Scientists from Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice); International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES); and IRRI convened at IRRI headquarters this week to discuss multienvironment testing (MET) and breeding data management requirements.
The meeting is expected to result in a comprehensive action plan to establish a structured MET program in the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) as well as a harmonized data management system for product-based GRiSP breeding programs.
The 3-day workshop was opened today by Achim Dobermann, IRRI's deputy director general for research, who challenged the breeders to build on the experiences of the past but make continuous genetic progress with a much more sophisticated way of breeding.
Currently, variety release processes can be tedious and slow and there is no guarantee that varieties released will be adopted by farmers. The workshop is expected to result in very clear systems to evaluate varieties and hybrids following similar procedures and protocols across regions but adapted to the specific needs of the region.
The first day featured presentations from representatives from Asia, Africa, and South America on the current MET practices and trial systems in their respective regions. Partners in Asian NARES—Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam—also shared information about the MET activities being initiated in their countries.
An entire day is scheduled for group discussions to draft specific guidelines for designing and conducting MET trials and data management systems, and to develop protocols for advancing breeding lines, variety naming, and branding.
The outcome of the discussions will be presented on the third day of the workshop, 26 January, and will be implemented as standard MET and breeding data management protocols by the GRiSP partners in the different regions.