Tuesday, September 3, 2013

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.

The WeRise training course covers simulation of crop growth for the forecast weather scenario in the prototype, and feedback collection from potential users to ensure user-friendliness of its features.

Specific topics included modeling crop growth, database management, crop-weather-nutrient model interface, and practical exercises on the WeRise prototype.

Participants’ feedback indicate that majority of the respondents found the WeRise prototype easy to use and the output easy to understand. Of the 10 respondents who have experience in using other Decision Support tools, 9 respondents found WeRise prototype easy to use and 5 respondents found the prototype simple and more complete. Four respondents expressed interest and excitement in using the final version of the WeRise.

Rainfed rice yields are low and unstable mainly because of uncertainty in rainfall amount and distribution, nutrient stress, and pests. Extreme weather events caused by climate change could further reduce rice productivity in these areas.

WeRise aims to assist rainfed rice farmers under current and future climate scenarios. It uses a seasonal weather forecast that provides farmers crucial weather information, such as the start and end of the rainy season and rainfall distribution during the crop-growing season. It also advises farmers when to sow and transplant the crop, what variety is appropriate, and how fertilizer and other inputs may be efficiently applied.

Forty-three researchers and agricultural extension workers from Laos (National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute; National University of Lao PDR; Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment; IRRI-Laos; Department of Agriculture, Extension and Cooperatives; Department of Agriculture; Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office; District of Agriculture and Forestry Office; and the Department of Agriculture, Land Management, and Development); Indonesia (Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology; Indonesian Agroclimate and Hydrology Research Institute; Indonesian Center for Food Crops Research and Development; Indonesian Center for Rice Research; Executing Agency for Food Security and Agricultural Extension, Fisheries and Forestry; Food Security Office; and IRRI-Indonesia); and Bangladesh (Bangladesh Rice Research Institute) participated in the training course.

The training course was hosted by the Climate Change Adaptation in Rainfed Rice Areas (CCARA) project, an IRRI-Japan collaborative research initiative, and was organized by IRRI and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences.

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