Events


Climate-smart rice technologies to boost Philippine rice production

posted Sep 9, 2016, 2:37 AM by Annette Tobias ‎(IRRI)‎

ALABANG, Philippines—Cultivating climate-smart rice varieties in unfavorable environments could boost local rice production, says Edilberto de Luna, Philippine agriculture assistant secretary for operations (photo left). De Luna said this during a meeting with rice department heads and scientists from 10 Asian countries on rainfed rice farming areas that often experience low productivity, poverty, and hunger.

The discussion took part during the 15th Annual Steering Committee Meeting of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), 24-26 May. Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), CURE, a “network of networks,” focuses on rice farming systems where low and unstable yields are common and extensive poverty and food security prevail.
Climate-smart rice can withstand the ill effects of drought, flooding, and salinity that pose great threats to rainfed rice areas.

“Around 27% of the Philippine land area is rainfed,” said Yoichiro Kato (photo at right), an agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). “Rainfed agriculture sustains many farmers in the country and contributes about 26% of the Philippines’ total rice production.”

The contribution of these varieties to the country's food security is even more crucial because the Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to Dr. Calixto Protacio, executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). “To date, the Philippines, a member country of CURE, has released 19 drought-tolerant rice varieties for the rainfed lowlands, four for the uplands, and 15 for saline-prone environments.”

Aside from being more resilient, climate-smart rice varieties have other outstanding qualities.
“The recently released drought-tolerant rice variety, NSIC Rc282, yielded up to 7.9 tons per hectare during the 2016 dry season in an on-farm trial in Cuyapon, Nueva Ecija,” said Dr. Aurora Corales, supervising science research specialist at PhilRice. Farmers also liked NSIC Rc282 because it has more tillers, long panicles, and less grain shattering.”

De Luna said that the government will ensure the availability of seeds of climate-smart rice varieties and will promote their use in less favorable areas through informal seed systems such as community seed banks.

Lakbay Binhi is another way of making these climate-smart varieties more accessible to farmers, according to Protacio. Lakbay Binhi (traveling seeds) is a project that brings high-quality seeds to Filipino farmers through mobile seed centers. It was pilot-tested at three sites affected by Typhoon Lando (Koppu).
               

“The adoption of technologies in the country is more of a bottom-up approach,” said Dr. Digna Manzanilla, IRRI social scientist and CURE coordinator (photo at left). “CURE involves potential or actual seed growers within the community to ensure good seed supply. Agricultural technicians conduct village-level demonstration trials and technologies are learned from one farmer to another.”

CURE is also helping 100 million farm households dependent on rice in unfavorable environments in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. 

“Indeed, CURE provides an integrated platform to help the poor farmers in unfavorable rice areas in Asia by creating, validating, disseminating, and adopting new rice technologies for adverse environments,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. “Undeniably, the platform has become a beacon of hope for resolving key problems in rice farming systems through strengthened partnership among the national agricultural research and extension staff, IRRI researchers, farmers, and extension workers.

 “The time, effort, and resources invested under CURE are now beginning to pay off with bountiful gains and achievements,” Alcala added. “The significant victories we have gained in technology research and development innovation should further inspire renewed commitments by national governments to strengthen global and regional partnerships in creating better options for resource-poor and climate change-vulnerable rice farmers in the region.”

Weathering El Niño with better preparations

posted Sep 9, 2016, 2:28 AM by Annette Tobias ‎(IRRI)‎

 With the worst of El Niño now over, there is a general sense of relief that one of the strongest weather events on record didn’t lead to food shortages and spikes in food prices, particularly for rice.

During the 2007-2008 food crisis when there was also an El Niño, albeit a milder one, rice prices on the world market more than doubled. This time, prices went up by a more manageable 10-15 per cent despite rice stocks dipping at their lowest in three years.

Everybody has apparently learned from the last food crisis, says Samarendu Mohanty, social sciences division head of the International Rice Research Institute, on the sidelines of the 15th Review, Planning and Steering Committee Meeting of the Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments held in Manila (24 May).

Massive information and warnings about a strong El Niño since early last year prepared governments for its onset. A number of countries increased their seed buffer stocking to ensure production normalises immediately once favourable weather returns.


But Mohanty says that the most important lesson from the 2007-2008 food crisis is not to panic. At that time, major rice-exporting countries such as India and Vietnam restricted rice exports, causing panic buying among rice-importing countries like the Philippines. Some countries purchased more than necessary, which drove up prices.

Advances in rice research and technology in the past decade have managed to save millions of farms worldwide, which otherwise would have been rendered unproductive and useless. More countries have now resorted to adopting salt-tolerant, drought- and heat-resistant rice varieties in unfavourable environments.

Mohanty, however, warns of complacency as politics and successive disasters could easily sway policies and affect supplies in the market. Moreover, he says research should continue to provide better varieties and more profitable returns to encourage farmers to continue planting rice.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s South-East Asia & Pacific desk.

Myanmar partners produce high-yielding salinity-tolerant rice varieties

posted Sep 8, 2016, 10:00 PM by Annette Tobias ‎(IRRI)‎

Myanmar has a predominantly agricultural economy based on rice production, with 32% of the total rice area composed of unfavorable lowland areas. Salinity-affected rice-farming areas account for 2% of these unfavorable areas—almost 110,000 hectares—spread across different states and regions. The largest salinity-affected area is the Ayeyarwaddy Delta (59,818 ha), followed by Rakhine (28,600 ha), Taintharyi (7,573 ha), Yangon (7,346 ha), Mon (5,346 ha), and Mandalay (190 ha).

Since 2011, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), through the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), has been working with Myanmar’s Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) to develop suitable rice varieties for these challenging areas. Their fruitful collaboration has resulted in successfully developing and distributing to farmers seeds of three salinity-tolerant varieties—Sangnakhan Sin Thwe Latt, Pyi Myanmar Sein, and Shwe Asean.

Still, a team of researchers from IRRI and DAR continues to work hand in hand to identify new salinity-tolerant varieties and enhance rice production in the salinity-affected rice areas of Myanmar.

Farmers choose their preferred varieties
Sixty farmers participated in evaluating new salinity-tolerant rice varieties in a farmer’s field in Meikhtilar District, Mandalay, in December 2015. Of the participants, 43 were males and 17 were females.

The participatory selection of varieties aimed to identify new high-yielding varieties that could adapt to the conditions in Mandalay, and to determine the role gender plays in choosing varieties. The activity was also conducted for the farmers themselves to select the best varieties, and become aware of the sustainable adoption of improved varieties in stress-prone environments.

All the nine tested varieties outyielded the check varieties, except for one variety, 11T 265. Among the tested varieties, IR11T 159 had the highest yield (5.1 t/ ha), followed by Salinas 15 (4.6 t/ ha) and IR77674-2B and IR11T256 (4.5 t/ha each).

However, the farmers’ first choice was Salinas 15, followed by IR11T 159 and then IR77674-2B.

The two highest-yielding varieties (IR11T 159 and Salinas 15) were more preferred by men than by women because these varieties produced more tillers and more spikelets per panicle, and had good plant height and higher grain yield. On the contrary, women liked IR77674-2B because of its long grains and higher yield.

Elite varieties perform well in different locations
One of the strategies used by CURE to promote cropping systems innovations and farmer-preferred varieties is demonstration activities with the help of local extension agents.

Six identified elite or farmer-preferred varieties were showcased through demonstration trials held in Yezin (with normal soil conditions), Myaung Mya (with salinity-affected soils), and Zalote and Kyaukse (with basic soil conditions) in June 2015. All tested varieties had 37.6–79.2% higher average yields than check variety Pokkali. Among the varieties, IR10 T102 had the highest average yield (5 t/ha), followed by IR10 T105 (4.7 t/ha) and Pyi Myanmar Sein (4.37 t/ha). Furthermore, these varieties not only had a higher yield but also adapted better than the other varieties in all locations.

IR10 T102 had the highest yield on Yezin and Zalote research farms, which had normal and basic soil conditions, respectively, and was 79% superior to Pokkali.

Newly released salinity-tolerant variety reigns supreme
A demonstration trial was held in farmer U Chit Hlaing’s own rice field in Meikhtilar District, Mandalay, to compare Pyi Myanmar Sein, a newly released salinity-tolerant variety, with four farmer-preferred varieties.

The four farmer-preferred varieties included Manawthukha (widely grown variety), Nga Sein (local farmer variety), VT 035 (currently existing variety), and Shwe Pyi Htay (early-maturing and high-yielding variety).

Among the five tested varieties, Pyi Myanmar Sein performed best and produced the highest yield (4.3 t/ ha). The farmer-preferred varieties had little to no yield. Many farmers from the village came to see the field demonstration and, upon seeing the successful results, asked U Chit Hlaing to share Pyi Myanmar Sein seeds for them to plant in the 2016 wet season. The farmers liked the new variety because of its tall height, higher yield, early maturity, and survival even in drought-prone conditions.

Because of the success of the demonstration trials, farmer U Chit Hlaing felt proud of and thankful for the strong partnership between CURE and DAR.

CURE-DAR team plans ahead
The team believes that, by doing a participatory varietal selection and seed multiplication each year, information on new elite varieties will be shared quickly with farmers, and their capacity will be developed. With the progress that they have achieved, the team plans to hold more participatory trials for farmers as well as a varietal improvement program to develop more salt-tolerant rice varieties. The team works tirelessly to develop and distribute new and improved rice varieties that will help Myanmar farmers in salinity-affected areas raise rice yields and quality, even in unfavorable conditions.

This story was originally published in CURE Matters Vol. 6, No.1.

Combating floods and droughts in Lao PDR with climate-smart rice

posted Sep 8, 2016, 9:57 PM by Annette Tobias ‎(IRRI)‎

In Lao PDR, more than 860,000 hectares of land are devoted to rice production, of which 760,951 hectares (88%) are composed of rainfed lowland rice. However, the rice industry experiences losses because of frequent floods that damage rice fields in the central region (10–29%) and across the country (8–21%). Floods usually occur from late August to late September.

The country is prone to drought, which damages and reduces yield from 10% to 50% in the central parts of the country. Drought occurs at any time during the growing season, with early drought in June to July, intermittent drought happening from August to September, and late drought in October.

These chronic problems of floods and droughts have prompted partners of CURE, led by Lao’s Agriculture Research Center (ARC), to showcase how to grow submergence- and drought-tolerant rice varieties grown using best management practices to farmers. The research team aimed to promote these improved varieties to increase rice productivity in flood-prone areas.

Identifying resilient varieties

During the 2015 wet season, 22 new aromatic rice varieties with traits that can withstand flood and drought were planted in a field trial at ARC. On the other hand, 19 aromatic, drought-, and flood-tolerant rice varieties were tested at the Xebangfai Agriculture Research and Development Center (XBFC).

Results from ARC showed that grain yield of the new aromatic, flood-, and drought-tolerant varieties ranged from 3.6 tons per hectare to 4.5 tons per hectare. Nine varieties outyielded the check variety, of which six produced 4.3–4.5 tons per hectare.

Four new varieties with good eating quality were then produced in the 2015-16 dry season, and their seeds will be provided to farmers to test in the 2016 wet season. Meanwhile, the varieties tested at XBFC yielded from 2 tons per hectare to 3.6 tons per hectare. Three aromatic varieties had higher yields than two commercial check varieties, although the differences were not significant. The seeds of four chosen varieties (three aromatic and one flood- and drought-tolerant variety) are now being produced at the Center.

Showing how to grow climate-smart rice

A high-quality harvest of improved rice varieties can only be fully reached if they are planted using best management practices. Thus, rice varieties that can survive floods were planted using best management practices and highlighted in field demonstration trials in eight villages from four districts. These were located in the provinces of Vientiane, Bolikhamxai, Khammouan, and Savannakhet.

Fifty-five farmers participated in the demonstration trials for them to observe and compare the differences in the varieties and familiarize themselves with applying best management practices.

The grain yield of all the tested improved varieties was higher than that of the local varieties. At all eight sites, farmers who used certified seed had a 2–79% increase in yield.

The increase in yield varied depending on the conditions in the fields. For example, the yield gap was high between XBF1, a flood-tolerant variety, and local farmers’ varieties in Nakua Nok Village because the rice field was completely flooded for 7 days. Thus, the yield of the farmers’ varieties was much lower than that of XBF1. And since the farmers did not undergo any training on rice seed production, the seeds that they used were of poor quality.

On the contrary, the yield gap was small between the flood-tolerant variety and local farmers’ varieties at sites where farmers attended training courses on rice seed production provided by government agencies and international and national nongovernment organizations (NGOs).

Multiplying seeds for farmers
Rice seed production in Lao PDR can be classified into formal and informal seed production systems. The formal seed production system starts from breeder seed to foundation seed, to registered seed, and, finally, certified seed. Breeder and foundation seeds are produced by ARC and the National Agriculture Forestry and Research Institute, while the certified seed is produced by state centers, private seed companies, and farmer seed groups. However, certified seed produced by these three groups covers only 12% of the total amount of seed needed for rice production in the country (51,807 tons). Certified seeds are usually sold to farmers’ groups that produce paddy for rice millers’ associations to process and export.

On the other hand, in the informal seed production system, good seed is produced by farmers who have been trained by international research institutes and NGOs, under the supervision of Lao’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. This approach provides 19% of the country’s required seed.

In the informal system, farmers can also produce seeds by themselves using their own knowledge and techniques, which accounts for 69% of the country’s required amount of rice seeds.

These two types of seed provide paddy for the local market and food security for the country. However, seeds produced by farmers are usually of low quality and do not meet standards. Furthermore, farmers’ seeds are not of uniform quality, so the quality of paddy is poor, which in turn leads to low milling and eating quality.

The Lao CURE team promotes climate-smart rice varieties for farmers to produce in unfavorable rice environments such as flood-prone plains. In the 2015 wet season, breeder and foundation seeds of three flood-tolerant varieties (XBF1, HXBF2, and HXFB3) were produced by ARC and XBFC. These varieties are now being promoted to farmers.

XBFC produced 1,000 kilograms each of registered seeds of varieties XBF1 and XBF2, which were then sold to a farmer seed production group for it to produce certified seeds. The seed production group then produced and sold 6,000 kilograms of the certified XBF2 seed to farmers and a private company to produce paddy in the 2015-16 dry season.

Unfortunately, low-quality farmer-produced seeds still provide the majority of the total seed needed by the country for rice production. Thus, training on proper rice seed production is crucial. More Lao farmers should be able to produce good quality seed to increase rice production and ensure food security.

To boost the quality of rice for export in the regional and international market, the Lao CURE team believes that all components should work together harmoniously. In their proposed scheme, research centers will produce breeder and foundation seeds while farmer seed groups will focus on certified seed production. Farmers’ associations will then produce paddy using certified seed and rice millers will need to develop standards for buying paddy from certified seed. In this scheme, it is crucial that the government support all the actors.

In the meantime, CURE and its Lao partners continue to develop rice varieties that can withstand flood and drought, and produce top-quality seeds for farmers, to be able to increase rice production and improve livelihoods in the flood-prone plains.

This story was originally published in CURE Matters Vol. 6, No.1.

"Farm-trepreneurs” crucial in creating a thriving heirloom rice industry

posted Sep 4, 2016, 6:27 AM by Annette Tobias ‎(IRRI)‎   [ updated Sep 4, 2016, 6:27 AM ]

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—Farm-trepreneurs, or farmers who can directly engage in global trade and value chains, are crucial in creating a thriving industry for heirloom rice, according to Dr. Digna Manzanilla, coproject leader of the Heirloom Rice Project (HRP).

“This will ensure that the benefits from value addition to the product will benefit most farmers who should be the main actors in the value chain,” says Manzanilla who is also the leader in attempting to link farmers in the Cordillera Region in northern Luzon to the value chain. “Farmer participation in the value chain will also help preserve the region’s cultural heritage.”

Heirloom rice is currently attracting the interest of numerous hotel and restaurant managers who are including the unique delicacy on their menus. Online food stores are also showing great interest in selling the distinctive rice product. The big challenge now is using science and partnership to enhance farmers’ business knowledge and skills.

The farmers stand to gain more economic benefits if they have the capacity to contribute to the setting up, organization, and management of their own businesses. These farmers are the direct beneficiaries of HRP, which is an initiative of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

“It is important that the heirloom rice farmers do more than just produce their rice,” says Manzanilla. “It is essential that they have the ability to engage in the business end as well. They must know how to deal with the services of consolidators or other traders and to negotiate and achieve a competitive advantage as a collective body.”

Farmers in the provinces of Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Benguet have formed cooperatives in their bid to improve and capture the value of their heirloom rice by producing high-quality products that meet local and global demand, according to Manzanilla.

On 8-9 August, 31 farmers representing their newly-formed cooperative in Kalinga and Mountain provinces attended a workshop, Entrepreneurial and negotiation skills development training for heirloom rice farmers in the Cordillera. The activity was coordinated by IRRI and DA-Cordillera Administrative Region with the DTI Regional Office in the region.

HRP has partnered with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industries (DTI), through the Bureau of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development, to build the capacities of the farmers’ cooperatives in maintaining viable and profitable businesses for their treasured heirloom rice varieties. This leads to the creation of true farm-trepreneurs. Farmers’ groups fall under the DTI micro enterprises that can contribute to gross value added; where the micro, small, and medium enterprises contribute 35.7% to gross value added.

The next component of the training will be on 22-23 August for the farmers’ cooperatives in Benguet and Ifugao Provinces. The objective of this training is to enhance farmers’ local capacities to produce, process, and market their products using the value chain development approach adopted by the HRP.

“We cannot rest on our laurels by enhancing only the farmers’ productivity,” says Manzanilla. “If farmers are to truly benefit from research carried out in development projects, they need to have the ability to link their surplus production to both local and international markets. If they don’t, it will only be others in the value chain of this rapidly growing market who will take advantage of the huge opportunities. The farmers will lose a unique chance to significantly improve their livelihood.”

Myrna Pablo, DTI regional director, expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the DA and IRRI to link with their institution and program. ”This is one potent avenue for convergence of government programs in the Philippines to support our heirloom rice farmers,” Pablo said. “This is a soft-push to recognize the farmers’ contribution to social equity and inclusive growth. DTI is utilizing the Go Negosyo Act No. 10644 that is designed to bring government services closer to the small businesses through the establishment of small enterprises.”

The HRP is a results-for-development (R4D) model that is applying the concepts, principles, frameworks, and scope of market-based productivity. The project aims to apply these concepts to lead to the ultimate contribution of IRRI and DA in sustainable socioeconomic transformation among communities producing heirloom rice in the Cordillera

CURE participated in the 7th IFAD Philippines Gender Network meeting (IPGN)

posted Aug 8, 2016, 5:56 AM by Annette Tobias ‎(IRRI)‎   [ updated Aug 8, 2016, 5:58 AM ]

Dr. Digna Manzanilla, CURE Coordinator, attended the 7th IFAD Philippines Gender Network meeting (IPGN) held in Pinan, Zamboanga del Norte. The network is an avenue for IFAD sponsored projects in the Philippines (grants and investment projects) to meet and discuss gender related issues and concerns affecting project implementation. Annually, the assembly is participated in by all project gender focal systems/persons from different agencies involved. This year's host was the Project CONVERGE of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The theme was on gender equity and women empowerment through application of gender tools and mechanisms for rural development. The participants agreed on concrete actions to improve gender mainstreaming in their programmes/projects.

Climate-smart rice technologies to boost Philippine rice production

posted May 27, 2016, 12:02 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 27, 2016, 3:46 AM ]

Dr. Calixto Protacio of PhilRice gives a talk.
<Dr. Calixto Protacio of PhilRice gives a talk.

Cultivating climate-smart rice varieties in unfavorable environments could boost local rice production, says Edilberto de Luna, Philippine agriculture assistant secretary for operations (photo left). De Luna said this during a meeting with rice department heads and scientists from 10 Asian countries on rainfed rice farming areas that often experience low productivity, poverty, and hunger.

The discussion took part during the 15th Annual Steering Committee Meeting of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), 24-26 May, held at The Bellevue Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), CURE, a “network of networks,” focuses on rice farming systems where low and unstable yields are common and extensive poverty 
and food security prevail. Climate-smart rice can withstand the ill effects of drought, flooding, and salinity that pose great threats to rainfed rice areas.

“Around 27% of the Philippine land area is rainfed,” said Dr. Yoichiro Kato (photo below), an agronomist at the International Rice Research
Dr. Yoichi Kato, workgroup leader of Drought and Submergence workgroups.
Institute (IRRI). “Rainfed agriculture sustains many farmers in the country and contributes about 26% of the Philippines’ total rice production.”


The contribution of these varieties to the country's food security is even more crucial because the Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to Dr. Calixto Protacio, executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). “To date, the Philippines, a member country of CURE, has released 19 drought-tolerant rice varieties for the rainfed lowlands, four for the uplands, and 15 for saline-prone environments.”


Aside from being more resilient, climate-smart rice varieties have other outstanding qualities.
                                                                                                                                       Dr. Yoichiro Kato, workgroup leader of Drought and Submergence workgroups
                                 .
“The recently released drought-tolerant rice variety, NSIC Rc282, yielded up to 7.9 tons per hectare during the 2016 dry season  in an on-farm trial in Cuyapon, Nueva Ecija,”  said Dr. Aurora Corales, supervising science research specialist at PhilRice. Farmers also liked NSIC Rc282 because it has more tillers, long panicles, and less grain shattering.”

De Luna said that the government will ensure the availability of seeds of climate-smart rice varieties and will promote their use in less favorable areas through informal seed systems such as community seed banks.

Lakbay Binhi is another way of making these climate-smart varieties more accessible to farmers, according to Protacio. Lakbay Binhi (traveling seeds) is a project that brings high-quality seeds to Filipino farmers through mobile seed centers. It was pilot-tested at three sites affected by Typhoon Lando (Koppu).
              
“The adoption of technologies in the country is more of a bottom-up approach,” said Dr. Digna Manzanilla, IRRI social scientist and CURE cDr. Digna Manzanilla detailing adoption of farming technologies.oordinator (photo at left). “CURE involves potential or actual seed growers within the community to ensure good seed supply. Agricultural technicians conduct village-level demonstration trials and technologies are learned from one farmer to another.”

CURE is also helping 100 million farm households dependent on rice in unfavorable environments in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. 

“Indeed, CURE provides an integrated platform to help the poor farmers in unfavorable rice areas in Asia by creating, validating, disseminating, and adopting new rice technologies for adverse environments,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. “Undeniably, the platform has become a beacon of hope for resolving key problems in rice farming systems through strengthened partnership among the national agricultural research and extension staff, IRRI researchers, farmers, and extension workers.

 “The time, effort, and resources invested under CURE are now beginning to pay off with bountiful gains and achievements,” Alcala added. “The significant victories we have gained in technology research and development innovation should further inspire renewed commitments by national governments to strengthen global and regional partnerships in creating better options for resource-poor and climate change-vulnerable rice farmers in the region.”



15th Review, Planning, and Steering Committee Meeting

posted May 20, 2016, 1:43 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 27, 2016, 1:06 AM ]


https://storify.com/RiceResearch/cure-15th-review-planning

24-27 May 2016
The Bellevue Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines

The event was a venue to discuss prevailing issues and interventions to help poor farmers in fragile environments who are mostly susceptible to the ill effects of climate change. It was attended by some IRRI senior management, leading scientists, and key officials including rice department heads and senior scientists from 10 Asian countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Bringing the Green Revolution in marginal areas that are most susceptible to climate change. The first Green Revolution focused its efforts on making irrigated lands productive. But, increasing population and diminishing agricultural lands call for a vision of converting idle rice lands particularly those that are prone to drought, flooding, or saline intrusion, and the marginal uplands into green lands. The target is to be able to provide rice production that is bountiful enough to meet food requirement and be a profitable livelihood of smallholder farmers in Asia.

Almost half of the rice areas in Asia are not irrigated but rainfed. These rainfed lands are home to about a hundred million poor farmers who depend on rice farming for their livelihood. These areas have low productivity (1.0 – 2.5 tons per hectare) and vulnerable to different forces of climatic changes such as drought that can reduce harvests as much as 40% or even more depending on severity or flooding that can wipe out all potential rice produce.

These unfavorable rice areas also exist in the rice baskets of Asia—the Deltas, Red River, Northern Vietnam, in the Mekong Delta, SiaoPao, Ayeyarwaddy, among others. Since these rice baskets are susceptible to flooding and salinity, and even to drought, production in these areas will have an implication to global rice supply.

Are the technologies reaching the poor farmers in Asia? The commitment of and partnerships among the national governments and non-government institutions, through the CURE, have worked together in bringing climate-smart rice varieties, among other technological advances, to farmers. Through several technologies and interventions, CURE has created a difference in the lives of poor farmers who have adopted climate-smart varieties and appropriate management practices.

Now even rice farmers in marginal uplands, such as those in the Cordilleras are making their rice farming profitable. Their rice produce can command a premium price both in the local and international market. The second green revolution, which aims to include those that were neglected by the earlier Green Revolution, is here and continuing.
May 23, Monday
Arrival of participants

(For the NARES partners from Southeast Asia, additional information: please attend the Dinner-Planning Meeting of Working Groups at 6:30 pm (venue at the hotel, to be announced) )

May 24, Tuesday

Participants of the 15th Review, Planning, and Steering Committee Meeting of CURE.
Participants of the 15th Review, Planning, and Steering Committee Meeting of CURE.

Opening session

 TIMETITLE/ACTIVITY  KEY PERSON LINK
8:00-8:30  Opening remarks and introduction of participants

 Dr. Digna Manzanilla, 
CURE Coordinator and Social Scientist, IRRI

   Presentations folder   
 8:30-8:40 Welcome remarks Dr. Calixto Protacio

Executive Director,
PhilRice and 2016 CURE Meeting host
    Presentations folder   
 8:40-8:50 Introduction to the CURE meeting:

Objectives and highlights of events

- Sharing of learning from related projects in fragile rice ecosystems/identifying areas for collaboration

- Highlights of accomplishments of IFAD CURE 2 for Year 2015

- Plans for the second year (2016-2017), preparation of the Annual Workplan and Budget (AWPB)

- Information session on latest developments in rice sector in relation to rural transformation

- Field visit / observational tour for learning in the community

- 15th CURE Steering Committee (SC) Meeting
 Dr. Digna Manzanilla    Presentations folder   
 8:50-9:00 Message from IRRI Dr. Jacqueline Hughes
Deputy Director General for Research, IRRI
    Presentations folder   
 9:00-9:15 Inspirational MessageDr. Proceso J. Alcala

Secretary, Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippines

[To be given by Assistant Secretary Edilberto Luna, on his behalf]
    Presentations folder   
 9:15-9:30 Rethinking policies and programs for rural transformation: trends, opportunities, and challenges for farmers in unfavorable rice environments Dr. Fabrizio Bresciani,

Regional Economist, IFAD-
Asia and the Pacific Region

[on Video]
    Presentations folder   
 9:30-9:45 Market updates and potential areas and opportunities for expansion in less favorable rice environments in AsiaDr. Samarendu Mohanty

Head, IRRI Social Sciences Division and Program Leader, GRiSP, IRRI
    Presentations folder   
 9:45-10:00 Sustainable farming systems for rainfed lowlands and upland environments: opportunities for collaboration among partners Dr. David Johnson

Head, CESD and Program Leader, GRiSP, IRRI
        Presentations folder   
 10:00-10:20 Keynote Address:

“National rice research and development program for food security and poverty reduction in unfavorable areas in the Philippines”
 Dr. Edilberto de Luna

Assistant Secretary for
Operations,  Department of Agriculture (DA)
        Presentations folder   
 10:20-10:40 Official photo session and coffee break See above




May 25, Wednesday

Dr. Wassman discussing climate-change efforts.
Dr. Wassman discussing climate-change efforts.


Continuation of discussions, particulary Workgroup 5: Climate Change as headed by Dr. R. Wassmann. In the afternoon, planning activity per workgroup and meeting of the Steering Committee commenced.




May 26, Thursday

Participants and farmers on the mini-program before going on to the plots.
Participants and farmers on the mini-program before going on to the plots.

A field visit to farms in San Ildefonso City, Bulacan Province commenced. Later in the evening, participants were treated to a dinner featuring Heirloom Rice at Chef Jessie Sincioco's 100 Revolving Restaurant in Libis, Quezon City.

Participants posing with Chef Jessie Sincioco
Participants posing with Chef Jessie Sincioco



Indonesia to disseminate stress-tolerant varieties and modern practices in less favorable rice areas

posted Mar 31, 2016, 2:22 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 31, 2016, 2:23 AM ]



BOGOR, Indonesia—"No matter how many varieties we develop, if farmers do not plant them, our efforts to raise productivity in suboptimal rice environments will have no meaning."

This was the message of Hasil Sembiring, director general of the Directorate of Food Crops, Ministry of Agriculture in Indonesia, during a consolidation-workshop on upscaling technological innovation in suboptimal rice environments of Indonesia, held 11 March.

The activity, the first ever held in Indonesia, aimed to focus efforts on reaching out to poor farmers in suboptimal environments. In the past, the government had addressed productivity mainly in irrigated rice areas that comprise nearly 60% of the country’s total rice production area.  Recently, the government has directed its resources to meet its target seed production for 2016-17 and it has included rainfed lowland (27.7%), swampy (8.8%), and upland (5.3%) areas.

Sembiring, a former director of the Indonesia Center for Rice Research (ICRR) and steering committee member of theConsortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), has been calling for increased production to improve the livelihood of farmers severely affected by climatic variability.  He has strongly supported efforts to develop climate-resilient varieties and community seed banks. 

The workshop, held at the IPB International Convention Center in Bogor, was organized by the directorate in cooperation with ICRR and CURE. The purpose was to speed up the delivery of suitable seeds of newly released stress-tolerant rice varieties and the associated best management practices specifically suited for unfavorable environments in upland, swampy, rainfed, and flood-prone areas.

"CURE's role is to catalyze and encourage national governments to foster the scaling up of technological innovation developed out of the current partnerships," said Dr. Digna Manzanilla, CURE coordinator.

One workshop  recommendation is to further strengthen collaboration among ICRR, the Indonesian Swampland Agriculture Research Institute (ISARI)and CURE to develop best management practices.

Ali Jamil, incumbent ICRR head, expressed his confidence in the appropriateness and readiness of technologies intended to raise productivity in Indonesia’s suboptimal environments.

These appropriate technologies include varieties; soil, water, weed, pest, and disease management; fertilizer recommendations; and postharvest practices. Also, a demo for the Seed Multiplication Program, which is targeting 2 million hectares, will be pursued via "1000 self-sufficient seed villages" (or DMB, an Indonesian acronym) to encourage and increase seed production for upland varieties in selected provinces. DMB will financially support the purchase of starter and foundation seeds from the Assessment Institute for  Agricultural  Technology while the directorate seed program will use starter and extension seeds for food crops.

The seed production unit of the Field School of Food Kedaulatan, integrated with the DMB, ICRR, and the Directorate of Seed, has started seed multiplication of stress-tolerant rice varieties to support the effort in 2016.

Zaini Zulkifli, representing the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Indonesia, has been instrumental in making the consultation possible. He highlighted some technologies such as seeds, machinery, crop establishment, and crop and natural resources management. Casiana Vera Cruz and Yoichiro Kato, working group leaders of CURE, also joined the consultation.

A coordination meeting to re-examine the strategies for seed multiplication to develop working mechanisms and a timeline for producing seeds for the coming season was set for September 2016, according to Dr. Nandang Sunandar, director for cereals at the Directorate of Food Crops. 



Attending the workshop (photos) were representatives of the Directorate of Food CropsDirectorate of SeedDirectorate of Cereal Crops, Indonesia Center for Food Crops Research and Development, Indonesian Center for Agricultural TechnologyAssessment and Development, ICRRIRRI, and CURE. Also represented were the Swampland Agriculture Research Institute and representatives of the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology in Riau, South Sumatra, Banten, Lampung, and West Java as well as local government units of South Sumatra, Lampung, Banten, West Java, East Java, andSouth Kalimantan

Heirloom and stress-tolerant rice varieties presented at IFAD review

posted Mar 15, 2016, 1:43 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 15, 2016, 1:50 AM ]

Dr. Digna Manzanilla explains CURE Phase 2 and Heirloom Rice Project to the audience.


BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Heirloom rice farmers of the Cordillera Administrative Region are now better linked with both local and international markets that will 

provide them with higher income opportunities.


This is one of the major project achievements for 2015 reported by Dr. Digna Manzanilla, coordinator of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), and Annette Tobias, assistant scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), during the 8th Annual Country Programme Review by the International Fund for the Agricultural Development (IFAD). To support heirloom rice farmers within self-help groups, CURE through the Heirloom Rice Project (HRP), conducted a training on business planning .



Manzanilla (photo) highlighted other significant project accomplishments and activities such as testing and validating stress-tolerant rice varieties, local capacity enhancement, and knowledge management in partnership with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). The writeshops on upscaling innovations were also among CURE’s main accomplishments for 2015 that she presented.


With this year’s theme, Assessing the IFAD-PH Country Experience Towards Innovative Development Models, the event aimed at sharing the government’s expectations on the contribution of loans and projects towards realizing the Philippine Development Plan 2011-16. Present during the event, held on 26-28 January, were 47 representatives from 12 IFAD loan and project grants. Other participants came from government agencies such as the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Agrarian Reform.


Participants visited IFAD-funded project sites such as Cattubo and Abiang in Benguet under the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP2). During this guided field visit, the participants were able to interact with the implementers, partners, and project beneficiaries.


They also visited the rehabilitated Calasipan-Apanberang-Mongoto farm-to-market road, the organic garden of the livelihood investment groups, the reforestation and agroforestry site, and the coffee processing center of the Abiang Community Multipurpose Cooperative.


CURE, one of the projects funded by IFAD, aims to help 100 million poor farm households in Asia who depend on rice. CURE is coordinated by IRRI in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and PhilRice.


CHARMP2 works to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of rural communities in the highlands of the Cordillera Administrative Region through community mobilization, watershed conservation, agriculture and agribusiness development, promotion of income-generating activities, and the development of rural infrastructure. CHARMP2 forged a partnership with CURE to strengthen its development interventions and enable CURE to introduce and extend technological options over a wider area.


Syndicated article from the IRRI News site, as written by Ms. Lanie Reyes.

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