Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Piloting MET for Rainfed Lowland Rice

The IRRI MET Team, in collaboration with the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE) and CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), held a mini-workshop to pilot a Multi-Environment Testing (MET) scheme for rainfed lowland rice in selected Southeast Asian countries for the 2014 wet season. The workshop was a special activity of the 13th Steering Committee meeting of CURE held on 8-10 April 2014 in Da Nang City, Vietnam.

IRRI began implementing a new MET scheme to improve the overall efficiency of breeding for the irrigated ecosystem at the beginning of the 2011 dry season.

This system for irrigated rice has since been refined and now involves three stages (MET 0, MET 1, and MET 2) implemented in the Philippines and 5 other Southeast Asian countries.  Under the proposed MET for rainfed lowland rice, the most promising breeding materials from the IRRI rainfed lowland breeding pipeline along with elite rainfed lowland breeding products from national breeding programs will be evaluated together in pilot sites for the 2014 wet season in 5 countries – Philippines,  Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam. These countries are also key members of CURE and are involved in CCAFS activities, particularly the CCAFS ‘climate-smart villages.’

The workshop was organized by Dr. Ed RedoƱa, leader of the GRiSP Product Team for MET and INGER. It was attended by potential implementing scientists from Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, along with delegates from IRRI, CURE, and CCAFS.

Pilot sites were selected during the workshop and detailed protocols for trial composition, field establishment, crop management and data collection were discussed in preparation for the wet season implementation.  The MET is the final step in the varietal testing process undertaken before an elite breeding line is considered for commercial release to farmers. The envisioned activity will be the first formal MET system for rainfed lowland rice in Southeast Asia.

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