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.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thailand: IRRI offers first workshop on herbicide-resistant rice

IRRI conducted the first herbicide-resistant rice (HRR) workshop for Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, on 19-20 September 2012.

HRR is a cultivar of rice that is resistant to a particular herbicide or herbicides that would otherwise damage the rice crop. Herbicides can be sprayed on the resistant rice cultivar and destroy weeds without affecting the rice.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

AFSTRI and IRRI Toastmasters Club hold speech craft course

The Association of Fellows, Scholars, Trainees, and Residents in IRRI (AFSTRI) and the IRRI Toastmasters Club (I-TMC) held a 3-day speech craft course and public speaking immersion training.

Suhay announces art contest winners

Suhay, a charity group led by spouses of IRRI staff, held an artwork contest for children of local and international staff in late September. The winners have been announced, thus:

In first place is "Simbang Gabi" (above) by Jeril Matthew Belen, son of Marlyn Belen (NPR), with a cash prize of Php 2,500.

IRRI employee group holds feeding session and medical mission for flood victims

The Association of IRRI Secretaries and Administrative Staff, or AISAS, reached out to members of the local community affected by the flooding caused by the "Habagat rains" in August.

IRRI holds health education and medical mission for local community

To help lower the incidence of common illnesses and increase health awareness and good practices among local residents who are of low income, IRRI's Host Country and Community Relations Office conducted its eighth Community Health Education and Medical Mission in Barangay Maahas in Los Baños, Laguna on 28 September 2012.

IRRI staff help raise aid for flood victims during local festival

IRRI employees led by IRRI Deputy Director General for Communications and Partnerships V. Bruce J. Tolentino joined Los Baños' walk-for-a-cause that had the theme, Mga nasalantang kababayan, ating damayan, on 17 September.

Experimental design analysis course held in IRRI

Twenty-one IRRI staff attended the course, Analysis of experimental design using the SAS System, held on 24-28 September 2012 at the I.T. Learning Center.

Indonesia: Seminar on rice postharvest technologies and fan-testing held in South Sumatra

The Post-Production Work Group of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium held a two-day seminar-orientation on rice postharvest technologies, in collaboration with the Balai Pengkajian Teknologi Pertanian (BPTP) in Palembang, South Sumatra.