Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Harnessing the potential of UAVs in agricultural research

The Geospatial Science and Modeling (GSM) cluster of the Sustainable Impact Platform recently conducted a 3-day training on crop mapping using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and global positioning system real time kinematics (GPS-RTK) as applied to rice research.

Held last 18-20 November 2019 at Thailand Rice Science Institute (TSRI), Suphanburi, Thailand, the training was attended by 10  participants from TSRI, Department of Agriculture (DoA), and provincial rice research stations. The course in general focused on procedures on how to effectively  utilize UAVs and GPS-RTK  in a variety of applications, from supplemental field observation to crop assessment, citing examples on how IRRI uses UAVs in research.

Friday, November 22, 2019

HRDC holds Field Day at IRRI South Asia Regional Centre

A hybrid rice Field Day organized by the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) showcased the group’s top-performing rice hybrids to over 35 participants from 16 private sector companies engaged in hybrid rice production and technologies, an encouraging step forward towards the potential commercializing of improved hybrid rice varieties for use by India’s rice farmers.

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Farmers and partners in Myanmar learn about improved rice straw mushroom production

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Myanmar’s Agricultural Mechanization Department (AMD) conducted a hands-on training on Rice Straw Based Mushroom Cultivation at the Agricultural Machinery Training Center, in Yezin, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. This training is part of a two-week workshop and training on Rice Straw Management, which ran from 4 – 14 November 2019. The training focused on developing good management practices to add value to rice byproducts and to reduce the environmental footprint of rice production caused by open field burning of rice straw.

U Aung Zaw, Deputy Director General of Planning at the AMD in Nay Pyi Taw, provided full support to the event. “This is a great opportunity to learn about rice straw management in our country,” he said.

Mechanized rice straw collection training in Myanmar enhances gender equality on sustainable rice straw management

Dr. Thi Thi Aung maneuvering the tractor with a square baler in the field.

A training program for mechanized rice straw collection increased the knowledge and capacity of its participants, many of them women, in extending sustainable rice straw management practices to Myanmar farmers.

9 women and 16 men engaged in development and extension work for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation (MOALI) and a non-government organization were given instruction on the operation and maintenance of mechanical rice straw balers during the Rice Straw Management Training Workshop conducted at the Agricultural Machinery Training Center (AMTC) in Yezin on 4-14 November 2019.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Assam Chief Minister welcomes agritech at ‘Krishak Samaroh’

October 2019, Assam, India - Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal was the chief guest in a state-level farmers’ convention-cum-exhibition, known as a ‘Krishak Samaroh’, that was organised on 29 October 2019 by the Department of Agriculture, Directorate of Horticulture & Food Processing (Government of Assam) at Khanapara in Assam’s capital city Guwahati.

Over 10,000 farmers, state and district agriculture department officials visited the exhibition, which included exhibits from the Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), agri-entrepreneurs, private-sector organisations, and Farmer-Producer Organizations.

The World Bank-funded ‘Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project’ (APART), exhibited by the Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services Society (ARIASS) in collaboration with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), was visited by the Chief Minister and his entourage, comprising of Assam Agriculture Production Commissioner Rajesh Kumar & State Project Director, and Director Agriculture, Manoj Kumar.

TRRC identifies nutrition, grain quality as key priorities for temperate rice research

Nanjing, November 2019 - Members of the Temperate Rice Research Consortium (TRRC) steering committee renewed their commitment to joint research and collaboration on temperate rice during this year’s meeting and symposium in Nanjing, China.

Held last 7-9 November 2019 and hosted by the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS), the meeting was an opportunity for the consortium to come together after three years and redefine TRRC’s new research direction, identify key future research priorities, and evaluate proposed research programs.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Mano Pathak, first IRRI entomologist and director of research and training, passes away

Dr. Mano Dutta Pathak, 85, passed away peacefully at home with family members present in St. Peters, MO, USA, on 6 November 2019. Born in 1934 in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), India, he had also lived in the Philippines and the United States.

One of the key researchers who ushered in the Green Revolution in rice, Mano was an internationally-acclaimed scientist dedicated to improving crop production and agricultural education to eradicate hunger and poverty in the developing world. 

In 1962, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) hired the youthful 28-year-old entomologist who was then studying the stem borer in Indian sorghum fields. He arrived with his family in April that year to be the fledgling institute’s first entomologist in its then Plant Protection Department. He would stay on at IRRI for the next 27 years as an entomologist and upper-level administrator.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Walt Rockwood, former IRRI editor and first ARFUSA president, passes away

Walter G. Rockwood, 91, passed away in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on 24 October 2019. He was an editor for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for 15-plus years, 6 in Information Services at headquarters in the Philippines (1976-82) and then as a part-time consultant for the institute, based in Vermont, editing program reports and other key books throughout most of the 1990s into 2001.

Prior to his time at IRRI, armed with an agriculture degree from the University of Vermont (1950), he served as the Franklin County (Vermont) Extension Dairy Agent. He began his career in the international arena in the Foreign Service during 1963-68 by way of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Togo, Guinea, and Morocco. After earning a Master’s Degree in agricultural communications at the University of Illinois in 1970, he spent 5 years at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria. After 1 year in Iran working for the United Nations Development Programme, he came to IRRI. After his full-time stint at IRRI in 1982, he returned to Africa for a time to work in Côte D’Ivoire for the Food for Peace Program.