Thursday, July 12, 2018

Philippine partners learn about mechanized straw collection

Rice straw is a major residue in Philippine rice farms. Due to lack of awareness about properly disposing rice straw, farm owners resort to burning tons of the material, which in turn exposes the environment to major hazards. The negative effects of burning rice straw not only affects the farmers, but everything and everyone in the vicinity. 

One of the major technological developments that makes rice straw disposal more efficient is the rice straw baler. This machine can pick up and collect loose straw in the field, and reduce it into compact bales that can be easily handled and transported to areas where it can be used further. Using this machine reduces labor requirement by 90% compared with manually collecting the rice straw spread out in the field. 

IRRI, FAO teams up to develop sustainable rice value chain in Africa

Workshop participant doing a land preparation exercise at an IRRI experiment station.

IRRI, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is equipping the next generation of African agricultural technicians and extension agents with technical strategies and techniques in developing sustainable rice value food chains.

A two-week training workshop gathered 27 participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’ Ivoire, Guinea Conakry,  Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. During the event, global rice experts facilitated interactive lectures and gave participants hands-on experience on the stages of the rice value chain from land preparation to post-harvest processing, seed systems, and agribusiness development.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Public consultations scheduled for Golden Rice field trials

The Philippine Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) has given the go-signal for the conduct of public consultations on the proposed field trials for GR2E Golden Rice.

The public consultation process is a significant component of biosafety regulatory approval under the Joint Department Circular No. 1 series of 2016. The consultation process is comprised of Public Information Sheet postings in accessible community locations, a 30-day public comment period, and the public hearing. This provides community members with the opportunity to participate responsibly in a critical biosafety decision-making process.

Nepal, IRRI strengthens collaboration to achieve self-sufficiency and reduce rice importation at 15th National Rice Day

Rice importation eats up a substantial chunk of Nepal’s national budget each year, adversely affecting economic development in the country. In order to reduce rice import and  help Nepal achieve its commitment to rice self-sufficiency, IRRI is working in the country to speed up the translation of innovative global solutions to the local needs of the rice value chain. Together with national partners, IRRI is accelerating the impact of its research through scaling up technology adoption and teaching local rice stakeholders.

During Nepal’s 15th National Rice Day, Dr. Dil Bahadur Gurung, member of the National Planning Commission, expressed appreciation for IRRI’s support in Nepal’s research on rice product profiling, climate-resilient rice, and on the best management practices in rice production. He also thanked IRRI for its contribution in the capacity building of more than 300 Nepalese scientists and extension workers through academic programs, short-term trainings, and exchange visits.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

RICE CRP to boost communication of its vision and impact across regions

To map out the general course of its operations towards achieving food security and eliminating poverty, the CGIAR Research Program on Rice (RICE CRP) held its annual Independent Steering Committee Meeting (ISC) on June 7-8, 2018 at the Agropolis International, Montpellier, France.

The ISC is composed of five (5) representatives from the boards of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and AfricaRice; six (6) independent global experts; and the DGs of IRRI and AfricaRice as ex-officio members. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

RiceStrawPH: IRRI teams up with Philippine partners for sustainable rice straw management project

The Philippines produces 15.2 million tons of rice; leaving 11.3 tons of rice straw spread out in the field. The abundance of rice straw can be used for a number of profitable practices like composting, mushroom production, and as feed for animals.

However, it is still perceived to have of little value in the Philippines because of its difficulty in collection and lack of opportunities to use rice straw as an additional source of income. Rice producers would prefer burning it in open fields for easier management. About 60-80% of rice straw is burned in the open field, which contributes to greenhouse gas emission and air pollution.

To develop optimal, localized, and sustainable rice straw management solutions in the country, IRRI, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, and the Philippine Carabao Center, launched the Sustainable Rice Straw Management for Bioenergy, Food, and Feed in the Philippines (RiceStrawPH) project. Funded by the Philippine’s Department of Agriculture Bureau of Agricultural Research, the two-year project aims to develop sustainable technologies and practices in using rice straw for bioenergy, mushroom, and animal feed production.

“It is very  exciting to see how we are taking further steps, through strong collaboration with our Philippine partners, to find ways to manage rice by-products, for optimal resource-use efficiency in farms in the most environmentally sustainable manner. This is very crucial for us to achieve a sustainable impact in rice–based ecosystems,” said Jon Hellin, IRRI Platform Leader on Sustainable Impact.

“We must create incentives for farmers to stop burning and to do this under the umbrella of enabling legislative framework,” he said.

Together with other project collaborators from the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), Bureau of Plant Industry, and the University of the Philippines Los Banos, a two-day workshop was held on 26-27 June at IRRI  to discuss and align the project’s plans with the Philippine Rice Program.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rice stakeholders highlight importance of creating value-adding activities for rice

In Asia, achieving food security remains an important issue, as the consumption of rice appears to be decreasing in some rice-growing countries, and farmers face increasingly challenging conditions. As rice is a political crop so culturally intertwined with life in Asia, the need for marketing it innovatively through value-adding activities is more relevant than ever.

The International Seminar on Promoting Rice Farmers’ Market through Value-Adding Activities held on June 5–9 at the Kasetsart University gathered rice experts from 11 countries to share  experiences in rice value addition during production, processing, and marketing.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Opening the doors to food security through genomics

The development of Green Super Rice, a new breed of stable, climate-smart, high-yielding varieties, opens up the potential of understanding and using genomics of agroecosystems in responding to the increasingly complex challenges the agricultural sector is facing today.

As the global population continues to increase exponentially each day, so does the demand for rice, a major staple food and livelihood for more than 3.5 billion people. Given the current growth rate, it is expected that global population will reach around 10 billion by 2050. Much of this increase will occur in poor, densely populated regions in Asia and Africa that are already highly dependent on rice for food, nutrition, and livelihood.

The article “The Rice Genome Revolution: from an Ancient Grain to Green Super Rice” published in Nature Reviews Genetics discusses how genomes from domesticated and wild rice can be used to improve other breeding programs, making it more responsive to global needs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Stakeholders learn about sustainable rice straw management in Vietnam

Rice straw management remains to be one of Vietnam’s biggest agricultural challenges. On average, 60% of the straw generated from rice production in the country is burned in the field every year. The burning of what amounts to 20 million tons of straw annually is dangerous and not environmentally sustainable because it increases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which leads to environmental pollution. This could cause respiratory problems in humans and emanate a thick cloud of smoke that causes serious vehicle accidents.

To discuss best practices and policy recommendations on sustainable rice straw management, a workshop was organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Hanoi, Vietnam, 05 June 2018. The workshop is aligned with the three-year BMZ-IRRI Straw Management Project, and aimed to present the project’s research outputs on effective rice straw management technologies and practices for improved livelihoods, sustainability, and low environmental footprint in rice-based production systems.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Increasing farmers’ income through post-harvest technologies and value chain upgrading

IRRI aims to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia by delivering comprehensive and market-oriented solutions to reduce post-harvest losses, boost farmer income, and increase rice production sustainability.

During the 13th International Rice Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, IRRI joined fellow global experts in a forum where they shared solutions and approaches to sustainable rice production, such as recent developments in post-harvest technologies and learning alliances.

Nine Asian countries learn novel technologies in Rice Technology Transfer Systems in Asia (RTTS) Training Workshop at RDA in South Korea

Participants of the Rice Technology Transfer Systems in 
Asia Training Workshop in Korea
IRRI Education, in collaboration with the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea, trained a new batch of agricultural technicians and extension agents, at the International Technology Cooperation Center (ITCC) in Jeonju, South Korea, May 16-25, 2018. The group, which consisted of 17 participants from nine Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, included a strong representation of women (15 females out of 17 participants).

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

WateRice project demonstrated laser guided land leveling technology to Iloilo farmers

IRRI works with national partners to promote technologies that maximize water-use efficiency and to reduce rice’s ecological footprint through the Water-efficient and risk mitigation technologies for enhancing rice production in irrigated and rainfed environments (WateRice) Project. In cooperation with the Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESVIARC), WateRice Project conducted a demonstration of laser-guided land leveling to farmers of Iloilo, Philippines.

Monday, May 28, 2018

SeedCast – Innovative mobile app launched by IRRI to estimate seed demand for rice varieties in Odisha, India

IRRI together with the Odisha Department of Agriculture and the Odisha State Seed Corporation (OSSC) is connecting global innovative solutions to local needs through SeedCast, a mobile application and web-based Management Information System (MIS) portal for seed demand estimation.

SeedCast will help streamline the demand and supply of seeds for different varieties of rice. According to Dr. Saurabh Garg, Principal Secretary of the Odisha Department of Agriculture and Farmers' Empowerment, “seed corporations have been grappling with the issue of estimating demand for seeds. SeedCast will help estimate demand for varieties of rice seeds, which makes nearly 80% of the Kharif cultivation.” 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

DNA fingerprinting to improve seed systems monitoring in Bangladesh

Stakeholders discuss the potential of DNA fingerprinting technology in addressing concerns presented in the Rice Monitoring Survey in South Asia (RMSSA) Workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 08 May 2018.

To present information on and address concerns associated with the adoption of abiotic stress tolerant rice varieties in Bangladesh, a workshop on rice varietal monitoring and seed system improvement using DNA fingerprinting technology was held at the Center on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) International Conference Center (CICC), Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 8.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Helping Vietnam transform its rice sector through sustainable rice production practices

IRRI works with key partners in boosting Vietnam’s rice industry through the “Vietnam Sustainable Agricultural Transformation project” (VnSAT).  The  VnSAT Central Project Management  Unit  (CPMU) from the Ministry of Agricultural Rural Development (MARD) CPMU, and the Provincial Project Management Units (PPMU) from  eight provinces (An Giang, Tien Giang, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Dong Thap, and Long An) in the Mekong River Delta are actively working with farmers to ensure sustainable rice farming in the country’s rice bowl.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Former IRRI cropping systems program leader passes away

John 'Johnny' W. Pendleton, 96, a leading international agronomist, passed away on 15 May in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) as an agronomist and cropping systems program leader in the institute's Multiple Cropping Unit during 1980-82. During his time at IRRI, Dr. Pendleton worked on major rice-legume cropping system combinations and their fertilizer management. As part of an FAO-sponsored expert consultation held in New Delhi in February 1982, he urged that all fertilizer research on cropping systems must include careful economic analysis. He stated that "farmers are not interested in more crops per year but in more profits from their land each year." IRRI sends it deepest condolences to Dr. Pendleton's family.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Towards greater genetic gains in rice based agri-food systems in South Asia and Africa

On a mission to make Asia and sub-Saharan Africa more food secure, IRRI’s Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) Project, chiefly supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), was launched in 2008. In its decade of implementation, STRASA has brought forth a new era of scientific excellence in rice science, as evidenced by the following impacts: extensive network of research and development and expertise generated from stress-tolerant rice varieties’ delivery and extension; strengthened supply chain networks; shared platforms for varietal knowledge enhancement, production and training; and widespread diffusion reaching farmers and benefiting consumers worldwide.

Bangladesh Government honors former IRRI Agronomist Dr. Md. M Abdul Mazid for contributions to Bangladeshi food security

Dhaka, Bangladesh—25 March 2018—The government presented the “Swadhinata Padak 2018” award to former IRRI Agronomist Dr. Md. M Abdul Mazid for his work on rice research and development that helped improve food security in Bangladesh.

The “Swadhinata Padak 2018”, more popularly known as the Independence Award, is the highest civilian honor the Prime Minister of Bangladesh awards individuals who have made remarkable contributions in their respective fields. Having devoted over 40 years in developing the rice-based agri-food systems of Bangladesh, Dr. Mazid has been given this honor for mitigating  “Monga” and accelerating agriculture research for development of flash flood submergence tolerance rice, pioneering seed production, and  training farmers in Bangladesh.

Friday, May 11, 2018

IRRI shares Rice Crop Manager experience during the 10th ICT4D Conference

Through partnership with national research partners, IRRI applies sustainable global solutions to local needs through information and communication technology (ICT) tools like Rice Crop Manager (RCM).

During the 10th ICT for Development (ICT4D) Conference, IRRI presented with other humanitarian and international development organizations like mPower Social Enterprise from Bangladesh, Farm Radio International from Malawi, and the Grantham Center for Sustainable Futures of the University of Sheffield, shares how government collaboration has been a key pathway to ownership, adoption, and in achieving scale and sustainability of agricultural information platforms.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

IRRI strengthens ties with DLG to boost farm mechanization in Myanmar

During the workshop, participants were presented with farm mechanization technologies like laser leveling. Laser leveling results in a precisely leveled field which facilitates efficient use of water, fertilizers, herbicides.

IRRI, through the Closing the Rice Yield Gap Project (CORIGAP-PRO) and and in partnership with the Agricultural Development Support Project (ADSP) is working with the German Agricultural Society (DLG-Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft) in the delivery of mechanization technologies for smallholder farmers in Myanmar.

Friday, May 4, 2018

CORIGAP-PRO partners map out outscaling strategies for impact

IRRI, through the Closing Rice Yield Gaps Project (CORIGAP-PRO), has been working with partners to facilitate various activities for scaling out technologies to improve farming practices of smallholder farmers in irrigated rice environments.

Representatives from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, together with IRRI scientists and a project partner from the Philippines, participated in an Impact Pathways Workshop to share experiences and describe country-specific outscaling strategies.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IRRI, PhilRice Los Baños team up to accelerate varietal adoption in the region

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IRRI and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Los Baños Station are working together, through the NextGen Project, in accelerating the adoption of next generation varieties for smallholder farmers in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon Provinces.

According to PhilRice Los Baños Branch Director, Rhemilyn Relado, “we have good quality varieties which, coupled with mechanization and good farming practices and technologies, will boost rice production and improve the lives of farmers in the region.”

Monday, April 30, 2018

IRRI and Korea strengthen partnership to improve country’s local rice sector

IRRI is working closely with the Government of the Republic of Korea through its Rural Development Administration (RDA) in advancing rice research to help more rice-growing countries.

The IRRI-RDA collaboration will maximize research opportunities and go beyond challenges to create a strong impact in helping resource-poor farmers. IRRI works with RDA in the delivery of tailored solutions to the country’s local needs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

CGIAR Germplasm Health Units commit delivery of good quality germplasm

The International Rice Research Institute hosted this year’s technical working group meeting of CGIAR’s Germplasm Health Units (GHU). The meeting focused on finding innovative solutions to achieve a disease-free, viable and well-documented germplasm and developing delivery strategies to make it available and accessible to farmers and the market.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Enhancing seed quality in Sri Lanka through improved drying and storage

Workshop participants are introduced to setting up a Solar Bubble Dryer,
a technology on paddy drying which has the potential to increase
labor productivity and to maintain the quality of seed.
IRRI and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations through the Closing Rice Yield Gaps with Reduced Environmental Footprints (CORIGAP-PRO) and the European Union Support to District Development Programme increases the national capacity of Sri Lanka on postharvest technology for rice by conducting a workshop on drying and storage technologies.

Through a two-day workshop, extension agents, researchers, and farm technicians were introduced to the importance and basic principles of paddy drying and proper storage in ensuring the quality of rice. Trainees were also introduced to operating and troubleshooting available paddy drying systems like the Solar Bubble Dryer (SBD) and storage options like the hermetic GrainSafe(™) through different hands-on activities. These technologies would eventually help in improving grain quality and marketability and thus giving smallholder farmers an opportunity to earn more from what they have produced.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sowing the seeds of rice self-sufficiency in Africa through capacity building

Workshop participants discuss constraints in the production and delivery of quality rice seed in Uganda.

IRRI works closely with national research and extension systems (NARES) in making scientific knowledge and expertise on rice science more widely accessible. Together with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), IRRI aims to improve the quality of rice seed production, which contributes to food and livelihood security of smallholder farmers in member countries of the Coalition of African Rice Development (CARD).

Since 2016, IRRI-JICA-PhilRice has developed and facilitated two training programs in the Philippines: the three-week Quality Breeder and Foundation Seed Course conducted at IRRI Headquarters and the eight-week Specialized Course on Rice Seed Production and Extension held at PhilRice Central Experiment Station. To date, 83 individuals have been trained from 18 out of 23 CARD member countries.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Water for Food: PhilRice and IRRI jointly organized field day to create awareness on sustainable water management

Sustainable water management is at the heart of producing more food with less resources in an increasingly complex environment due to climate change. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is working together in creating impacts at scale that is beneficial for the people and the planet.

After the field demonstration, the participants were shown other water-saving technologies. Engr. Lea Caguiat, Science Research Analyst from PhilRice, demonstrates how a mechanical transplanter works to a group of farmers in Nueva Ecija during World Water Day 2018.

IRRI and PhilRice joined the international community in celebrating World Water Day through a field day to generate awareness on sustainable water use as part of their ongoing collaboration “Water-efficient and Risk Mitigation Technologies for Enhancing Rice Production in Irrigated and Rainfed Environments” (WateRice). With the theme “Nature for Water”, the field day was organized at Turnout 8, Purok Curva, Bantug, Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on 22 March 2018.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

IRRI and Philippine Science and Technology Department partner to advance scientific and technological collaboration

26 March 2018, Los Baños, Philippines – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) strengthened their partnership by signing a new agreement expanding their scientific and technological collaboration today.

Through this partnership, DOST and IRRI will share their expertise in high performance computing, data storage and cloud resources as well as bioinformatics, genomics, computational/systems biology, and other areas relevant to rice science.

“Our goal at DOST is to make science and technology of real service to the people. This collaboration will advance our research and development agenda and expand the services we are able to offer,” said Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Golden Rice gains health and safety nod from Health Canada

Health Canada has notified the International Rice Research Institute that it has no objection to the food use of Provitamin A Biofortified Rice Event GR2E (Golden Rice). The Department conducted a comprehensive assessment of this rice event according to its Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods, which are based upon internationally accepted principles for establishing the safety of foods with novel traits.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Paving the way for sustainable rice production in Asian countries

Farmers from Chainat Province share their experiences about using Laser Leveling. “Before, we experience lodging. After using Laser Leveling, I noticed an improvement in my crops and there was less lodging,” said Mr. Chaleaw Noiseang
IRRI, in strong collaboration with national partners, is implementing innovative pathways to alleviate poverty and promote gender equity by optimizing productivity and environmental sustainability of irrigated rice production systems. The Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP-PRO) project, which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), brought together national partners from eight countries during its annual meeting to discuss key outcomes for 2017 and to plan activities for the next year.

“In 2017, the best management practices promoted by CORIGAP have currently reached more than 375,000 farmers across the six target countries (China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam), with yield increase ranging from 14 to 30%,” according to Grant Singleton, IRRI Principal Scientist and CORIGAP project coordinator. “With this exciting outcome, we will hear how each country has progressed and their plans for future initiatives to take us closer to our target in 2020 of reaching 500,000 farmers,” he added.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Giving Cambodia Youth a taste of rice science

His Excellency Hang Chuon Naron, Ambassadors Heidt and Longhurst graciously took time to join the taste test

IRRI collaborates with USAID in engaging the youth into rice science while showcasing IRRI’s innovation and leadership in breeding, varietal development, climate change adaptation, and yield gap reduction.

The fourth Cambodia Science and Engineering Festival was a large celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. During the three-day event, the IRRI Cambodia Team engaged more than a thousand students and other young professionals through various interactive activities highlighting rice science.

Agriculture Minister, key stakeholders praise progress of Golden Rice in Bangladesh

March 6 2018 - DHAKA, BANGLADESH – “Bangladesh will march forward on Golden Rice” said H.E. Matia Chowdhury, Minister of Agriculture for Bangladesh as she acknowledged the positive impact of biotech crops and their potential to help Bangladesh meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030. 

“Inspired by the success of the country's first commercially released biotech crop in 2013, Bangladesh is now field testing three more crops developed through applications of agro-biotechnology, including Golden Rice. The government has every intention to support genetically modified crop cultivation in the future.” says Chowdhury.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Scaling-up opportunities for unfavorable rice environments

Centering around the theme: “Capitalizing on gains made: Towards enhanced nutrition, livelihood, and equity in unfavorable rice ecosystems,” the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE) through the project, Reducing Risks and Raising Rice Livelihoods in Southeast Asia, held a workshop in Bangkok, Thailand on February 21-22.

Led by IRRI Regional Representative to Southeast Asia, David Johnson, and IRRI Theme Leader for Equitable Innovation, Ranjitha Puskur,  consortium partners from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam participated in the workshop’s plenary sessions, discussions and brainstorming activities to reflect on the outcomes and learning, major successes and gaps, distill implications for succeeding plans by building on key learning, and articulate a new vision for the future.

IRRI, Paul Hastings LLP collaborate to strengthen legal agreements with private organizations

IRRI extends its gratitude to Paul Hastings LLP for its excellent work in helping the Institute improve its templates of legally binding agreements with private organizations, and ensure that our public-private partnerships deliver impact acceleration that benefit smallholder rice farmers, in a way that is fully aligned with our vision and our mission.

Since 2016, Paul Hastings has provided pro bono representation to IRRI on a number of framework agreements, including licensing of IRRI-owned intellectual property and products, with several seed and agro-supply companies.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dr. Krishna Joshi appointed as IRRI Representative in Nepal

IRRI is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Krishna Joshi as the Institute’s representative in Nepal, effective 12 February 2018. Dr. Joshi will lead the Institute’s key initiatives in the country and will serve as the focal person for all endeavours in strengthening IRRI’s partnership with key stakeholders.

Dr. Joshi is an agricultural scientist specializing in plant genetics, crop improvement, seed systems and value chains. With over two decades of experience in the agri-sector, he has led several key agricultural Research for Development (R4D) projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and India, pertaining to rice and other staple crops. Having worked in multi-disciplinary settings at international research and development organizations, civil society and private sector organizations, he is uniquely positioned to leverage his knowledge and skills in furthering IRRI’s mission to improve livelihoods and nutrition, and abolish poverty, hunger, and malnutrition among those who depend on rice-based agri-food systems.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dr. Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton receives Crop Trust Legacy Award

IRRI congratulates Dr. Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, head of the International Rice Genebank, for receiving the Crop Trust Legacy Award. Dr. Hamilton is one of the seven award recipients recognized as “global gatekeepers” for their efforts and outstanding contribution in the field of plant genetic resources conservation. In a video about the Legacy Awardees, Marie Haga, Executive Director of Crop Trust, said “[the awardees have] diligently prepared seeds for the world for years. They have done a tremendous job for human kind by safeguarding the foundation of our food”.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Dr. Buyung Hadi appointed as IRRI's representative in Cambodia

IRRI is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Buyung Hadi as the Institute’s representative in Cambodia, effective 1 March 2018. He will lead IRRI’s key initiatives in the country and will serve as the focal person for activities that strengthen IRRI’s partnership with key stakeholders in Cambodia.

Dr. Hadi is an entomologist that specializes in insect ecology and integrated pest management (IPM). He currently leads the pest ecology research group at IRRI, that focuses on obtaining solutions in conservation and augmentative biocontrol, pest adaptation on resistant varieties, non-target impact of insecticide application, and insecticide resistance.

He lends his expertise to numerous projects initiated by IRRI in Cambodia, including Development of Ecologically-based Participatory IPM Package for rice in Cambodia (EPIC) and Closing Rice Yield Gap in Asia (CORIGAP). He contributed to the pest management and pesticide use standards for the Sustainable Rice Platform, and leads a team that developed  and launched a smartphone application on field crop IPM guide.

Dr. Hadi received his Doctorate Degree in Entomology from Auburn University, USA in 2009. Since then, he has obtained and managed over 4 million USD in grants and contracts from international, US federal, regional, and state agencies. In 2017, he co-authored the book “Rice insect pests and their management”,  a comprehensive global treatise on rice insect pests.

For more information about the IRRI-Cambodia partnership, click here

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Stakeholders evaluate the impact of Alternate Wetting and Drying Technology in Bangladesh

Irrigated rice in Bangladesh accounts for nearly half of the country’s rice output. However variability in rainfall, dry spells, depleting water table and water scarcity for agriculture pose a challenge in achieving food security for its 163 million people. The FAO estimates rice production in Bangladesh to be at a five-year low of 50.8 million tonnes in 2017, 2 per cent below the 2016 outcome. This may result to a sharp spike in rice prices in the country. Adding to the burden of increasing cost is the rising cost of irrigation, electricity, fuel and labor.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Gazette notification of Golden Rice approval by FSANZ

GR2E Golden Rice passes FSANZ safety standards.
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code has been amended to include food derived from provitamin A rice line GR2E (Golden Rice), a beta-carotene biofortified genetically modified (GM) rice under development at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  The publication of the Food Standards variance in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 22 February 2018 marks completion of the regulatory process under Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Farmer-buyer collaboration can help increase farm productivity in Nepal

Contract farming , a conditional arrangement on inputs and/or output between farmers and buyers, could increase rice farm productivity in Nepal by 7%, according to a recent study by agricultural economists published in Wiley Periodicals.

Research results indicated that the rice yield gap between contract and independent (non-contract) farmers is significant at 13%, which could partly be attributed to contract farming. Findings indicated that participation in contract farming  increased the average farm productivity levels of paddy seed farmers from 87% to 94%.

Ben Juliano, renowned cereal chemist & national scientist, passes away

By Gene Hettel

Bienvenido O. “Ben” Juliano, 81, world-renowned cereal chemist and Philippine National Scientist, passed away on the morning of 21 February in Los Baños, Laguna. He was among the first cadre of elite scientists who helped set the direction of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) during the institute’s early years. Arriving as an associate chemist in 1961, he went on to spend more than 32 years at IRRI, most of them as head of the Cereal Chemistry Department.
       IRRI’s first director general, Robert Chandler, Jr., who hired him, later wrote, “Without question, the broad scope of Dr. Juliano’s work in cereal chemistry advanced decidedly the world’s knowledge of the cooking, eating, and nutritional qualities of the rice grain; he was a pioneer in analyzing IRRI’s world collection of rice varieties for protein content.”
       In 1993, Klaus Lampe, a later IRRI director general wrote: “It is primarily due to Dr. Juliano’s dedicated work in this important research area that IRRI scientists and their colleagues can routinely measure grain quality in pre-breeding efforts that are serving the national agricultural research systems.”
       Bestowed the honor of National Scientist in 2000 by Philippine President Joseph Estrada (photo,
right), Dr. Juliano’s rice taste-panel research showed that the amylose and amylopectin contents of the starch largely determined rice’s cooking and eating quality. He found that a higher proportion of amylose provided a greater tendency for rice to cook dry and fluffy. So, based on this research, it became clear that the rice eaters of the Philippines and Indonesia preferred medium-amylose rice grains. IR24, the first IRRI variety to meet this requirement, was released in 1971.
       Born on 15 August 1936 from a family of accomplished scholars, the young Ben Juliano showed brilliance and academic excellence. He graduated early from college at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) with a magna cum laude B.S. in Agriculture in 1955 and eventually became the youngest (at the age of 22) “straight-A" PhD graduate in organic chemistry in 1959 at The Ohio State University. Shortly after that, he returned to the Philippines and joined IRRI where he would pursue his life’s work for the next 3 decades until his “retirement” in 1993.
       In 1993, he produced two books that brought together many elements of his scientific body of work, Grain Quality Evaluation of  World Rices, published by IRRI, and Rice in Human
Nutrition, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Dr. Juliano put together the FAO book to serve a wide range of readers in government, universities, and industry as a general source on most aspects of rice production, processing, trade, and consumption. His IRRI book (written with C.P. Villareal), was aimed at rice breeders and chemists involved in grain quality breeding programs and for food scientists and nutritionists interested in rice grain quality, composition, processing, and use. It was translated into Japanese in 1999. He also released a 10-chapter book in 2003, revised in 2007, Rice Chemistry and Quality, which was launched by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
       After his IRRI retirement, Dr. Juliano was invited to visit cereal laboratories in Vietnam, Myanmar, China, Bangladesh, Cuba, and Taiwan to give recommendations to their rice quality breeding programs. He also helped to build the grain-quality research capability of PhilRice where he continued to pursue his rice research as a senior consultant/expert, bringing his time devoted to cereal chemistry research to a half century.   
       In addition to being named a Philippine National Scientist in 2000, Dr. Juliano received numerous honors and awards throughout his stellar career including: the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award from the Junior Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines for his achievements in science (1964), the President of the Republic of the Philippines Jose Rizal Pro Patria Award (1976), election into the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines (1979). the only non-Japanese Asian to be presented with the Medal of Merit by the Japanese Society of Starch Science (1982), and the only Asian and rice scientist to receive the Thomas Burr Osborne Medal Award from the American Association of Cereal Chemists (1988).
       He also was the first Filipino to be honored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an Outstanding Scientist and Technologist during the ASEAN Science and Technology Week (1988), recipient of the National Research Council of the Philippines’ Cluster I (Physical Sciences) National Researcher Award during its 60th Jubilee Celebration (1993), and recipient of a plaque of recognition for lifetime research on rice quality awarded by IRRI on the occasion of the dedication of the institute's new Grain Quality and Nutrition Center (2004).
       Dr. Juliano is survived by his spouse Linda; three children, Ben Jr., Carmelinda, and Benedict; and four grandchildren.
       Necrological rites were held 24 February at St. Therese of the Child Jesus Chapel, Los Baños, Laguna. During those services, attended by many colleagues and friends, Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI's Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships, spoke in behalf of the institute. 
      Among his remarks, Dr. Tolentino stated: "A key legacy of Dr. Juliano at IRRI is the establishment of the Grain Quality and Nutrition Center. Looking at today’s trends, and into the future, the GQNC is increasingly becoming the locus of the work of IRRI. This is the center that bridges and translates consumer demands into the work of the breeders, agronomists, and other scientists. Overall, consumers care about not only the taste and eating quality of the rice, but also the impact of rice on their nutrition and health – particularly as their incomes grow. As a cereal chemist, Dr. Juliano laid the foundations of the methods and approaches to grain quality testing at IRRI – and it looks like this will be a key basis for the evolution of IRRI in the years to come."
     See a tribute to him in the Manila Bulletin: Ben Juliano, cereal chemist second to none.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

IRRI, the Chinese Academy for Agricultural Sciences, and BMGF team up to develop rice varieties for a Greener Revolution

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), together with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), collaborate through funding and research efforts to develop Green Super Rice (GSR), a new set of rice varieties that perform well under the toughest conditions.

IRRI and Renewable Energy for Rural Areas’ partnership in Nepal introduces solar bubble dryer to address farmers’ problem in paddy drying

Spring rice contributes around 20 percent of the total rice production in Nepal. However, farmers may lose 10 to 30 percent of the rice produced when they are not able to dry it properly. Paddy drying is a big problem during the onset of the rainy season in the country and there is great potential for technology that could significantly boost its rice production, contribute to national and local self-sufficiency, and add revenues for farmers.

The collaboration between International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Renewable Energy for Rural Areas (RERA) programme in Nepal was initiated to provide farmers with the tools to effectively dry rice during the spring. It is a project born through the partnership of the Government of Nepal and the Government of Germany to support the decentralized renewable energy sector in Nepal. It is jointly implemented by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Amongst other measures, the RERA programme is supporting the development and deployment of new and innovative renewable energy technologies (RETs) in the agriculture sector to increase productivity, generate income and stimulate low carbon economic growth.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Workshop on Agriculture Development Support Project aims to improve irrigation practices in Myanmar

The Myanmar Department of Agriculture (DOA), together with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) participated in an inception workshop for the World Bank-funded Agriculture Development Support Project (ADSP).

The project aims to make irrigated agriculture more profitable, diversified, and sustainable through participatory planning, improved management approaches and increased options. It will be implemented in Bago, Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay, and Sagaing regions, Myanmar, and will upgrade 35,000 hectares of existing irrigation infrastructure. The initiative seeks to provide these direct benefits to 22,000 farm households, particularly those who have less than 0.8 hectares of land. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dr. Humnath Bhandari appointed as IRRI Representative in Bangladesh

IRRI is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Humnath Bhandari as IRRI Representative in Bangladesh effective 1 February 2018. Dr. Bhandari brings a wide range of experience to the job and will serve as the focal point of IRRI activities in the country. He will lead all key initiatives to further strengthen IRRI’s commitment and partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, and other key donors, partners and stakeholders for rice-based agri-food systems in the country. In addition to this, in his new role as the IRRI Representative for its Bangladesh office, Dr. Bhandari will oversee and lead implementation of the new IRRI strategic plan in Bangladesh.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dr. Uma Shankar Singh as Interim Director of IRRI South Asia Regional Centre, India

IRRI is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Uma Shankar Singh as the Interim Director of the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre. The appointment took effect on 1 November 2017.

Dr. Singh is widely recognized as an authority on seed and eco-friendly management of plant diseases. He is also a fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences in India, and served on various key scientific committees such as the Indian Phytopathological Society, the Governing Body of the Jharkhand Agriculture Development Council, and the Apex Committee to formulate the Pesticide R&D policy of India. He served as a visiting scientist at the Rothamsted Experiment Station in Harpenden, UK.

Friday, January 26, 2018

World Bank-funded IRRI project launched in Assam, India to raise farmers’ productivity and income

The World Bank, together with the Government of Assam, launched the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (APART) project. It is a seven-year program that brings together technical knowledge of eight state departments and six renowned international organizations including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

International Rice Informatics Consortium holds workshop to discuss new technological breakthroughs

The International Rice Informatics Consortium (IRIC) is an organization that aims to give stakeholders access to comprehensive information about rice, and facilitate collaboration in the rice community. Early this year, it conducted its annual workshop that aims to provide researchers who share a common vision and passion for rice informatics, a platform to exchange their ideas and innovations. The workshop also seeks to further the interest of stakeholders in the consortium.

IRRI accomplishments in Cambodia, highlighted during the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Intensification and Nutrition

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – more than 160 delegates were invited to the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) invited collaborators from its funded projects in Asia and Africa to encourage stronger partnerships within the network and with other universities and international organizations.