Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Public-private partnerships drive efforts toward food security



No single organization can do everything to be successful and innovative. While IRRI is at the forefront of boosting rice productivity globally, there is an alarming challenge of producing nutritious and high quality rice in an increasingly scarce resource. The complex situation of poverty and food security calls for more strategic research for development initiatives that is reinforced through public and private sector collaborations.

During the IRRI Science Week, IRRI scientists and staff gathered to discuss the challenges and key drivers in public-private partnerships that will help the institute widen its global impact. IRRI, as an honest broker in rice, continues to engage with global research for development partners. Private companies are an important component of such partnerships. More importantly, public- private partnership creates synergy among different actors that enables taking technologies to farmers’ fields, so everyone can reap the best returns.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Policy pathways to value chain transformation highlighted during IRRI Science Week


Making safe and nutritious rice accessible to the consumers who depend on it for nourishment and at the same time growing rice that is profitable for farmers who rely on it for their livelihood is a shared responsibility of all actors working within the rice based agri-food system. But current institutions and policies are no longer equipped to adequately address this challenge and require system-wide shifts in priority areas. In the past few years, to address some aspects of this multifaceted challenge, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has been conducting value chain research exploring consumer behaviours and preferences as entry points to making rice inclusive, sustainable and capable of meeting global food security and nutrition challenges.

At the Value Chains and Policies session of IRRI Science Week, presenters reflected on how the institution’s initiatives contribute to improving the rice value chain within the countries it works in. Ongoing work on consumer valuation of sustainable rice production, as well as product profiling and forecasting of appropriate rice varieties, demonstrate how robust data can help identify emerging markets and enable rice value chain actors to address these markets’ needs as well as opportunities. Research on the sociocultural and economic factors behind household food consumption, the impact of climate change on rice production, and new mechanization and post-harvest technologies examine different drivers of change that can catalyze the transformation of rice-based value chains. A key learning across all these research programs was the need to influence policies to ensure sustained systemic change and large scale impact, particularly in terms of making all aspects of rice production more inclusive, more nutritious and more sustainable.   

Friday, February 8, 2019

IRRI and Mozambique strengthen collaboration and join efforts to establish regional center of leadership for rice



The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Agriculture Research Institute of Mozambique
(IIAM), and the World Bank funded project Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa (APPSA) explore opportunities to collaborate in the establishment of the Regional Center of Leadership (RCoL) for Rice. 

APPSA is a World Bank project focused on improving agricultural technology generation and dissemination in the Southern Africa region. Currently, the project is implemented in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, and other countries in the South African Development Community region will join as the project expands.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IRRI, UN Environment engage private sector toward a low-carbon rice production



CAMBODIA—When talking of climate impacts on rice and mitigation measures, farmers, extension agents, and relevant government institutions usually come to mind. Now, the private sector is becoming more visible in the picture.

A workshop jointly organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the UN Environment Programme highlighted the importance of involving the private sector in efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rice production.

“The role of the private sector in promoting the practice of mitigation technologies is pivotal because they have distinct interests in ensuring that farmers implement certain practices. Also, they are actively working in almost all stages of the value chain and that cannot be overlooked,” says Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, climate change scientist and IRRI Representative to Vietnam.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Engaging global partners for sustainable rice straw management


Visit at a farmer's foeld in Tien Giang with
rice straw silage used for cattle feed
Working with advanced research institutes and national partners, IRRI aims to develop, adopt, and translate technologies to deliver environmentally sustainable benefits.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the German government, the Sustainable Rice Straw Management project conducted a workshop and demonstration of sustainable rice straw management practices and technologies in Tien Giang Province, Vietnam.

According to Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, IRRI representative in Vietnam, the most important aspect of this project is the close collaboration between diverse partners from different countries. “To see the impact of adopting new technologies and to work in different countries is one of the interesting aspects of the project,” he added.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Myanmar’s DAR recognizes IRRI contributions during 65th anniversary celebration



27 January 2019, Yezin, Myanmar - Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, the Deputy Director General for Research of the International Rice Research institute (IRRI), was a special guest at the 65th anniversary celebration of Myanmar’s Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), and received on behalf of the institute a plaque of recognition for IRRI’s valued partnership and contributions to research for the country.   

CORIGAP-PRO surpasses goal of half a million farmers in Asian rice granaries


According to Dr. Grant Singleton, Principal Scientist and CORIGAP project leader,
the NARES partners are instrumental to the success of the CORIGAP project
“We have surpassed our original target, that is, to reach 500,000 farmers,” he said.

A year ahead of schedule, IRRI, through the  “Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint project (CORIGAP-PRO)” and its partners from China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam has already reached its goal in reaching smallholder farmers, improving yield and income through innovations towards sustainable rice-based systems.

According to Grant Singleton, project leader of CORIGAP –PRO, “Our efforts on promoting best management practices in rice have reached more than 600,000 farmers with best practices for lowland intensive rice production across six Asian countries. About 118,000 farmers have adopted best practices and increased their rice yield by 11-20%, and profit by 15-25%,” he said.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Former IRRI Principal Scientist received the 1st Global Agricultural Technology Cooperation Award



Great people, great purpose.

Former IRRI Principal Scientist, Dr. Kshirod K. Jena, received an award from the Rural Development Administration (RDA) under the Ministry of Agriculture, South Korea. The award-giving body recognized his commitment and contribution to the global goal of achieving food security through his work as a Rice Breeder in IRRI. During his time in the institute, Dr. Jena was part of a team that developed high yielding, pest-resistant rice varieties for many countries in Asia, especially in South Korea, Turkey, the Philippines and India. His groundbreaking research and innovations were recognized as a critical contribution to rice research and warranted the Global Agricultural Technology Cooperation Award.

Friday, January 18, 2019

IRRI receives accreditation from the Excellence Through Stewardship Organization


IRRI delivers through research excellence.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is now recognized by the Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS) Organization after its successful completion of the audit cycle under the ETS Global Audit Process.

In a concerted effort to achieve global standards in stewardship for its biotech research, IRRI started the process of accreditation by becoming a member of ETS in November 2016. Under the leadership of Dr. Gururaj Kulkarni, Senior Scientist, Head of IRRI’s Research and Regulatory Compliance, supported by Eduardo Fernandez, Manager of Stewardship and Quality Management, the audit team worked with the institute’s Biosafety Function and Seed Health Unit to prepare all materials that are required by the ETS. Tony Agostino, stewardship consultant, and Shah Thankappan, stewardship technical expert from Bayer, also supported as advisors for the process.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Cambodia scales up rice straw management



In Cambodia, about 10 million tons of rice straw is generated after harvesting and 3 million tons are burned. This practice is exacerbated by the increasing use of combine harvesters, which are machines used to ease the harvesting process and address the labor shortage in rice production.

From 2016 to 2018, the BMZ- funded IRRI project “Scalable straw management options for improved livelihoods, sustainability, and low environmental footprint in rice-based production systems” facilitated cross-country learning of best rice straw management practices among Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. “Based on empirical evidences gathered through fieldwork combined with life cycle assessments, we came up with a decision-making framework that we hope each country will find useful for their straw management efforts. This is still work in progress that we hope that each country, like Cambodia, will find useful, and we are looking forward to feedback from our partners” said Martin Gummert, head of IRRI’s Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Evidence Hubs in Odisha help farmers select the best seed varieties



To reduce the adverse impact of climate change, it is important to develop good quality seeds and make it easily available at every farmer’s doorsteps. In addition, there is also a need to bring newly developed stress-tolerant rice varieties (STRVs) into the seed value chain.

Through “Evidence Hubs”, IRRI showcases high-impact innovations and technologies to solve our complex problems and serve our beneficiaries in rice-growing countries and beyond. Together with Odisha’s Department of Agriculture, an Evidence Hub event was recently organized to strengthen seed systems of STRVs and to be able to produce and to drive widespread adoption of high-quality seeds.

Alternate wetting and drying technology benefits farmers in Dhaka



18 December 2018 - IRRI organized a National Consultation and Stakeholders’ workshop on Impact of Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) Technology on Farm Incomes and Water Savings last 18th December at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The meeting was hosted by Mr. Md. Nasiruzzaman, Secretary In-charge, Ministry of Agriculture, with Special Guest Dr. Md. Abdur Rouf, Additional Secretary (Research) at the premise of MoA. Professor Dr. Lutful Hassan, Consultant, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) chaired the meeting.

IRRI introduces life cycle assessment in rice research initiatives



The Sustainable Rice Straw Management Project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the German government, conducted a training workshop on sustainability analysis and best practice identification based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) at IRRI Headquarters on December 11 to 14, 2018.

The Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster staff, led by scientist Dr. Nguyen Van Hung and IRRI scholar Maria Victoria Migo, facilitated the training using the Simapro software for LCA geared for the rice-based researches of NARES project partners and researchers.

The training also aimed to facilitate the sharing of research results from the BMZ-funded rice straw projects and generate collaboration among participants that are interested to use LCA for their future research endeavors.