Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vietnam: Climate change and land use project reviewed

A midterm review of CLUES, or “Climate Change Affecting Land Use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of Rice-Based Cropping Systems,” reveals the following achievements of the ACIAR-funded project thus far that altogether provide a robust base for the project’s next phase:
  • Established a risk map on the effect of sea-level rise and climate change on salt intrusion in the Mekong Delta up to the years 2030 and 2050. 
  • Analyzed  land suitability for potential land-use systems under different sea-level rise and infrastructure development scenarios, and the socioeconomic characteristics of each system in various agroecological zones. 
  • Developed improved rice varieties using conventional and complex crosses to investigate underlying genetics and the value of parental lines in breeding for stress tolerance. 
  • Conducted more than 49 participatory varietal selection trials using 41 rice varieties and distributed more than 27,600 kilograms of best-bet variety seeds to farmers from 2011 to mid-2013. 
  • Identified the combination of alternate-wetting-and-drying technology, reduced phosphorus use, and transplanting as a climate change-adaptive strategy for rice production in the Delta. 
  • Recommended a short-duration high-yielding rice variety that can replace the local variety Mot Bui Do in the shrimp-rice system in Bac Lieu Province.
  • Improved farmers’ income through integration of non-rice crops into rice-based systems  (although poor community water management remains a barrier to upland crop production).
  • Identified determinants and solutions for further improvement of livelihoods of rice farmers in the Delta. 
  • Developed initial data on emissions in the Delta as a function of crop management.

The review was presented during a gathering of CLUES project partners and collaborators on 19 September 2013 at Can Tho University (CTU) in Vietnam. Attending were more than 80 scientists and partner representatives, including local staff, from Vietnam partners (CTU; Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute; Southern Institute for Water Resources Planning; Institute of Agricultural Sciences for Southern Vietnam; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of An Giang, Can Tho, Hau Giang and Bac Lieu provinces); the Deutshe Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and IRRI.

The project began work in March 2011 and will conclude in February 2014. IRRI climate expert Reiner Wassmann is the project leader of CLUES. Other IRRI scientists involved are To Phuc Tuong, Russell Reinke, Abdelbagi Ismail, Thelma Paris, Romeo Labios, and Ngo Dang Phong.

CSIRO was represented by Bennett Macdonald, Peter Brown, and John Ward, while IWMI was represented by Chu Thai Hoanh.

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India: IRRI’s work in South Asia presented at agri econ meet

Senior scientist Takashi Yamano shared about IRRI’s collaborative research programs, implemented under the Institute’s Social Sciences Division, during the 21st annual conference of the Agricultural Economics Research Association (AERA) held at Srinagar.

Farmers’ group receives computer donation

The Banca-banca Farmers’ Association in Laguna Province, represented by the group’s leader, Casiano Estrella, Jr., received a computer donated by Lenovo through the CyberVillage Project on 18 September 2013.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IRRI takes part in local festival, environment gig

Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez commended IRRI for its sustainable waste management and environment-friendly practices in a speech he gave before residents and local government staff to celebrate Pista ng Kapaligiran (Feast of the Environment) on 7 September 2013.

In another speech during the civic parade and program of the Bañamos festival, the Mayor also made a special mention of IRRI, which he thanked for its contribution to livelihood activities and local employment, both of which have helped improve the town's economy.

20 undergo training on use of analysis tool for rice production

A training program on version 3 of ORYZA2000, a system analysis tool for rice production, was conducted on 2-6 September 2013 at the IT Learning Center in IRRI.

The 20 training participants are researchers and scientists from the Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (Uruguay),  Institute of Agricultural-Alimentary Research and Technology (Spain), the University of Gottingen (Germany), Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (Japan), AfricaRice (Benin) and IRRI.

IRRI opens Myanmar office

A decades-long collaboration just got a new home.

The IRRI-Myanmar Office was inaugurated on 12 September 2013 with IRRI’s Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships V. Bruce J. Tolentino and Myanma Department of Agriculture Deputy Director General Aung Kyi cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

Dr. Tolentino reiterated IRRI’s commitment to help Myanmar achieve its goals of becoming a major player in the global rice market and expressed hope that the country, with the help of IRRI, will use its rich resources in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner.

Dr. Kyi, for his part, recalled the pride of being a former top exporter of rice, and said that Myanmar is set to reclaim that standing. He also thanked IRRI for being a steadfast partner in the past decades.

Dr. Kyi and Dr. Tolentino were joined by IRRI-Myanmar Liaison Scientist Madonna Casimero, IRRI National Programs Relations Head Julian Lapitan, Donor Relations and Project Coordination Head Corinta Guerta, as well as representatives from donor organizations, employees of the Myanma Department of Agriculture, and staff members from IRRI Headquarters and the IRRI-Myanmar Office.

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New instrument helps speed up genotyping

A new instrument for analyzing DNA and RNA is now helping advance rice research at IRRI.
The fragment analyzer, now in use at IRRI’s new Genotyping Services Lab (GSL), helps improve the genotyping of molecular markers linked to specific rice traits that can be used to breed better varieties. It does capillary electrophoresis and can run 96 samples in about 90 minutes, and is thus expected to speed up laboratory work.

Sri Lanka: CORRA seeks to boost partnerships for rice research in Asia

Highlighting the strategic role and potential of the Council for Partnership in Rice Research in Asia (CORRA) in strengthening partnership among key stakeholders on rice research and development in Asia is the guiding theme of the council’s 17th annual meeting held at Kandy, Sri Lanka, on 5–6 September 2013.

IRRI’s head of research shares about career path with young researchers

The Young Researchers Lunch (YRL) meeting hosted Achim Dobermann, IRRI's deputy director general for research, on 22 August 2013, during which he described his education and career path to some of IRRI’s young scientists. His story emphasized the importance of having dynamic professors who encourage students to pursue a certain field, as well as having the time for exploratory learning as part of research activities.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bigas2 Hack winning apps announced

The winning apps from the two-day (31 August-1 September 2013) developer event, Bigas2 Hack, held by Smart Communications,Inc. (Smart) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), are hereby announced:  

Bring-your-own idea challenge winners 
  • "Weather-on-the-Go" as Best Innovation App - notifies users of weather forecasts and changes via SMS and a web-based app module; developed by GoRated Team (Gian Santillan, Patrick Ofilada, and Ericson Luciano).
  • "HarBestDeal" as runner-up for Best Innovation App - a platform that establishes communication and trade among farmers, traders, and IRRI; developed by HarBest Team (Tito Mari Francis Escano and Nel Vergara).

Climate change modeling workshop ongoing at IRRI

The inception workshop for the Integrated Modeling of Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural Productivity and Socio-Economic Status, or IMCASE, is now being held (3–5 September 2013) at the Social Sciences Division, IRRI Headquarters.

Laos and Indonesia: Training held on weather-rice-nutrient decision tool prototype

A training course on the use of a prototype of the Weather-Rice-Nutrient Integrated Decision Support System or WeRise for rainfed lowland rice production was held on 19–20 August 2013 at Vientiane, Laos, and on 22–23 August 2013 at Bogor, Indonesia.

Lenovo donates computers for CyberVillage Project

Two all-in-one computer units and a laptop were donated to the Philippine CyberVillage project by Lenovo (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

The equipment was turned over to representatives of the CyberVillage project by Maria Victoria Agorilla, Lenovo country general manager and officer of the InfoCom Technology Association of the Philippines or ITAPhil.

Local residents affected by typhoon get help from IRRI personnel

IRRI employees responded quickly to a call for relief goods for those affected by Habagat (monsoon) rains exacerbated by Typhoon Maring in August 2013.

Sacks of rice, canned food, milk, coffee, hygiene products, and clothing were turned over to residents of Barangay Lalakay who were staying in evacuation centers because their homes were destroyed by mudslides. Donated goods were likewise distributed to households in Barangay Malinta, where houses were partly still partly flooded. Both barangays are located in Los Baños, Laguna.

IRRI trains neighboring communities on disaster preparedness

Twenty six responders completed the Neighborhood Emergency Service Team (NEST) training on light search and rescue in difficult mountain areas, medical preparedness, fire and earthquake response, anti-terrorism skills, and hazard mapping among others on August 26-30.  The new members of the NEST team were resident of upland barangays of Sta. Cruz, and Bitin in Bay, Laguna.

Indian state extends use of drought-tolerant rice

An awareness and review workshop on cluster demonstrations of drought tolerant rice in India’s eastern state of Jharkhand was held by IRRI and the State Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute (SAMETI) on 30 August 2013 in Ranchi, Jharkhand, India.

Hei Leung honored for work in rice blast

Dr. Hei Leung during the 6th International
Rice Blast Conference
in South Korea.
Hei Leung, IRRI Principal Scientist and Program 1 Leader, received the "Lifetime Achievement for Rice Blast Research" award at the 6th International Rice Blast Conference in Jeju, South Korea on 23 August 2013.