Monday, November 12, 2018

Vietnam stakeholders discuss ways to increase mechanization and sustainability of rice value chains

As Vietnam rapidly progresses towards sustainable rice production, there is an increasing need for the rice sector, such as farmers’ organizations, exporters, food companies, research institutes, and other development oriented groups, to work together for the common vision of the country in becoming a global supplier of sustainable rice.

Since standards for sustainable rice management practices are taking shape in the country, IRRI plays a crucial role in facilitating  the implementation of best management practices through “1 Must Do, 5 Reductions” principles (1M5R: use high quality seed while reducing seed rate; water, fertilizer and pesticide use; post harvest losses). The best management practices are implemented in eight provinces in the Mekong Delta via the World Bank-funded project “Vietnam – Sustainable Agricultural Transformation” (VnSAT). In the VnSAT project, IRRI uses a multi-stakeholder Learning Alliance (LA) to critically reflect and plan for activities that will help incentivize the adoption of sustainable rice practices like 1M5R. The LA aims to create supportive alliances for farmer groups for them to be able to engage better in the rice value chain, and to adopt and manage the demands of producing marketable rice. In order to do so, a series of LA meetings and activities are conducted so different stakeholders can assess problems and create solutions that help realize the country’s vision for their rice sector.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Experts from 11 countries gather to shape the future of rice ratoon cropping system

Ratoon rice is an ancient practice in China and Japan.
It can give 60% yield of the first crop
Rice ratoon is considered to be one of the most ancient rice production practices in Asia. Pioneered at about 1,700 years ago (215 -31 AD), it originated in the Guangdong Province of China. Ratoon rice is produced from the second crop growing from the stubble after harvesting the main crop. It can produce  about 60% grain yield of the first harvest, and provides several benefits such as reduced labor inputs, increased grain yield and profit, and optimal use of resources. Due to its efficiency, rice ratoon was widely adopted in several provinces in China.

In Hubei Province, ratoon rice production peaked at 300,000 ha in the early 1990s. However, the volume fell to 6,600 ha by the year 2012. The reason for the drop is linked to high labor needs, particularly when the main crop was manually harvested. The high rates of migration of rural workers to cities is also one of the causes. The challenge, therefore, is to integrate mechanization of rice production with the practice of rice ratooning.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

RICE CRP successfully supported 47 scholars to attend the the International Rice Congress 2018

The CGIAR Research Program on rice agri-food systems (RICE CRP) supports scholars from across the globe in opportunities that encourage them to gain knowledge and develop skills that they may use to contribute further to the rice agri-food sector.

Most recently, the program supported a total of 47 BSc, MSc, and PhD scholars from across the world to attend the 5th International Rice Congress. The three-day event was held on 15-17 October 2018, at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. These scholars played crucial roles at the congress, serving as oral, flash talk, or poster presenters. Each received a USD 1000 travel support, which helped them cover part of the registration and accommodations needed for the event.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Boosting heirloom rice farmer income through improved post-harvest practices

Members of the Mountain Province Heirloom Rice Farmers’ Agriculture Cooperative and staff of Heirloom Rice Project (Ana Cope and Joseph Sandro) at the newly built heirloom rice processing center in Bontoc, Mt. Province, Cordillera. The processing center was funded by DA-RFO CAR.

Implementing good postharvest practices is important - not only for  improving rice yields and quality, but also for helping to improve the incomes of smallholder farmers.

IRRI is facilitating public-private partnerships in order to improve smallholder livelihoods and resilience. Together with Kellogg Company, IRRI is supporting local cooperatives to manage model processing centers which conforms to high quality standards through the Heirloom Rice Project (HRP) in the Mountain Province of the Philippines. 

During the first phase of the HRP, a participatory needs and opportunity assessment (PNOA) was organized with heirloom rice farmers from the Mountain Province. Through the assessment, farmers were able to identify their need of postharvest machinery and technology.

As a result, postharvest processing machines were provided to the Mountain Province Heirloom Rice Farmers’ Agriculture Cooperative (MPHRFAC) to support the second phase of the Heirloom Rice Project (HRP), funded by Philippine Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research. The machines helped improve the quality of heirloom rice by enabling more efficient milling, grading, and storage, which also minimized rice weevil infestation.

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. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

IRRI, World Bank team up to strengthen post-harvest management in Myanmar

A robust seed system is the "backbone" of a vibrant rice production sector.

To strengthen the agricultural systems of different areas in the country, IRRI, in partnership with the World Bank, launched the Agricultural Development Support Project (ADSP) which aims to increase rice productivity in the 4 pilot project regions under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI): Bago, Naypyitaw, Mandalay, and Sagaing.

Myanmar is the highest per capita rice consuming country in world (140.8 kg milled rice per person per year) and majority of its population depend on the agricultural sector for livelihood. This makes it imperative for the agricultural sector of the country to increase their knowledge and adopt technologies that can improve their harvest.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

WeRise-RR orientations conducted for ICRR researchers

The IJCRP on CCADS-RR team poses for a group photo with ICRR researchers
Sukamandi, Indonesia, 15 August 2018 – The IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Project (IJCRP) on Climate Change Adaptation through Development of a Decision-Support tool to guide Rainfed Rice production is catalysing partners to drive the adoption of the Weather-rice-nutrient integrated decision support system (WeRise), a decision support tool for rainfed farmers.

Water availability is crucial to rice production in rainfed areas. However, climate change has made it difficult for farmers to predict rains that will determine the best time to plant rice in their area.

In order to help farmers in such unfavorable areas, IJCRP has developed WeRise, a seasonal climate prediction-based app that could help rainfed rice farmers plan their upcoming production more strategically. WeRise could provide advisories on the best time to plant, suitable varieties to use, and fertilizer application schedule according to the weather characteristics of the upcoming cropping season. This includes the onset, amount and distribution of rainfall; and simulated crop growth.

WeRise-RR exhibits potential to increase rainfed rice production in Indonesia

Bogor, Indonesia, 14 August 2018 – Results of the initial on-farm experiments to validate the predictive accuracy of the WeRise for rice-rice for rainfed rice (WeRise-RR) in selected provinces in Indonesia showed that farmers could potentially increase their yield by following the WeRise advisories.

WeRise is an ICT tool that aims to improve rainfed rice productivity by helping farmers plan their crop production strategically by using seasonal climate forecast and crop growth models to come up with advisories. It was developed by the IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Project (IJCRP).

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

IRRI, AFSTRI, Corteva Agriscience™ team up to build capacity and network of young plant scientists

IRRI and Corteva Agriscience™ partner in building a strong global community of scientists that will drive innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges in food security.

Guided by the symposium’s theme, “Same Field, Better Yield”, expert plant breeders on rice, wheat, maize, and coconuts have shared their latest practices and research findings with around 200 graduate students from different universities. One of the highlights of the symposium is the lecture of Cornell University’s Dr. Mark Sorrells. He concluded his lecture on Molecular Breeding and High Throughput Phenotyping in the 21st Century by highlighting the importance of collaboration among different specialists in modern-day plant breeding. According to Dr. Sorrells, “Days are long gone when plant breeders work on isolation. The best plant breeders today are those who work with a team with complementary expertise to develop varieties today”.

Assam farmers learn about technologies that increase yield and improve rice farming efficiency

Agriculture in Assam accounts for over a third of income generated in the state, and employs over 70% of the workforce, making agriculture one of the most important means of livelihood in Assam.

To increase profitability of small and marginal farmers and strengthen the seed supply systems in 16 districts, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in partnership with Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (APART) signed an agreement in March 2018 supporting activities under this effort.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

National Planning Commission and IRRI-Nepal hold round table meeting to discuss five-year work plan on the country’s rice agri-food system

For more than 50 years, IRRI has been working with Nepal in providing improved germplasm to develop nearly 70% of 83 high-yielding varieties in the country. This partnership has contributed to national food security and economic growth. National rice productivity of Nepal before collaborating with IRRI was 2 t/ha, and has risen to over 3.5 t/ha in 2017.

According to Dr. Dil Bahadur Gurung, member of the National Planning Commission responsible for Agriculture portfolio, “IRRI’s presence in Nepal provided a continuous supply of germplasm that supported the development of high-performing rice varieties, which are suitable for subtropical and warm temperate regions in Nepal”. Dr. Gurung adds that IRRI helped the country develop different rice farming technologies and in conduct capacity building initiatives for Nepalese scientists and extension workers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

IRRI celebrates National Nutrition Month in the Philippines

Nutrition awareness ramps up in the Philippines during the annual celebration of National Nutrition Month in July, with this year’s theme highlighting the role of diverse food sources and increased household income in improving the nutritional status of Filipinos. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) supports the Philippine nutrition sector’s public outreach with engagements that demonstrate the organization’s ongoing research efforts to improve health and livelihood outcomes across all areas of the agri-food system.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Nepal to adopt intensive rice farming technologies to achieve food security

As part of his South Asia travel, IRRI’s Director General Matthew Morell had the opportunity to visit Nepal, a country that has long been one of the Institute’s staunch partners in many initiatives that aim to transform the rice sector in Asia.

During the course, Dr. Morell was able to witness firsthand many challenges that the Nepalese face to produce rice, which is the country’s most staple crop. These include low farm mechanization, low adoption of farming technologies and innovations, lack of year-round assured irrigation, labor shortage, and lack of availability of quality agricultural inputs in the right time and affordable price. Apart from these, farmers also have limited exposure and little access to machines and equipment used to mechanize farming (laser land levelers, direct seeded rice (DSR) drills, mechanical weeders, and combine harvesters).

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Vietnam and IRRI collaborate on policies that support innovations in rice value chain upgrading

Dr. Balie delivers a presentation during the 4.0 Summit and Expo 2018

IRRI is working together with Vietnam to accelerate the translation of innovations that support sustainable rice value chain upgrading through policy recommendations and high technology options.

During the Vietnam Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo 2018, IRRI’s Head of the Agri-food Policy Platform, Dr. Jean Balie,  presented strategies and opportunities for the application of cutting edge technologies that support Vietnam’s vision of developing a smart agriculture sector.

Monday, July 23, 2018

IRRI scholars gear up for first Plant Sciences Symposium in the Philippines

IRRI and Corteva Agriscience™ are joining forces to host a Plant Sciences Symposium in the Philippines as part of a worldwide, student-driven symposia series inaugurated and supported by Corteva Agriscience™ since 2008.

Organized by the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees and Residents of IRRI (AFSTRI) the day-long program includes presentations and interactions with leading plant scientists from around the world. There will also be student presenters and poster presentations to give scholars and other young scientists an opportunity to showcase their work. The symposium will offer networking opportunities among scientists, experts, researchers, and students in the field of plant breeding and agricultural sciences.

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 team 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.