Thursday, August 28, 2014

Invitation to attend IRC2014

Dr. Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) invites the global rice community to participate in the upcoming 4th International Rice Congress (IRC2014) on 27 October-1 November 2014, at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) in Bangkok, Thailand.

The IRC2014 theme—Rice for the World—highlights IRC as the largest regular conference and exhibition of the global rice scientific research community and industry.  About 2,000 rice scientists and rice industry players from all over the world are expected to participate in IRC2014.  Thousands of Thai rice entrepreneurs, government officials, extension workers, and farmers will also visit the industry exhibits.

The roster of speakers include Ms. Marie Haga, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust; Dr. Thomas Reardon, a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University; Mr. Vichai Sriprasert, Honorary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association and CEO of Riceland International Ltd.; Dr. John Colbourne of the Environmental Genomics in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Mr. Mark Lynas, environmental campaigner, journalist, and author.

Held under the patronage of the Royal Government of Thailand, IRC2014 is organized by IRRI and Kenes MP Asia Pte. Ltd.

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UPLB honors Julian Lapitan for establishing excellent relationship between IRRI and its partners

Julian Lapitan, the Partnership manager of IRRI, has been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award for International Service and Extension by the UPLB College of Agriculture Alumni Association. The award will be given during the Alumni Fellowship and Awarding Ceremony on 9 October 2014.

Through his extensive work, which spans 27 years, Mr. Lapitan is instrumental in developing and maintaining excellent and productive relationship between IRRI and various national agricultural research and extension systems and other partners in Asia and Africa.

He has received several awards from various countries for his contribution to rural and agricultural development. Among his many achievements in international services and cooperation includes an ADB funded-action research project that improved postharvest crop management, rice biomass utilization, and rice farming systems diversification at the village level. This led to enhanced income and employment in the Asian rice-based farming communities.

Moreover, Mr. Lapitan managed several IRRI projects that provided relevant human capacity building in the respective research and development systems in Bhutan, North Korea, and the Republic of Korea. He also served as IRRI representative to the Technical Management Committee of the Regional Rice Research Center in Iran and was involved in various project development and management in different capacities.

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Green Super Rice Project organizes training in enhancing the crop management skills of Indonesian researchers and extension agents

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Indonesian Center for Rice Research (ICRR) jointly organized a Green Super Rice (GSR) training for Indonesian researchers and extension agents in Sukamandi, Indonesia on 21-22 August.  The primary objective of the activity was to enhance the skills of extension agents in crop management practices for newly identified GSR cultivars for varietal release and effectively transfer this knowledge to farmers in target regions in Indonesia.

“Green super rice concept of producing more yields from lesser chemical and water inputs in an environmentally sustainable manner is exactly what ICRR is currently pursuing for its rice farmers,” Dr. Made Jana Mejaya, director general of ICRR, said in his opening remarks.

Jauhar Ali, senior plant breeder and IRRI-GSR Project Leader, presented the current status of GSR project in Asia and East and Southern Africa while Dr. Untung Susanto, GSR project coordinator at ICRR, gave a status report on the project in Indonesia and the performance of GSR cultivars in the country.

“An additional ton of rice in the rain-fed and irrigated lowlands will change the livelihoods of millions of resource-poor farmers by providing them with a sustained income source,” said Dr. Ali.  “It could set them free from the clutches of poverty and put them on the road to prosperity.”

The 30 participants were trained on site specific nutrient management, integrated pest management, and inbred seed production tools and strategies by Dr. Zulkifli Zaini, Dr. Rahmini, and Sri Wahyuni, respectively. Avigail Cosico of Biometrics and Breeding Informatics-IRRI provided training on two newly developed IRRI softwares: Plant Breeding Tools and Statistical Tools for Agricutural Research. 

Each course participant is expected to train a minimum of 100 farmers.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bio-environmental engineer at Young Researchers' Lunch for August

The Young Researchers' Lunch for August hosted Dennis Baldocchi, professor of Biometeorology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.  Dr. Baldocchi, who was visiting IRRI for the AsiaFlux workshop, is an expert in the study of the interactions between life and its surrounding environment. His research at the Biometeorology Lab includes seasonally flooded peatlands and rice paddies with access to shallow water tables.

Hyun-Hwoi Ku, Samir Topno, James Quilty, Jean Rodrigue Sangare, Abraham Shaibu, and Abdourasmane Konate attended the event.  The group engaged in an active discussion about rice irrigation, fertilizer, and straw management practices that can affect gas emissions.

The Young Researchers' Lunch is a monthly meeting for NRS and AFSTRI scientists who are in the early stages of their career. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for discussions with senior scientists on a range of topics including science and career paths.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CCAFS-SEA kick​s​ off first media workshop on how to report about climate change with impact

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security ​ - Southeast Asia​ (CCAFS​-SEA​) held ​its first media seminar-workshop on reporting about climate change on 14-15 August at ​Splash Mountain, Los Banos, Laguna and ​IRRI headquarters. The workshop focused on the importance of having an accurate and science-based understanding of climate change, agriculture, and food security in reporting environmental issues more effectively.

​"CCAFS’ strategic communication objective is getting climate change into ​ ​agriculture policies and agriculture into climate change policies​," stated Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, CCAFS-SEA's regional program leader.

 " Through the help of the media, we hope to engage policymakers and key stakeholders ​to include agriculture in the climate change and agriculture ​ ​agenda and to mobilize stakeholders for collective action toward mitigation and adaptation​," he furthers​.

​The workshop also featured climate change mitigation ​initiatives by IRRI, International Potato Center ​​, World Agroforestry Centre, and WorldFish.​ Media partners also shared insights and tips on how to package climate change information to effectively convey desired messages to the public.​

Around 30 Philippine journalists and media professionals attended the workshop comprising the broadcast, print and online media.  ​

A first of a series, the media seminar-workshop will also be organized in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

CCAFS is a strategic research partnership of the CGIAR and Future Earth. It is led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) globally, and IRRI in Southeast Asia. ​

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Monday, August 18, 2014

A study on bats begins at IRRI

By Trina Leah Mendoza

IRRI researchers got their first taste of studying bats in rice field ecosystems in August as part of a collaborative research with Lawrence University, USA, and the University of the Philippine Los BaƱos (UPLB). The preliminary research aims to find out: (1) which bat species are foraging in IRRI rice fields, (2) whether bat and insect activity vary throughout the night, and (3) do Asian housebats (Scotophilus kuhlii), which are abundant in the Philippines, consume rice pests.

Jodi Sedlock, associate professor of biology at Lawrence University, who has been studying mammals in the Philippines since 1996, is interested in finding out if bats contribute to insect pest management, and in what way. Dr. Sedlock worked with researchers from the Animal Biology Division of UPLB along with research teams led by Dr. Alex Stuart, postdoctoral fellow with the Closing Rice Yield Gaps with Reduced Environmental Footprint Project, and Dr. Finbarr Horgan, IRRI entomologist, respectively.

The researchers sampled nocturnal insects and simultaneously monitored bat activity. They captured bats foraging over rice
fields and in nearby buildings, and collected fecal samples to check if their diet corresponded with the insects in the fields.

“We were pleasantly surprised to capture an orange-fingered Myotis, a beautiful but rarely captured bat, foraging over the IRRI rice fields.” Dr. Sedlock shares. “This finding underscores how little we know about rice ecosystems with respect to bats."

Results from the 2-week study will help guide further research and design of a longer-term project and in refining the methodology. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Dr. Sedlock. “I suspect that, as sampling continues, there will be more bat surprises coming from the rice fields of IRRI.”

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Friday, August 15, 2014

C4 Rice postdoc researcher wins best poster at New Phytologist symposium

Shanta Karki, a postdoc researcher at C4 Rice Center, was awarded the best poster during the New Phytologist next generation scientists on 29–30 July at John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich, UK.

Dr. Karki’s poster, Creation of C4 rice through genetic engineering, summarized the progress made by the Center in converting the photosynthetic system in rice to the more efficient, supercharged C4 system used by maize.

The New Phytologist symposium provides researchers in the early stages of their careers the opportunity to share their work with their peers and outstanding international scientists and make great strides towards improving their future prospects.

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