Tuesday, April 30, 2013

India: Coromandel joins IRRI to advance rice technologies

Coromandel International Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for cooperation in promoting and disseminating improved rice research technologies in India.

The technologies covered in the agreement will help improve all aspects of rice cultivation, including seed quality, nutrient and crop management, water management, farm machinery, and postharvest processing.

Landbank offers agriculture scholarships for Filipino students

LandBank President and CEO Gilda Pico (4th from left)
receives a certificate of appreciation from
IRRI Deputy Director General for Communication and
Partnerships V. Bruce J. Tolentino (4th from right).
A scholarship program was recently launched for dependents of small farmers and fisherfolk in 'agricultural communities undergoing change.'

The deed of donation for the scholarship was signed by officials of the Landbank of the Philippines (Landbank), a financial institution of the Philippine government, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on 23 April 2013 at the Landbank Plaza in Malate, Manila.

Indonesia: CURE steering committee meets in Lombok

Seventy-five participants from ten countries attended the twelfth annual review and steering committee meeting of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE) on 23-25 April 2013 in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara Province. 

West Nusa Tenggara is the home of Gogo Rancha (GORA) or dry direct-seeded rice, which saved farmers from famine in the early 1990s.

Genomics professor is guest in researchers lunch

Thomas Mitchell-Olds (third from right),
with some of IRRI's young scientists.
Thomas Mitchell-Olds, professor at the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy at Duke University in the U.S., was the guest during the Young Researchers Lunch for April.

Dr. Mitchell-Olds discussed his approach to data analysis, in which he considers multiple traits together in order to see genetic differences better. He also gave the young scientists on the table tips for applying in US universities.

Emergency preparedness training held for local residents

The Neighborhood Emergency Services Team (NEST) training, a set of lectures and drills on disaster management and emergency preparedness, was held for the tenth time by IRRI's Host Country and Community Relations Office (HCCRO)—this time, for 18 volunteers from barangays Bayog and Mayondon in Los Baños, Laguna.

Second medical mission held in local barangay

The second medical mission and community health education activity for 2013 was held at Barangay San Antonio in Los Baños, Laguna, on 25 April.

About a thousand residents, mostly persons with disabilities (PWD),  infants, and children, came to receive free check-ups, medicines, vitamins, and health counseling.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Physiology lab re-opens

IRRI's old "Rainbow Lab" has been refurbished into the more efficient and modern Physiology Laboratory, thanks to funding from the Australian government.

The Physiology Lab, built as a communal facility, was inaugurated on 19 April 2013 in a small ceremony led by David Johnson, head of the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD) that houses the lab.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Research and agriculture leaders join IRRI board of trustees

Three new members joined the regular biannual meeting of the Board of Trustees of IRRI on 3-5 April at IRRI HQ in Los Baños: Subbanna Ayyappan of India, Kaye Basford of Australia, and Jim Godfrey, OBE, of the UK.

India: Stronger inter-country linkage sought to improve technology delivery

The Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project prepares for stronger linkage among its partner countries India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and others in Africa as the project moves toward Phase 3.

Myanmar: Partners in Ayeyarwaddy Delta get help on data management

A training program on management of field and data from on-farm trials in the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar was recently held for IRRI's partners under a project supported through the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust (LIFT) Fund.

The activity was a follow-up to the participatory adaptive research training program held on 15-21 September 2012 for local partners in Labutta, Bogale, and Mawlamliyegnum townships.

'Father of hybrid rice' Yuan Longping speaks in consortium meeting

Yuan Longping, regarded as the 'father of hybrid rice,' gave the keynote speech during the sixth annual meeting of members of the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) on 2 April. Professor Yuan  talked about progress made in the breeding of 'super hybrid rice.'

Bangladesh: Extension staff undergo rice production training

Staff of partner NGOs of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project attended the 2-day Rice Production Technology training course held in Faridpur on 6-7 April 2013.

Bangladesh: Field visit assures partners of wider technology spread

A field visit to trial and demonstration plots of rice-sunflower and rice-sesame cropping systems showcased improved agronomic practices in rice seed production.

The visit assured partners of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) and IRRI of good progress toward wider dissemination of such practices and technologies in the next cropping season.

Bangladesh: Short-duration rice allows for sunflower crop afterwards

A farmer’s field day on sunflower cultivation in rice-based systems focused on the use of short-duration rice varieties during the aman season.

Farmers shared how they used to cultivate local rice varieties (e.g., Sada mota, Lal mota, BR22, and BR23) in the aman (July-November) season. All of these are long-duration varieties and harvest can drag up to the end of December, after which other crops such as wheat, maize, lentil, mustard, and sunflower can no longer be grown.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

IRRI Annual Report wins ACE silver award

The IRRI Annual Report has consistently received top awards from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) for several years now, and its 2011 edition was recently named for the Silver Award in the electronic publications class.

The award will be formally presented on 11-14 June in Indianapolis, during the ACE and National Extension Technology Conference.

Darwinian scientist is guest in researchers' lunch

R. Ford Denison (center) and some of
IRRI's budding scientists.
The Young Researchers Lunch hosted a second guest for March, R. Ford Denison, author of the book, Darwinian Agriculture.

Dr. Denison was at IRRI to give a series of lectures derived from the book and hold discussions and debate with IRRI researchers. He shared his perspectives on agriculture and evolution, saying that he believes situations in nature may not necessarily be best for agriculture.

19 IRRI staff undergo data collection and encoding course

The first offering of Research Data Management (RDM) 11, or Data collection and encoding for research technicians, was held today (26 March).

The course aims to impart good practices in handling research data, knowledge, and techniques to enable research technicians to effectively use spreadsheets during data encoding. The technicians were also taught to use an Android tablet device using FieldLab v. 2.4 and other spreadsheet apps for data collection.