Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sustainable rice production is critical to environmental conservation

Dr. Grant Singleton, rodent ecologist and CORIGAP-PRO coordinator, discusses some of IRRI's contribution to environmental conservation. 

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—“As the rising global population demands for more food, there is also increasing pressure in producing rice sustainably,” said Grant Singleton during a lecture on environmental conservation at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

“People, especially students, should be aware and concerned about the need to improve rice production," Singleton said. "The poor use of pesticides and other inputs can have an adverse effect on our environment and human health. We have a toolbox that will increase rice production in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Singleton, a principal scientist and rodent ecologist at the International Rice Research Institute, was one of the notable speakers from different fields of environmental research at Overshoot: The Earth is an apple I can consume for a day, a seminar series organized by the UP Ecology and Systematics Major Students Society.  The seminar, held on 13 March, featured the insights of experts on overconsumption and exploitation of natural resources practices and the potential solutions for sustainable growth and development.

Singleton discussed the research activities of the CORIGAP-PRO (Closing rice yield gaps in Asia with reduced environmental footprint) project in alleviating poverty and improving food security and gender equity of small rice farmers in an environmentally sustainable manner.  The project conducts adaptive research with rice farmers in demonstrating, testing, and validating the best management practices for sustainable rice production in major granaries in Asia.  Some of these include One Must Do, Five Reductions in Vietnam, the Three Controls Technology in China, the cost reductions initiative in Thailand, and integrated crop management in Indonesia. CORIGAP-PRO aims to sustainably increase rice yield by 10% for 500,000 smallholder farmers in Asia by 2020.

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