Friday, July 3, 2015

Climate project partners map inroad to adoption of water-saving technology

Stakeholders of the Paddy Rice Component discuss and visualize paths of influence and support towards AWD outscaling.
HANOI, Vietnam – IRRI’s climate change and policy research is now an insight closer to adoption in Vietnam of a technology that helps cut down water use and methane emissions from rice production.

Farmers and representatives of women’s and farmers’ unions, irrigation service providers, and the Vietnamese government’s research, agriculture, and irrigation arms in Hai Duong Province gathered in Hanoi last week to discuss how the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology may be more widely used by farmers in the province and, eventually, elsewhere in Vietnam, a top producer and exporter of rice globally.

Using a tool called NetMap, the 15 participants identified relevant stakeholders, visualized the various types of relationships among them, and rated the magnitude of influence each stakeholder had on the use of AWD in Vietnam, in two paths: farmer adoption, and government policy to this effect. The exercise enabled the participants to identify the most important stakeholders to engage as well as what they will need to increase their support for outscaling of AWD.

Participants were selected from among partners in Hai Duong Province, as AWD is already well in use in An Lam, a village in the province’s Nam Sach District. Actual experiences of farmers who have used AWD, as well as of agricultural research and extension officers and irrigation managers that support these farmers, fed very well into the discussion that took place.

The NetMap workshop was facilitated by Tony Lambino, head of communication at IRRI, and held on 25 June 2015 at the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD). It was organized by Tran Dai Nghia and Lien Huong Do, both of IPSARD, and Vu Duong Quynh of the Institute for Agricultural Environment.

The workshop was a joint activity of the Paddy Rice Component of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), represented by Bjoern Ole Sander, IRRI climate scientist; and the Policy Information and Response Platform on Climate Change and Rice in the ASEAN and its member countries (PIRCCA), both led by IRRI.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Philippines: Conservation agriculture in South Asia highlighted at climate-smart agriculture workshop

The turbo happy seeder is a planter capable of directly drilling in the field while retaining surface residue and without any soil disturbance, thus,
following the principles of conservation agriculture. Photo from Parvinder Singh, CIMMYT. 

Experts have become concerned about the long-term sustainability of conventional tillage crop production systems. In the past decades, a variety of economic, environmental, and social problems have been plaguing these practices, including labor shortages, diminishing water and energy resources, deteriorating soil health, decreasing farm profitability, and other issues related to climate change.

Conservation agriculture (CA), on the other hand, can potentially address the challenges to the future of agriculture and food security. CA is a set of soil management practices that includes minimal soil disturbance, soil residue management, and crop diversification. These practices were presented during the regional workshop on climate-smart agriculture technologies in Asia on 2-4 June in Muntinlupa City.

Increased soil tillage or ploughing results in poor soil health or soil degradation. To keep soil disturbance to a minimum, zero-tillage technologies such as the laser leveller, turbo happy seeder, and zero-till relay planters, were developed and tested in selected sites in the Indo-Gangetic Plains in northern India.

Research on the energy dynamics of wheat production under different tillage techniques demonstrate that zero-tillage technologies have the highest energy-use efficiency and the lowest consumption of water and fuel. There is also evidence that zero- tillage technologies produce lower emission of greenhouse gases.

“To ensure that these zero-till technologies are farmer-friendly and will be disseminated easily, we tested these technologies through on-farm trials at the Bourlaug Institute for South Asia,” says Parvinder Singh, a research scientist from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. “They were also tested in farmer-participatory trials in selected climate-smart villages.”

The farm machinery needed for zero-tillage need not be costly, according to Dr. Singh who leads the research on climate-smart agricultural technologies such as zero-tillage with residue retention, relay planting, water- and nutrient-smart practices. Dr. Singh’s team worked with local manufacturers in developing affordable machines that will be readily available for market distribution once they have been tested. 

Philippines: Climate conference centers on “smart agriculture”

Workshop participants learned about various CSA technologies that are being practiced in Asia.

Multiple challenges beset the agriculture sector and extreme changes in the global climate aggravate the situation. Addressing these challenges in “climate-smart” ways to provide food for the ballooning population, which is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, was the impetus behind the Workshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Technologies.

“There is an unhappy marriage at the moment between agriculture and climate change; increasing temperature causes drastic negative impacts on crops around the globe,” explains Dr. Andy Jarvis, flagship leader of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). “Agriculture scientists need to support the drive towards CSA to mainstream productivity, adaptation, and mitigation into the next generation of our technology.”

In a nutshell, the CSA approach supports local and global efforts for sustainably using agricultural systems to achieve food and nutritional security for all people at all time. In this effort, local and national governments and communities should be treated as co-owners and partners in building and implementing CSA knowledge and technologies.

CSA is not just about technologies and practices but about crops, livestock and fish, in the landscape, food system, and support services. It anchors on three overarching pillars of 1) improving agricultural productivity; 2) climate resilience through adaptation to climate variability; and 3) mitigation or the reduction of greenhouse gas emission from agriculture activities.

During the field tour, Dr. Abdel Ismail, principal scientist at IRRI, explains the flood and salt tolerant varieties developed by IRRI.

With support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and CCAFS co-organized the activity held in 2-4 June 2015 in Muntinlupa City. UNEP’s climate change expert Julia Steinfeld said the activity, the third in a series of CSA workshops that UNEP has supported, intended to provide an avenue to facilitate technology transfer, promote institutional and technical knowledge exchange on CSA, and foster regional collaboration.

About 80 participants from 16 countries across Asia shared and discussed CSA technologies during the workshop. There was also a poster session featuring CSA technologies being practiced in participating countries. In addition, the participants visited IRRI’s demonstration sites and laboratories where the Institute developed its CSA technologies over the years. Identify tools, policies, and mechanisms that facilitate and accelerate the upscaling and outscaling of the technologies were discussed during the visit.

The Workshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture Technologies outputs will be used to develop climate financing proposals from the participating countries.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Asian experience in climate-smart agriculture to be discussed in workshop

Farming communities are threatened by various climatic stresses and will thus benefit from knowledge
of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices from and for various landscapes and ecosystems.

To promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in Asia and get the global expertise in one place, a regional workshop on CSA technologies and climate change will be held on 2-4 June 2015 in Manila, Philippines.

CSA is an approach that helps guide the transformation and reorientation of agricultural systems so that these can support development and food security more effectively and sustainably under a changing climate. It is an important step in enabling smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change while maintaining or improving productivity and sustainability of their farms.

The workshop is being organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) jointly with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Government representatives from 16 countries in Asia and agriculture and climate change experts are expected to participate.

The workshop aims to (A) present features and costs and benefits of select CSA technologies; (B) identify cases of effective implementation of policies, tools, and mechanisms; (C) identify assistance and services needed to accelerate CSA upscaling and outscaling in participating countries; and (D) draft concept notes for submission to the Climate Technology Center Network (CTCN).

‟The workshop is also an opportunity to gather people who actually work on CSA, or climate change in general, to share their experiences on that aspect and also to raise the awareness of major challenges that we need to look into,” said Valerien Pede, IRRI economist and scientist.

The 3-day workshop includes an introduction to CSA, various climate-related topics, a panel discussion, and a tour of research facilities and demonstration trials at the IRRI headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

Participating countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka from South Asia; Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam from Southeast Asia; and Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia from Central and East Asia.

Full program

(Written by Rezza Mae Tolinero, IRRI and CCAFS SEA intern)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bangladesh plans for 'alternate wetting and drying' outscaling

Workshop participants draw national strategy for AWD outscaling in Bangladesh

A national work plan to out-scale a water-saving technology called “alternate wetting and drying” (AWD) was developed at a workshop held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 20-21 April 2015.

Led by IRRI scientists Björn Ole Sander and Michael Sheinkman, together with Professor Saidur Rahman of the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), the workshop was organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). IRRI leads the initiative, with funding from the United Nations Environment Programme, under the auspices of the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS), of which IRRI is a member-Center.   

Several national public sector and international organizations shared their experiences and evaluations of AWD. AWD is a technology that will help farmers adapt to water scarcity, as well as reduce the carbon footprint of the country’s rice sector.

The CCAC Paddy Rice Component coordinates project activities in Vietnam and Bangladesh. Another CGIAR center, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) coordinates research activities in Colombia.  This component conducts AWD suitability assessments in target countries, as well as develop information kiosks with relevant and easily-understandable information on rice production and mitigation options.

For more information visit:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Climate Smart Villages

Source: AsiaLife Magazine

When it comes to climate change, Vietnam is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. Sarah Piccini discovers how Delta farmers are working to safeguard their crops and prevent further damage to the environment. Photo by Vinh Dao.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

ICTs for scaling dissemination of research results to increase technology adoption and farmers’ income

Information delivery through ICT is faster, cheaper and scalable.

“Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) make a big difference in accelerating impact of research and improving extension services,” stated knowledge exchange and ICT expert Paolo Ficarelli at the Asia Rice Science Week of the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRISP) at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters from 26-30 January.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Philippines: IRRI expert presents farmer-friendly technologies to help reduce carbon footprint of rice production

IRRI has been doing research on rice straw management to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Bjoern Ole Sander, a candidate for scientist to support IRRI's climate change research, presented several options to reduce the carbon footprint of rice in a special seminar on January 14 at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters.