Friday, September 22, 2017

Odisha rice farmers begin seed production training

One of IRRI’s most significant initiatives is to develop and distribute high-quality, high-yield seeds that can thrive in vulnerable environmental conditions. Working toward this mission, IRRI launched a project called “Increasing Production of Rice Based Cropping Systems and Farmer’s Income" in Odisha, India. This project aims to make high-quality seeds accessible in the region in order to raise rice productivity and farmers' income.

As part of the project, a training program on quality rice seed production and storage was held last 6 September in Puri, Odisha, in collaboration with local NGO Lutheran World Relief Services.

The training program will test and demonstrate the training modules for seed production and proper storage practices. Test results will be used to revise the existing modules on seed production, which farmers and other stakeholders can then use as a guide. The updated module will be distributed across Odisha, with IRRI aiming to reach 2,700 farmers in all 30 districts of the state.

Thirty-five delegates attended the training. Among the topics discussed by Dr. Survesh Shukla, Training and Communication Specialist, and his team were:
  • seed/grain quality,
  • seed cleaning and treatment
  • nursery preparation,
  • rouging at different crop stages, and
  • observations and actions needed at different production stages (i.e., harvesting, threshing, drying, postharvest, and storage).
Recommended seed cleaning and storage practices were also demonstrated to the participants. In addition, training materials, such as flipbooks and manuals, were distributed among the farmers. The flipbook is specifically designed for women, as the program also aims to enhance women's capacity and increase their involvement in the seed sector. Participants also engaged in an open forum wherein they shared their experiences, asked questions, and voiced their insights.

Other stakeholders such as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), seed certification units, seed producers, and agriculture officials are expected to join the next round of trainings.

Authors: Manzoor H. Dar and Deepti Saksena 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Former IRRI Board chair passes away

Dr. Angeline Kamba, 81, IRRI Board of Trustees Member from 1998 to 2003, died on September 12, 2017. A family representative stated that she “has passed peacefully at home after being unwell for over a month”. She is survived by two children and two grandchildren.

Dr. Kamba served as chair of the IRRI Board from 2002 to 2003, the first woman and African to serve in the position. Prior to this, she was Zimbabwe’s representative to UNESCO Commission on Culture and Development, and held other positions in different local and international agencies such as Zimbabwe’s National Archives and CAB International.

She is a terrible loss to the development industry, and we express our deepest condolences to her family.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

IRRI, ADB, stakeholders discuss climate-resilient agricultural practices in Bangladesh

There is a great need to quickly disseminate water-saving technologies to the farmers of Bangladesh, according to Md. Toufiqul Alam, additional secretary of the country's Ministry of Agriculture. 

With that goal, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized an inception meeting for the project, “Piloting of Climate-Resilient Agricultural Practices in Bangladesh” at Feni, 21-22 August. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss new knowledge from the launch of climate-resilient water-saving alternate wetting and drying agricultural practices. 

A work plan to solicit feedback from policymakers, experts, farmers, and other stakeholders associated with the implementation of the Muhuri Irrigation Project was recommended. Participants (photo) included the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), the Department of Agriculture and Extension (DAE), irrigation operators, and farmers. This project is part of ADB’s program on “Investment Assessment and Application of High-Level Technology for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific.”