Monday, April 22, 2019

IRRI joins regional discussion on mechanization of grain harvesting

Demonstration of a wheat combine in Bhairahawa district, Terai Region, Nepal.

IRRI’s  Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster participated in a traveling seminar on Mechanized Grain Harvesting for Smallholder Farmers in Nepal and Asia in Nepal on 25-29 March 2019 .

The event aimed to identify mechanization research and learning areas across South and Southeast Asia, particularly Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. The traveling seminar included field visits and a workshop on farmers’ grain wheat harvesting, interactions with various distributors, service providers and operators of emerging technologies on rice harvesting at Nepal’s Terai Region.

Dr. Timothy Krupnik, Lead of CSISA Bangladesh, said that CSISA is addressing challenges in smallholder farmers’ productivity and that the traveling seminar is an avenue to stimulate ideas for collaborative research around markets and market system on appropriate mechanization.

Monday, April 15, 2019

IRRI hosts 13th Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange delegates

48 delegates from ten countries across Asia recently visited the International Rice Research headquarters to learn about the institute's agricultural biotechnology initiatives and biosafety protocols. The study visit formed part of the itinerary of the 13th Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange program, an annual knowledge exchange platform organized by Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines, Croplife Philippines, and Croplife Asia for farmers, policymakers, journalists, and other key stakeholders engaged in agriculture.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Former Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development appointed as new member of IRRI Board of Trustees

With his extensive experience in agriculture and great contribution to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Dr. Cao Đức Phát, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam from 2004 to 2016, was recently appointed as a new member of IRRI's Board of Trustees. His appointment will be effective 10 January 2019 for a term of three (3) years.

In a meeting to celebrate Dr. Phát’s appointment, Dr. Ole Sander, the IRRI country representative to Vietnam, recalled the significant contributions Dr. Phát provided to IRRI when he was the minister of MARD. These include allowing IRRI to have an active role in the development of the rice restructuring plan of Vietnam, as well as helping strengthen the research and capacity building collaboration between IRRI and the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

On the shoulders of giants, IRRI launches AGGRi Alliance

Building on its success in developing and delivering improved rice varieties in South Asia and Africa, IRRI through the Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance continues to strengthen its partnership with the national research and extension systems to increase rice yield and improve livelihoods of rice farmers in these regions.

According to IRRI breeder and project leader Joshua Cobb, “AGGRi Alliance will combine the progress made in modernizing IRRI’s rice breeding through Transforming Rice Breeding (TRB) project, with the successful trialing networks, germplasm development, and seed systems from the Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project - both supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) - into a single initiative that will expand IRRI’s variety testing networks into a globally aligned, modernized, rice breeding 'community of practice'. It will also empower women involved in the rice value chain which will be unified by a set of standards developed to make breeding decisions consistent with the demands of regional farmers, consumers, and processors”.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Enhancing Iloilo’s rice productivity through innovations on land leveling and rice straw management

Iloilo is one of the major rice baskets in the Philippines, and mechanization could play a role in increasing the productivity of rice farming in the province. Last 7 March 7, the laser-guided land leveling system and rice straw baler were showcased to demonstrate its benefits and determine opportunities for future use.  One hundred sixty five mushroom growers, ruminant raisers, rice farmers and members of irrigators’ association, graced the event to assess the benefits that can be obtained from using these technologies to help improve farming livelihoods and accelerate the Iloilo’s rice competitiveness.

Mr. Peter Sobrevega, Regional Technical Director of the Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office for Region 6, welcomed the participants and partners to the event and emphasized how important these technologies are in terms of improving the rice farming industry. He also mentioned that mechanized rice straw collection using rice straw balers, through the support of the RiceStrawPH project, can also help the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and the National Dairy Technology to improve the livestock sector.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Direct Seeded Rice Consortium convenes first annual meeting to advance partnerships for more sustainable, environment-friendly rice systems

14 March 2019, IRRI Headquarters ~ The Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC), a multi-stakeholder research for development platform established by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), held its first annual review and planning meeting to discuss the progress and challenges encountered in their first year.

Direct seeding is a crop establishment system wherein rice seeds are planted directly into the field, as opposed to the more conventional method of growing rice first in a nursery, then transplanting it into a flooded plot. Besides saving significant water, labor, and time, direct seeding also greatly decreases the output of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Some of the trade-offs associated with the shifts from transplanted rice to direct seeding include use of higher seed rates, and higher weed infestation.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Vietnam government taps CGIAR to work on its New Rural Development program

For more than five decades, CGIAR and its centers have been collaborating with Vietnamese partners in pursuing agricultural development, poverty eradication and sustainability in the country. CG Centers and CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) have done a lot of work in Vietnam on improving the income and livelihood of the rural population and helping them cope with the impacts of climate change.

With this relevance and strong research for development (R4D) capacity, the National Coordination Office of the National Target Program on New Rural Development (NTP-NRD) forged a partnership with CGIAR centers operating in Vietnam to work together for the NTP-NRD or the Nông Thôn Mới program. As a comprehensive development program, the Nông Thôn Mới program not only aims to build new rural areas by having appropriate socio-economic infrastructure and protecting national defense and security but also combining agricultural development with industry and services and conserving the environment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Myanmar strives to improve resilience against climate change

Millions of resource-poor farmers in stress-prone areas in Myanmar can cope with the effects of climate change by cultivating high-yielding stress tolerant varieties and diversifying food and income sources.

There is a pressing challenge to help farmers to better withstand or recover from natural disasters and the threats of climate change. In the past 10 years, the country has experienced severe drought, flooding, and cyclones with increased frequency and duration.

With the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and national partners in Myanmar, IRRI through the Stress-Tolerant Rice in Vulnerable Environments (STRIVE) project, improved the ability of vulnerable smallholder farms to recover from natural disasters.

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.