ateam of scientists and officials welcomed the participants and presented the overview of research and extension works of the station. RARS Lumle is mandated for generating suitable technologies for Western Development Region including screening and evaluation of new rice germplasm. Dr. Adhikari sought a collaboration with IRRI in developing cold tolerant rice varieties suitable for the region.

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