Friday, October 2, 2015

Japan and IRRI launch project to aid climate forecasting for farmers

A new project that aims to maximize rainfed rice production through efficient natural resource management based on seasonal climate prediction was launched under the IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Project (IJRCP) on 1 October.

Climate Change Adaptation through Development of a Decision Support tool to guide Rainfed Rice production (CCADS-RR) will address existing constraints in local rice production in Southeast Asia through the Weather-Rice-Nutrient integrated Decision Support System (WeRise).

CCADS-RR is the succeeding project of  the Climate Change Adaptation in Rainfed Areas (CCARA),  which ended on 30 September. CCARA developed the WeRise, a seasonal climate forecast-based app that provides farmers crucial weather information such as start and end of the rainy season during the cropping season and the distribution of rainfall.

“Throughout human history, predicting, understanding and responding to weather have been farmers’ biggest challenges,” said Dr. Sarah Beebout, deputy division head of the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division. “Now, we have the technology to significantly help.”

The app that also gives farmers options on the optimum planting times, which variety to plant, and the timing of fertilizer application under current and future climate conditions. One hundred fourteen trainers in Indonesia and Laos have attended training on using WeRise to facilitate technology dissemination.

During the final workshop of CCARA on 4 September at IRRI headquarters Dr. Akinori Oshibe, program director of the environment and natural resource management of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), recognized the development of adaptation technology as one of the most relevant agricultural research areas.

At the same event, Keiichi Hayashi, CCARA project coordinator, presented the project concept, planning implementation, and local coordination for CCADS-RR. Dr. Hayashi continues his role as the coordinator of CCADS-RR project.

CCADS-RR collaborators Dr. Zulkifli Zaini, representative and liaison scientist in Indonesia, and Dr. Ali Jamil, director of the Indonesian Center for Rice Research (ICRR), presented the national strategy and on-going researches in Indonesia. They also identified the steps and various stakeholders that could help facilitate the mainstreaming of the research outputs of CCADS-RR in Indonesia’s national agricultural programs.

Dr. Maria Excelsis Orden, professor and division chief of the socio-economic research and development communication division of Central Luzon State University and CCADS-RR Theme 3 leader, discussed the importance of impact pathway for WeRise, its various adoption pathways, and what needs to be done to create outcomes, impacts, and benefits.

Dr. Satoshi Uchida, head of JIRCAS’ social science division, explained the importance of a dynamic rice production potential area map and the methodology for the development of the map. Dr. Toshichika Iizumi, researcher of the agro-meteorology division of the National Institute of Agro-Environmental Sciences, presented evaluating weather indices during key phase of rice production derived from seasonal climate forecast.

Apart from WeRise, CCARA developed seven rice lines with high-yield potential and seven lines with the early-morning flowering trait as part of its breeding component. Rice is most susceptible to heat stress at the flowering stage. Shifting the time of flowering to early morning, when the temperature is cooler, can mitigate the effect of heat stress.

Organized by IRRI and JIRCAS, 35 collaborators and observers from Indonesia, Japan, Laos, and the Philippines attended the workshop. A stakeholders meeting was also held on 10 September in ICRR, Sukamandi, Indonesia.

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