Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mapping and GIS capacity strengthened to aid spread of stress-tolerant rice

An international training-workshop on the characterization of rice-growing environments was held on 24–26 July 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The workshop, joined by 35 participants, aimed to facilitate the dissemination of stress-tolerant varieties in the region.

The 3-day training-workshop sought to introduce to and instruct participants on the use of various tools and techniques related to remote sensing, GIS, and other geospatial technologies for drought assessment and monitoring; characterization of drought-, submergence-, and salinity-prone areas; and targeted dissemination, real-time data collection and transfer, business management-to-extension system, and rice crop monitoring using satellite data—all to assess impact and prospects of enhancing rice production in the rainfed lowlands of South Asia through crop and natural resource management.

The event was opened by D.B. Gurung, executive director of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, commending the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project for its success in targeted dissemination of stress-tolerant rice varieties in India and Bangladesh within a very short period of time, through the use of remote sensing and GIS techniques and applications. “I am very keen on IRRI replicating such an initiative in Nepal in the near future,” he said.

Dr. Gurung also applauded IRRI’s capacity building efforts, particularly through STRASA and EC-IFAD programs, for Nepalese scientists and extension officials.

Vijay Kumar Mallick, joint secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Development of Nepal, shared about experiences in Nepal regarding the work on remote sensing and GIS and requested IRRI’s support in identifying and characterizing target areas for dissemination of improved rice varieties.

Sudhanshu Singh, IRRI’s rainfed lowland agronomist for South Asia, welcomed participants to the event. A.N. Singh, GIS consultant, gave the overview, rationale, and expectations for the workshop.

Participants were brought on a field visit on 26 July.

The training-workshop was made possible through support from the STRASA and EC-IFAD projects.

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