Monday, February 4, 2019

Engaging global partners for sustainable rice straw management

Visit at a farmer's foeld in Tien Giang with
rice straw silage used for cattle feed
Working with advanced research institutes and national partners, IRRI aims to develop, adopt, and translate technologies to deliver environmentally sustainable benefits.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the German government, the Sustainable Rice Straw Management project conducted a workshop and demonstration of sustainable rice straw management practices and technologies in Tien Giang Province, Vietnam.

According to Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, IRRI representative in Vietnam, the most important aspect of this project is the close collaboration between diverse partners from different countries. “To see the impact of adopting new technologies and to work in different countries is one of the interesting aspects of the project,” he added.

During the workshop, partners from the national research and extension system (NARES) shared their experiences and what they have learned from the challenges they faced. Dr. Nguyen Huy Bich, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City shared how the BMZ-funded project on rice straw management has been very useful to Vietnam in terms of scaling out sustainable technologies and practices on rice straw management such as rice straw composting. He was also very much pleased that Nong Lam University became part of the project.

On-site discussion on the production of pomelo and dragon fruits 
using rice straw based compost as soil amendment.

Executive Director of the Philippine Carabao Center and co-leader of the RiceStrawPH project, Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, cited the challenges of collecting good quality rice straw as feedstock for cattle and other ruminants is due to lack of balers and better logistics in rice straw collection, transport and storage. He added that there is a need to refine existing technologies to improve intake and quality (crude protein and digestibility) of rice straw.

In response to this challenge, Dr. Elmer Bautista of the Philippine Rice Research Institute and study leader of the RiceStrawPH project said the project  is keen on addressing the issue on rice straw collection logistics and the local adaptation of rice straw baler in the Philippines.

One of the highlights of the workshop is the demonstration of mechanized composting in Tien Giang Province.

Workshop/Demonstration participants looking into some of the 
products and by-products of the rice straw composting.

According to Dr. Nguyen Van Hung, IRRI scientist and co-project leader of the Rice Straw Management Project, said that the compost turning machine being demonstrated exhibits the effective integration of mechanization and bio-chemical process to optimize rice straw composting.

The workshop and demonstration was attended by 59 participants from NARES partners, non-government organizations, government institutions and private sectors who were active collaborators and implementers of various project components. Staff from the World Bank-funded project Vietnam Sustainable Agricultural Transformation also attended the workshop to glean experiences and learning on sustainable rice straw management strategies.

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