Tuesday, December 18, 2012

China presents friendship award to IRRI scientist

IRRI soil scientist Roland Buresh (second from left)
receives the Guangdong International Friendship Award.

Roland Buresh, IRRI soil scientist, was presented the Guangdong International Friendship Award for his contributions to the three-controls project across the province.

The three-controls technology has become the major extension technology of the Ministry of Agriculture and of Guangdong Province. By 2011, the technology had been applied in 5 provinces and regions, reaching 46 million units and effecting rice grain increase of 1.45 billion kilograms.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Busy week in India: Third International Agronomy Congress, ICAR-IRRI Work Plan signing, and PAU 50th anniversary

Bob Zeigler (leftmost), with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (center) and leaders of Indian agriculture
and academe during the 50th founding anniversary of the Punjab Agricultural University.

The global rice research agenda was the focus of a plenary talk given by Robert Zeigler, IRRI director general, during the Third International Agronomy Congress held at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, 26-30 November.

The congress was held for the country's agriculture sector to take stock of technology capital available for agriculture diversification, climate change management, and livelihoods; and to draw future research strategies to address the 'emerging matrix of agriculture problems in a holistic manner.'

Philippines: Rice as health staple featured in Biotech Week

Rice is a staple food for almost all Filipinos, and could be a vehicle for nutrients lacking in the regular diet in a sustainable way. Research activities pertaining to the development of rice as a healthier staple was one of the highlights of IRRI’s participation in the week-long celebration of the 8th National Biotechnology Week (NBW), together with partners from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Low-income residents of Makiling foothills get free health advice and medicines

IRRI's community health education and medical mission is moving from the shores of Laguna de Bay to serving residents of the foothills of Mt. Makiling.

The Host Country and Community Relations Office partnered once again for this activity with medical doctors from the Philippine Army General Hospital. The army doctors have previously given health counseling and consultations to more that a thousand residents of Barangay Sta. Cruz in Bay, Laguna, for free.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo contest winners announced

Winning photos

More than 90 photos were received as entries to the recent AFSTRI Photo Contest that was open to IRRI staff, scholars, and researchers. The winners in the three categories are:

Research environment in IRRI:
1. Andrea Lynn N. Lazaro (researcher, C4 Rice Project), with her photo captioned, “The headless researcher”
2. Nikki Arivel Larazo (researcher, C4 Rice Project)
3. Evangeline Pascual (MS affiliated scholar, PBGB)

Daily life in IRRI:
1. Michael Thomson (scientist, PBGB), with his photo captioned, "Working at th foot of Mt. Makiling"
2. Nikki Arivel Larazo (researcher, C4 Rice Project)
3. Benjamin Straube, (MS research scholar, CESD)

Nature in IRRI and Los Baños:
1. Michael Thomson (scientist, PBGB), with his photo captioned, "Red dragon"
2. Reena Jesusa Macalalad (MS thesis research scholar, PBGB)
3. Benjamin Straube, (MS research scholar, CESD)

The top winners will be awarded cash prizes and certificates while the rest others will be given certificates of recognition on 7 December 2012, during the AFSTRI general assembly.

Learn more about IRRI (www.irri.org) or follow us on the social media and networks (all links down the right column).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IRRI breeding marks 100,000th cross

Rice breeding in IRRI marked a milestone in the Institute's mission to help feed the world—its 100,000th cross.

A simple yet meaningful gathering to mark the breeding milestone was held on 29 November 2012 at N.C. Brady Laboratory in IRRI, which houses the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology division. The event was attended by IRRI staff and members of management, as well as retired breeders who saw through the early years of breeding in IRRI.

Lao PDR: Success stories in irrigated rice presented

"It is worthwhile to invest in rice research,” said Carmen Thoennissen, senior advisor of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation or SDC.

Dr. Thoennissen's remark sums up assessment of and discussions held at the conclusion of Phase IV of the work of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC). Key success stories from Phase IV were presented and discussed at a workshop and steering committee meeting held in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 21–22 November2012.

Indonesia: Training on fan testing held in South Sumatra

Twenty participants from the academe, manufacturing, and the government extension arm attended a training event on fan testing and evaluation.

The training course had emphasis on fan testing procedures, data gathering, and data analysis and included an open forum for discussing issues in postharvest, particularly paddy dryer operation.

Philippines: CURE hosts IFAD’s 5th country review

V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI's head of communications and
partnerships, addresses ACPoR participants in a
dinner hosted by CURE at the IRRI Guesthouse.
The fifth Annual Country Programme Review (ACPoR) of IFAD—a meeting of representatives of IFAD-assisted programmes/projects in the country—was hosted this year by the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments or CURE, jointly with the International Potato Center and the World Agroforestry Centre.

During the ACPoR, participants review implementation experiences, share project good practices, discuss problems encountered, and find solutions to improve program or project performance.

Second offering of RDM 201 course for IRRI staff

The second offering of the Research Data Management 201: Advanced SQL was held on 27-29 November 2012 in IRRI.

In RDM 201, some advanced functions and queries that can be useful when building more complex applications were introduced. The course was also a refresher on basic database management skills, taught by having participants look at and define the structure of a relational database system, compared to the hierarchal model of handling data.

Laboratory weighing scales ISO-calibrated

An institute-wide calibration of weighing scales is ongoing at IRRI on 27 November-7 December, as an initiative of IRRI's Risk Management and Quality Assurance team.

One hundred fourteen units from research, including analytical, top-loading, and bench scales will be calibrated by ISO 17025-accredited Metrologie Concepts Solutions. A calibration certificate is provided for each unit.

Monday, December 3, 2012

African and Asian women train to be leaders of change

Twenty-five women from Africa and Asia came to IRRI for the 5-day Leadership course for African and Asian women in research and extension, an effort toward developing a cadre of women who can lead their respective institutions in addressing gender issues in research and in the workplace and facilitate the improvement of livelihoods of women in the grassroots.

The course aims to help women scientists, policymakers, research managers, project managers, and extension workers develop leadership skills and become effective agents of change in the agriculture sector.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thailand: Agricultural machinery in focus at conference

A conference, Agricultural Machinery n Rice Production: A Challenge for ASEAN, was organized jointly by Naresuan University and the Thai Rice Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, highlighting mechanization options and new technologies.

It was held in Chiangmai on 26-28 November 2012 and was attended by 150 participants from nine countries that includes government policymakers, researchers and academics, and private sector representatives.

China: Rice planthopper project plans for 2013, holds international conference

Key partners of the ADB-IRRI Rice Planthopper Project from China, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines met on 19-20 November 2012 to report on the progress of the various applications of ecological engineering, insecticide resistance monitoring, and upscaling activities in their respective countries.

Datasets were consolidated, data analyzed, and cross-country comparisons made in preparation for publication.

The project was granted a no-cost extension until December 2013, and partners also presented their respective work plans for the final year.

Laos: Workshop sums up impact of NRM technologies for rice

The impact of natural resource management technologies in rice production in Asia, as well as impact pathways, were consolidated in a workshop attended by 25 participants from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines.

The four-day workshop-writeshop is the culminating activity of the social science group of the Irrigated rice Research Consortium (IRRC) and sought to document and compile lessons learned on the impact pathways and impacts of IRRC technologies on the lives of rice farmers, rice-farming households, and rice-based farming communities in Asia.

Singapore: Rice figures on Asian food and lifestyle fest

Asian Masters, a series of Asian food and lifestyle events, is taking place this month (November) all over Singapore.

One of these events, the Masterchef Workshop held at Great World City, featured Lam Soon’s Naturel organic brown rice on center stage, whipped up by five top chefs into 10 dishes.

Singapore: First rice-growing contest held

The first rice-growing competition in Singapore was held on 5 November 2012, in conjunction with World Food Day.

The competition, jointly organized by IRRI Fund and Science Centre Singapore, had the theme Agricultural cooperatives—key to feeding the world and sought to equip teachers with knowledge in the life sciences, particularly in rice biology and geography, and skills to initiate rice-growing as a project in the schools.

Accountant group helps locals become more money-smart

Residents from IRRI's host communities, Bay and Los Baños, were participants in a recent training on effective business skills, held as part of the Institute's livelihood programs.

The half-day activity sought to provide an opportunity for these residents to achieve financial freedom for themselves through sustainable and income-generating livelihood projects.

AfricaRice breeder is guest in researchers' lunch

The monthly Young Researchers Lunch welcomed Baboucarr Manneh, irrigated rice breeder and coordinator of abiotic stresses projects in AfricaRice, as its guest for November.

Lunch attendees—Changrong Ye, Nurul Hidayatun, Yam kanta Gaihre, Samir Ebson Topno, Tahir Awan, and Zilhas Ahmed Jewel— were curious about Dr. Manneh's career and rice-growing conditions in Africa.

Rice database admins undergo training for certification

Six IRRI staff underwent the PostgreSQL Database Administration training course for eventual certification as database administrators, specifically for PostgreSQL DBMS.

The participants come from IRRI's Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division (William Eusebio, Jack Lagare, Victor Alcantara, and Allan Zarsuela) and Information Technology Services (Carlos Ortiz and Victor Alarcon) and all have critical roles in ensuring updated and relevant data to support IRRI's work in developing technologies to improve rice production.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Myanmar: Experts plan rice component of ACIAR-funded food security project

A planning meeting for a project on diversification and intensification of rice-based systems in lower Myanmar was held last week (12-13 November) in the Maubin township, Ayeyarwady.

The 4-year project will include research on cropping options to increase and sustain productivity of both rice-rice and rice-pulse cropping systems in the Ayeyarwady Delta and is one component of a program on improving food security and farmer livelihoods in Myanmar.

The program is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and AusAid and has four other components—grain legumes, fisheries, livestock, and socioeconomics.

Indonesia: In-country meeting held to discuss upland needs

The Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE) and IRRI-Indonesia Office jointly organized a meeting held on 12 November 2012 in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.

The meeting was held to review the program of research and development activities in rice-based systems in the uplands under CURE, with emphasis on community seed bank (CSB) activities; identify opportunities to exploit the comparative advantage of traditional varieties grown by upland communities, in relation to CSB activities; and explore further collaboration with CURE Indonesia on an ongoing program of CURE on CSB implementation.

Cambodia: Farmer field day and combine harvester discussion held in Battambang

Farmers view technology options from manufacturers
and contract service providers.
The Farmer Field Event and Combine Harvester Roundtable was held on 10-11 November 2012 in Battambang Province, hosted by Don Bosco School and Model Farm where IRRI and other Learning Alliance partners are conducting adaptive research and capacity-building among the community’s marginal smallholder rice farmers.

The Don Bosco School and Model Farm provides rice to their three  primary and secondary schools operating in Cambodia.

Philippines: Technoclinic held for farmers in Mountain Province

More than 30 rice farmers from the Cordillera Region in Northern Philippines attended a technoclinic held by IRRI and PhilRice scientists on 13 November 2012 in Barlig, Mountain Province.

Isabelita Oña, IRRI associate scientist, and Evelyn Gergon, PhilRice plant pathologist, answered questions from farmers on blast disease, rice bugs, worms, golden apple snails, leaf folder, birds, and rat infestation.

New scholarship launched

On the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first scholar at IRRI, the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees, and Residents in IRRI (AFSTRI) launched a scholarship program—the IRRI-AFSTRI Alumni Scholarship or IAAS.

The IAAS was formed out of the support and encouragement of several IRRI staff and alumni and aims to assist students of agricultural universities across the world who are in their final year of their bachelors or masters degree programs and who have shown academic excellence in preceding years of study.

Rice book for kids launched

Photos | Video

The Rice Book for Kids by Norma O. Chikiamco was launched before a wide-eyed audience of children from schools near IRRI, which hosted the event.

The 32-page book is a visual and colorful collection of facts about rice—how it is produced and processed, and how it is an important part of many cultures—written in simple and exciting language.

Cultural Night sees "peak of art genes expression"

Seventy-six IRRI staff and scholars from 14 countries showcased costumes, tradition, and culture with music, dance, and artistry on International Cultural Night (9 November 2012), seeking to rise to “the peak of art genes expression," which was the theme of the event.

Countries represented in the show were Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, India, China, Malaysia, Iran, Indonesia, Canada, Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and the Philippines.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Indian agriculture secretary signs up for stronger ties with IRRI

Photos | Video

Honorable Shri Ashish Bahuguna, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, signed a memorandum of agreement with IRRI on 10 November 2012 to further strengthen collaborations with one of the largest rice-producing and -consuming countries in the world.

Secretary Bahuguna was in IRRI 8-11 November 2012, accompanied by Reena Saha, director for crops, and R.K. Trivedi, deputy commissioner for seeds quality control in the Ministry.

Solutions hack their way into rice science

Photos | Videos

After many hours of intense hacking to produce apps for rice research over the weekend at IRRI, the SMART-supported BigAs Hackathon successfully culminated with the announcement of winners on Sunday, 11 November 2012.

The Hackathon was a two-day event that brought together computer programmers, software developers, graphic designers, and others in the IT industry to try and use their skills to solve technological challenges in agriculture.

Best research papers recognized in young scientists meet

The winning papers and authors in the 2012 IRRI Young Scientists Conference were recognized in a ceremony held on 9 November 2012 at IRRI Havener Auditorium. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, deputy director general for communications and partnerships, presented the awards to:

Tobias Kretzschmar (Gene validation of a major QTL for tolerance of anaerobic conditions during germination), first place; Genelou Atienza (Ubiquitous resistance to rice tungro spherical virus is mediated by a gene for translation initiation factor 4G), second place; and Taznoore Samine Khanam (Impact of rice price hike on poverty in Bangladesh), third place.

First young rice scientists' meet a success

Photos | Video

The first IRRI Young Scientists Conference (IYSC), themed Sustaining excellence in rice research, was successfully held at IRRI Headquarters on 8-9 November 2012, with more than 300 IRRI staff and researchers from other countries (Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, India, Iran, and Tanzania) attending.

The event opened with encouraging messages from Robert Zeigler, IRRI director general; Achim Dobermann, head of IRRI's research; and Govinda Rizal, president of the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees, and Residents of IRRI (AFSTRI), which organized the conference. IRRI's leaders expressed anticipation of the initiative's continuation in the coming years.

Nepal recognizes three IRRI scientists

Three IRRI scientists, holding plaques of recognition (L-R):
Julian Lapitan, Thelma Paris, and Uma Shankar Singh
Three IRRI staff were awarded plaques of appreciation by the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) during the workshop, Enhancing women’s livelihoods in rice-based farming systems, held at Hotel Annapurna in Kathmandu, Nepal, 4-6 November 2012:

Thelma Paris, senior scientist (socioeconomics) and gender specialist, was recognized for her contributions to the capacity building of women scientists, researchers, and farmers of Nepal as well as to research and development (R&D) in rice and rice-based cropping systems at grassroots level.

Book-signing for new children's book

The Rice Book for Kids, a new title by famous Filipino author Norma O. Chikiamco with Anvil Publishing Inc., will be launched on Monday morning (19 November) at Kari’s Garden in IRRI.

The new book, aimed at youngsters, includes facts about rice as part of our culture, trivia how rice is processed, what it takes to produce rice, and other things that are all written in a simple, easy-to-follow style. Besides yummy rice recipes, the creative illustrations aid in introducing rice to the younger audience.

IRRI is the source of much of the information in the book.

Bangladesh: Women in aquatic agriculture celebrated

A Bangladeshi woman farmer giving a presentation
during a workshop in Jessore.
The workshop, Women in Aquatic Agricultural Systems to celebrate International Day of Rural Women, was held on 4-5 November 2012 recognizing the role and contributions of rural women farmers in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors for eradicating poverty and hunger.

The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) took part in the workshop by setting up a stall showcasing postharvest management activities on rice seeds. After harvest, the women farmers do the rest of the farm work--threshing, drying, storage, and selection of good seeds.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rice research in good hands as young IRRI scientists come together

IRRI's young scientists, as well as their more experienced colleagues, have come together for the 2012 IRRI Young Scientists Conference (IYSC) to share their work and insights on rice research, 8-9 November 2012 at IRRI Headquarters in Los Baños.

The conference is driven with the theme, Sustaining excellence in rice research, which hints of the current status of research in agriculture in general and rice in particular.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Exhibit opens to celebrate IRRI scholars

A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony today (7 November 2012) opened a month-long exhibit with the theme, Building the next generation of rice scientists: Beyond 50 years of IRRI scholarships, at IRRI headquarters. [Posters on exhibit]

The exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first scholar at IRRI in April 1962 and is sponsored by the IRRI Training Center and the Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees, and Residents of IRRI (AFSTRI).

GRiSP oversight committee holds second meeting

The Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) Oversight Committee (OC) held its second annual meeting at IRRI on 13 October 2012, right after the GRiSP Global Science Forum.

The GRiSP Program Planning and Management Team also participated in the meeting, during which the following issues were raised:

Changes in the rice sector discussed in GRiSP science forum

The GRiSP Global Science Forum was held at IRRI on 11-12 October 2012, in two parts:

The first part was composed of discussions on structural changes in the rice sector. The drivers of structural transformations were identified as (1) a changed farmer population (labor becoming less available, older, and comprised mostly of women); (2) rising labor costs due to demand for labor that led to a greater need for mechanization, reliance on service providers, and land consolidation (through purchases, renting, or cooperation creating “virtual” large fields); and (3) a stronger private sector, which was transforming itself also into a knowledge delivery provider.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

IRRI Board of Trustees seeking new members

The IRRI Board of Trustees would like to solicit nominations for new members who will start their terms in 2014. Preference will be given to those who have expertise in finance and audit and are from Southeast Asia, East Asia, or South America. Female nominees are highly encouraged.

Three members complete their terms by the end of the year.

U.C.-Davis scientist scientist wins Louis Malassis Prize

Pamela Ronald, who has worked with IRRI scientists to develop Sub1 (or flood-tolerant) rice, is one of two winners of the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food, launched by Agropolis Foundation. 

Pamela is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC-Davis. She has worked a lot to improve rice resistance to diseases and tolerance to flooding, which are serious problems of rice crops in Asia and Africa.

Full story on the GCARD blog

Vietnam: IRRI scientists receive awards for significant contributions in An Giang Province

An Giang, Vietnam—The Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) held an exit workshop on 22 October 2012 to formally wrap up IRRC country outreach program activities in the province. The IRRC had been working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of An Giang during its fourth phase (2009-12).

During the workshop, the People’s Committee of An Giang Province presented plaques and certificates of recognition to IRRC coordinator Grant Singleton and IRRI scientist Flor Palis for their contributions to the province. 

IRRC sponsors cross-country exchange on Rice GAP

Ladda Viriyangkura of Thailand discusses
seed quality to Vietnamese colleagues.
An exchange between scientists from Thailand and Vietnam on the progress of their respective countries on Good Agriculture Practices for Rice (Rice GAP) took place on 21-27 October, facilitated by the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC).

Four Thai scientists, led by Ladda Viriyangkura from the Thai Rice Department, visited the Mekong Delta in Vietnam on 21-24 October and reported on the progress of the 1 Must Do, 5 Reductions program in An Giang.

27 attend post-production-to-market course

The 2-week Rice: Post-Production to Market course was conducted at IRRI Headquarters on 22 October-2 November 2012, with 27 participants from research, extension, NGO, and private sectors signed up to look into the critical issues and challenges in rice post-production.

The course will enhance capability of participants to (1) identify and measure losses in the post-production chain from harvest to market; (2) evaluate technology options for harvesting, threshing, drying, storage, and milling of paddy; and (3) learn the use of methodologies and tools to assess local postharvest chains and use business plans to introduce and scale out postharvest options.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

IRRI signs agreement with University of Illinois

A memorandum of understanding was signed between University of Illinois (UoI) at Urbana-Champaign and IRRI on 26 October, during the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which established Land Grant universities such as Illinois.

UoI was represented by Phillis Wise, vice president and chancellor of the university. Pradeep Khanna, associate chancellor, was also present during the signing.

GCARD2 under way in Punta del Este, Uruguay

The Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) is being held this week (29 Oct.-2 Nov.) in Punta del Este, Uruguay. GCARD2 is focusing on the ways to implement the tasks identified in the GCARD RoadMap with special attention to “Foresight and Partnership for innovation and impact on smallholder livelihoods.”

From IRRI and GRiSP, Robert Zeigler (IRRI director general), V. Bruce J. Tolentino (deputy director general for communications and partnerships), and Bas Bouman (GRiSP director) are attending the week-long event to discuss progress across CGIAR to reshape research so that it better answers the needs of resource-poor smallholder farmers and fosters rapid rural development.

Race for rice apps (IRRI-Smart Bigas Hackathon)

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and SMART Communications are holding Bigas Hackathon 10-11 November in Los Baños as one of the activities prepared by IRRI for Rice Awareness Month.

The Hackathon is open to computer programmers, software developers, graphic designers, interface designers, enthusiasts, or anyone who thinks their genius could help make rice research a little better.

Rice blast research calls for joined forces

The Rice Blast Workshop is ongoing (29-31 October 2012) at IRRI as an offshoot of the fifth annual meeting of the Temperate Rice Research Consortium (TRRC) in September held in Turkey.

The workshop is a joint effort between TRRC Working Group 2 (with focus on biotic stresses, specifically rice blast) and the JIRCAS Blast Research Network.

The workshop uses a parallel approach, looking at both pathological and breeding studies in rice blast research.

Philippines: Ifugao and Kalinga rice farmers attend technoclinics

More than a hundred rice farmers from the Cordillera Region in Northern Philippines participated in simultaneous technoclinics held by IRRI and PhilRice scientists on 23-24 October 2012 in Pasil, Kalinga, and Hungduan, Ifugao.

The 20 farmers who participated in the Hungduan technoclinic cited these among their farming problems: earthworms, rat infestation, zinc deficiency, blast, rice bugs, and stem borers. They admitted considering using poison on occasion to stop rats from damaging their crops.

China: IRRI Board of Trustees meets in Shenzhen

The IRRI Board of Trustees held its regular October meeting on 15-17 October 2012 in Shenzhen, China.

The venue for the meeting was arranged with support extended by the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen Institute for Breeding and Innovation (SIBI), and the local governments of Shenzhen.

Three board members leaving at end of 2012

By the end of 2012, three Trustees complete their tenures on the IRRI BoardJillian Lenné, Usha Zehr, and Mohammed Syeduzzaman

At the dinner hosted by BoT Chair Emerlinda Roman, the Board expressed their deep gratitude to the departing members for their distinguished service.

Indonesia: IRRC partners continue activities after project wrap-up

Makassar, Indonesia—A wrap-up meeting and writeshop were held on 15-16 October to formally close a project aimed at improving rice productivity in South and Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Djafar Baco, project consultant, said in his welcome remarks that he hopes for continued collaboration between IRRI and Indonesia in the future, especially in South and Southeast Sulawesi.

Local community gets cosmetology training for livelihood

The Host Country and Community Relations Office sponsored Ganda Mo, Hanapbuhay Ko, a livelihood training course for women of Los Baños and Bay, the two towns that host the IRRI headquarters.

The 5-day (22-26 October 2012) skills training on basic cosmetology covered use of beauty tools, cutting hair for men and women, manicure, pedicure, footspa, hair perming, hot oil treatment, and hair coloring and highlighting, and was held for women who were interested in enhancing their livelihoods or add to their income.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Learning Alliance holds first training on outscaling downdraft rice hull furnace technology

IRRI's Pat Borlagdan (right) shows participants how the
IRRI-developed downdraft rice hull furnace technology works.
Sixteen participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines completed the training on the new IRRI-developed downdraft rice hull furnace (dRHF) technology, held on 25-27 September 2012.

Trainees, which included dRHF pilot-testing cooperators, manufacturers, and Learning Alliance partners, were taught the proper operation of and fabrication procedures of critical components of the dRHF, including the combustion grates and ram drive assembly as feeding mechanism.

Three researchers' lunches held in October

IRRI BOT member Steve Baenziger (center)
was guest during the 10 October YRL.
The flurry of activities in October at IRRI headquarters offered more opportunities for young IRRI researchers to chat with their more experienced seniors who were in town.

The three Young Researchers Lunches in October featured the following guests and attendees:

IRRI Toastmasters Club forms Los Baños counterpart

The IRRI and Los Baños Community Toastmasters Clubs (TMCs) hosted a joint induction of new members and a charter presentation on 22 October, held at the IRRI Dining Room.

The Los Baños Community TMC is newly organized by the IRRI TMC for professionals in the surrounding communities who are interested in honing their communication and leadership skills.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IRRI joins ADB to celebrate World Food Day

Two rice tasters, Julian Cribb, founding editor of Science Alert (at left in the video) and WooChong Um,
ADB's deputy director general for Regional and Sustainable Development (at right in the video),
knew what they liked, respectively, brown rice and white rice versions of the popular IRRI variety IR64.
Watch the video to find out their reasons why. Mr. Cribb, the well-known Australian author
of The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It and other books,
later gave a special Tuesday morning seminar in which he discussed the need to recycle all our
waste water and nutrients back into food production, which would create an entire new industry.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) celebrated World Food Day 2012 at its headquarters in Manila during a 2-day food bazaar and exhibition this week (15-16 October). According to WooChong Um, ADB's deputy director general for Regional and Sustainable Development, the event raised awareness on food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture.

Philippines: Farmers and children train on NM Rice

A series of training events on Nutrient Manager for Rice (NM Rice) was held for farmers and their children in four rainfed lowland rice-farming areas in the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija in the Philippines.

These were conducted under the project Improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty in the drought‐prone lowlands of Southeast Asia funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

UPLB celebrates 94th Loyalty Day

Close to a hundred IRRI employees celebrated with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) alumni by joining the annual Loyalty Day parade on 10 October. Deputy Director General for Communications and Partnerships V. Bruce J. Tolentino led the IRRI contingent.

The Loyalty Day recalls events from 10 October 1918, when the former UP College of Agriculture, from the dean down to the last laborer, volunteered en masse for the Philippine National Guard to defend the country against aggressors. UPLB has since devoted the month of October for the commemoration of this valor.

IRRI holds 'olympics' for local emergency preparedness trainees

IRRI hosted the Neighborhood Emergency Service Team (NEST) Olympics, with participants from 6 barangays in Los Baños and Bay, on 13 October.

The one-day Olympics served as a refresher course and test for current NEST trainees on various emergency skills. Events included medical response, carrying an accident victim, and fire-fighting response ("pila balde").

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cambodia: Laser leveling reintroduced

The Department of Agricultural Engineering (DAEng) demonstrated laser leveling in the rice fields of Don Bosco School and Toul Samrong Agricultural Engineering Development Center in Battambang Province and in a farmer’s rice field at Kandal Province.

The resurgence of laser-leveling comes as the country attempts to ease labor shortage through the use of agricultural machinery, such as combine harvesters.

Bangladesh: Farmers field day held on short-duration rice variety

A Farmers’ Field Day on BRRI dhan56, an early-maturing and short-duration variety, was held at Rajarhat in Kurigram District on 26 September 2012.

Seventy-three farmers came and exchanged practical tips and shared experiences with one another. It is noteworthy that no other rice variety matured in September in the area.

Bangladesh: CSISA participates in agronomy conference

The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Bangladesh (CSISA-BD) took part in the 11th International Conference of the Bangladesh Society of Agronomy on 6 October 2012. The theme of the conference was Advances in agronomic research under changing environment in Bangladesh.