Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lao PDR: CCARA holds 4th Annual Review and Planning Meeting

The IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Project on Climate Change Adaptation in Rainfed Rice Areas (CCARA) held its 4th Annual Review and Planning Meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR on May 9-10, 2014. Vientiane, Lao PDR was the same venue for the same event two years ago.

This year, in addition to the research progress review, the event highlighted the Weather-Rice-Nutrient integrated decision-support system (WeRise) prototype.

WeRise is a decision support tool being developed by CCARA that builds on existing knowledge, database, and tools, and integrates seasonal weather forecast and real-time weather data with the crop models and nutrient management tools.

WeRise is a promising tool that could help farmers, researchers, and extension workers on their crop production decisions by providing crucial weather information such as start and end of the rainy season during the cropping season and the distribution of rainfall. It also gives advice on optimum planting times, which variety to use, and the amount and timing of fertilizer application in rainfed rice areas under current and future climate conditions.

Plans for field testing of the WeRise prototype were discussed during the planning meeting with collaborators from Lao PDR and Indonesia.

In his welcome remarks, Dr. Vanthong Phengvichit, Deputy Director General of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) emphasized the importance of forecast for farmers in the context of climate change. Climate change poses the threat of extreme weather events that, in turn, create uncertainties in rainfall: too much or too little of it, or rain coming at the wrong time, can adversely impact the productivity of rice farming in rainfed areas.

Dr. Tomoyuki Kawashima, program director on natural resource management of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) commended CCARA’s accomplishments and encouraged the team to share its outputs to other projects and create synergies. He hopes that the project would help improve rainfed rice production.

Organized by IRRI, JIRCAS and NAFRI, thirty-six collaborators and observers from Laos, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines attended the event.

The IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Projects have been funded by the government of Japan through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) since 1984. CCARA, which is the latest project, was launched in August 2010 and will end in September 2015.

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