Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Research institutions trained to bring web-based rice productivity app to Indonesian farmers

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—A capacity-building program was held to help Indonesian research institutions disseminate the Weather-Rice-Nutrient Integrated Decision Support System (WeRise) to farmers faster and more effectively. WeRise is a web-based app developed to help farmers plan their cropping season by providing advisories on the best time to plant, suitable varieties to use, and timing of fertilizer application based on rainfall distribution and other weather factors.

The program was conducted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-Japan Collaborative Research Project on Climate Change Adaptation through Development of a Decision-Support tool to guide Rainfed Rice production (CCADS-RR) for its research partners. The training focused on helping the participants learn the logical components of WeRise to enable them to disseminate the technology more effectively and improve farmer’s welfare and contribute to the rice self-sufficiency program of the Indonesian government.

An important output of the activity was an action plan drafted by the participants to disseminate WeRise. In the process, risk analysis and identification of contingency plans were also undertaken. On-site and on-farm experiments are being conducted in West Nusa Tenggara, West Java and South Sulawesi to validate WeRise in the context of Indonesia’s rainfed rice areas.

“I hope that the training not only built your capacity but also fostered a greater sense of ownership for WeRise,” said Dr. Keiichi Hayashi, CCADS-RR coordinator and IRRI soil scientist. He also encouraged the participants to focus on getting success stories as they implement the action plan as part of their institutional mandates.

 “Finding extensionists and farmer leaders who will be willing to participate in the dissemination activities for WeRise could be a challenge,” said  Lia Hadiawati, a participant from the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology—West Nusa Tenggara. “But a lot of things could be learned along the way.”

The training was held at the IRRI headquarters on 23 January to 24 February with funding support from the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries of Japan through the United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace under the On-the-Job Research Capacity Building for Sustainable Agriculture in Developing Countries program.

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