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Swiss Agency for Development

and Cooperation
Irrigated Rice Research Consortium Rice Research for Intensifed Production and Prosperity in Lowland Ecosystems
Volume 9, Number 1, 25th issue January-June 2014
www.corigap.irri.org
R
ice scientists, extension specialists,
and other key partners from
six countries gathered on 18-21
February to discuss the progress and plans
of the Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia
with Reduced Environmental Footprint
(CORIGAP) Project.
CORIGAP is funded by the Swiss
Agency for Development and Cooperation
(SDC).
Tis meeting is important, as the
CORIGAP Project aims to increase
productivity through new technologies
while diversifying sources of income,
said Le Hung Dung, leader of the Can
To Peoples Committee, in his welcome
remarks.
CORIGAP builds on the results
over the past 16 years of the Irrigated Rice
Project on closing yield gaps assesses
progress in frst year By Trina Leah Mendoza
Research Consortium (IRRC), through
which most countries involved increased
their rice production, said Carmen
Tnnissen, donor representative and
SDC senior advisor with the Federal
Department of Foreign Afairs. Te
component technologies developed
through the IRRC are now integrated
through CORIGAP.
CORIGAPs objectives are aligned
closely with the mission of the Global
Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) of the
International Rice Research Institute, said
Grant Singleton, CORIGAP coordinator.
We aim to reduce poverty, improve
health, and reduce the environmental
footprint of rice production through strong
partnerships with national agricultural
research and extension systems.
Whats inside
IRRI facilitates workshop for
improving farmer proftability....2
Thai partners undergo workshop....3
Learning more about Indonesia....4
Learning cycles continue in
Myanmar....5
Up for the challenge....6
The scientist and the fve goats...7
Postharvest activities to reduce
losses ramps up in Myanmar....8
Continued on page 2
Participants visit farmers felds involved in the Small Farmer-Large Field initiative of Vietnam.
Pham Van Du, deputy director
general of the Department of Crop
Production of the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development, gave a
presentation on the VietGAP and Small
Farmer-Large Field (SFLF) initiatives
of Vietnam. Participants also visited
farmers felds involved in SFLF and
in the use of rice straw for mushroom
production.
Key IRRI scientists and national
partners from China, Indonesia,
Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tailand, and
Vietnam presented their activities and
results for 2013, plans for 2014, and
challenges and opportunities.
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wet season and the 2014-15 dry season..
Tey also considered other researchable
and capacity-building areas, including
strategies to meet the projects aims.
Te meeting was
hosted by the Can To
Peoples Committee and
the Can To Department
of Agriculture and Rural
Development.
Te international
advisory committee of
CORIGAP also attended
the meeting.
Presentations also covered research
progress and plans on the development
of a feld calculator, communication
developments, market chain issues,
postharvest issues, environmental
indicators, and learning alliances.
As CORIGAP develops, we will see
more country priorities come through,
said David Johnson, GRiSP Teme 3
leader and IRRI representative on the
CORIGAP Advisory Committee, during
the open discussion. Tis is a great
chance for a science-based approach to
make better changes for the future.
Project on closing yield gaps assesses progress in rst year
Grant Singleton, CORIGAP coordinator, presents the objectives of
CORIGAP and highlights of progress in 2013.
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artners of the project Diversifcation
and intensifcation of rice-based
cropping systems in lower Myanmar
held a workshop on 18-19 May in Yezin.
Te4-year project, which is funded by
theAustralian Centre for International
Agricultural Research, conducts research
on cropping options to increase and
sustain productivity of cropping systems
in Maubin Township in Ayeyarwaddy,
and in Daik Oo Township in Bago.
Te project aims to improve farmer
proftability through developing best
practices for rice production, said IRRI
principal scientist Grant Singleton who
heads the undertaking. It includes
postharvest management, and innovative
approaches to improve the productivity of
rice-rice and rice-pulse cropping systems.
Project partners who attended the
activity included Dr. Ye Tin Htun, deputy
director general of the Department of
Agricultural Research, and Dr. Aye Min,
project manager at the Department of
Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture
and Irrigation. Te IRRI Myanmar of ce
was represented by Dr. Romeo Labios,
U Tan Aye, Dr. Nyo Me Htwe, U Aung
Myo Tant, Daw Aye Hnin Yu, Daw
Su Su San, and Christopher Cabardo.
Martin Gummert leads the post harvest
IRRI facilitates workshop for improving
farmer proftability
By Romeo Labios and Trina Leah Mendoza
Dr. Romeo Labios, ACIAR Project scientist, leads a discussion with partners from the Department of
Agricultural Research, Myanmar.
component of the project.
Te participants discussed the
work and fnancial plans, and protocols
of the prioritized activities for the 2014
CORIGAP launches its web site
Te Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint
(CORIGAP) Project now has its own web site. Te web site highlights the research
topics of the project such as ecologically based pest management, environmental
indicators, feld calculator, postharvest issues, and rice yield gaps. Key scientists and
institutions, project sites, and activities in each of the six major rice granaries involved
in CORIGAP are described. Te latest news and events of the project are featured in
a CORIGAP blog. Links to resources such as videos and the RIPPLE newsletter are
made available. Visit the new CORIGAP web site at www.corigap.irri.org.
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January-June 2014 3
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the yield loss caused by rodents to be
about 8%.
Te logistics for the workshop were
organized by Ms. Ladda Viriyangkura and
Ms. Duangporn Vithoonjit from the Tai
Rice Department.Two Rice Department
zoologists working on rodents, Ms.
Urassaya Boonpramuk and Ms. Tasdaw
Katenate, provided assistance throughout
the workshop, each presented a seminar
on their current research activities.
facilitated to understand more about
rodent issues throughout Tailand.
Two feld visits to CORIGAP
treatment plots in Nong Jik Ree Village
in Nakhon Sawan Province were
conducted to demonstrate setting up and
checking of traps, burrow counts, and
damage assessment. Te participants
also experienced how to identify rodent
species and determine breeding condition.
Tree rodent species, Rattus
argentiventer, Rattus sakeratensis
(formerly R. losea) and
Bandicota savilei, were trapped in rice
felds and another species, Rattus exulans,
was trapped in a grain store at the Chainat
Rice Research Center.
We estimated that fresh rodent
damage at the ripening stage ranged
from 1 to 3% per treatment plot, with an
overall damage of about 2% per feld site,
says Alex Stuart. As majority of damage
by rats occurs before the ripening stage,
studies have shown that damage estimates
made at the ripening stage should be
multiplied by four to give a conservative
estimate of yield loss. We then estimated
Thai partners undergo workshop on rodent
management and damage assessment
By Trina Leah Mendoza
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odent damage during postharvest
storage was one of the problems
mentioned by Tai farmers
when scientists from the Closing Rice
Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced
Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP)
assessed their needs in May 2013. In
December 2013, rat and mouse problems
were widely reported by farmers, with
damage to seedlings in one of the farmers
felds in Nong Jik Ree Village, one of
CORIGAPs project sites. In other regions
of Tailand, reports of rodent damage to
rice have been increasing over the last few
years, with outbreaks of rodent population
recently reported in Central Tailand.
To strengthen the knowledge and
capacity of rice researchers in Tailand,
38 staf members from the Tai Rice
Department attended a workshop
on rodent management and damage
assessment on 31 March-01 April at
the Chainat Rice Research Center in
Chainat Province. Tese staf members
represented 23 provinces from the north,
south, center, and east of Tailand.
Te 2-day workshop was led
by rodent experts Grant Singleton
(CORIGAP coordinator) and Alex
Stuart (CORIGAP postdoctoral fellow).
Seminars and training sessions were given
on ecologically based rodent management
and on how to conduct rodent damage
assessments. Group discussions were
Video on participatory varietal selection of rice in Myanmar
now on YouTube
Rice felds in the lower Ayeyarwaddy Delta of Myanmar are prone to salt-intrusion
and foods, and farmers usually do not have access to new high-yielding, short-
duration varieties that can withstand these stresses.
Te International Rice Research Institute, through the Livelihood and Food
Security Trust Fund Project of the United Nations Of ce for Project Services, has
introduced high-yielding varieties for favorable areas and stress-tolerant varieties
for the salt- and food-prone areas to farmers through participatory varietal
selection (PVS).
Te PVS process was captured in a video titled Participatory varietal selection
of rice in Myanmar. Tis video highlights the PVS steps taken by farmers in Labutta
Township, Myanmar, and the experiences and new knowledge gained by some
farmers who joined the PVS trials. Te video also features the top four selected
varieties in the three townships involved in the project in the 2012 and 2013
wet seasons, and in the 2012-13 dry season. Available in English and Myanmar
languages in the IRRC-CORIGAP Youtube playlist.
Workshop participants are guided on how to
set up rodent traps in the feld.
Alex Stuart (center) demonstrate how to
identify diferent rodent species and determine
their breeding condition.
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Learning more about Indonesian rice
farmers
By Trina Mendoza and Rowell Dikitanan
The air pressure from the ventilators holds up the polyethylene plastic sheet over the rice grains.
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ORIGAP social scientists
interviewed farmers in
Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in late
May to early June to learn more about
their current rice management practices,
market access, gender equity, and women
empowerment.
Farming practices, yield,
and income
A baseline household survey was
conducted in four villages (two treatment
and two control villages) in Yogyakarta to
document current farming practices, yield
levels, income, knowledge and attitudes
on crop management options, as well as
environmental indicators.
Mr. Dikitanan for them to become
familiarized with the questions and CAPI
sofware. Regular consultations were
conducted to ensure collected data were
correctly entered and to address problems
encountered by interviewers.
Initial results indicate that majority
of farmers, most of whom were male,
have small rice plots of about 0.090.26
hectare. Teir average yield ranges from
4.40 to 6.08 metric tons per hectare at 14%
moisture content.
Most farmers have adopted a rice-
rice-palawija (e.g., corn, soybean, peanut,
chili) cropping system. Tey practice
manual transplanting, harvesting, and
threshing. Transplanting is usually done
by female laborers. During harvesting and
threshing, there is not enough labor due
to the aging population of farm laborers.
Market access, gender equity,
and women empowerment
Dr. Pieter Rutsaert, CORIGAP
postdoctoral fellow, conducted focus
group discussions with a total of 91
farmers to investigate market access
and evaluate gender equity and women
empowerment in the CORIGAP project
villages.
In terms of women empowerment at
a household level, a good, strong balance
exists between husband and wife, and
household decisions are made together,
shares Dr. Rutsaert. At the community
level, however, women are not included
in main farmer group decisions (such
as variety selection), and female farmer
organizations generally do not receive
information from extension of cers.
Women have few or no options
besides rice farming, although they
are open to learn new technologies.
Te respondents showed interested
in postharvest quality improvement,
food processing, and producing non-
agricultural products such as batik
(traditional Indonesian-designed cloth),
but they need access to more knowledge
through extension services.
Highlights of farmers discussions
on market access included the time of
selling rice having a big infuence on its
price. Farmers sell directly to traders,
not millers, since milling is a service that
farmers have to pay for. Farmers prefer a
mobile milling unit that comes to their
houses because it is more convenient. Te
stable milling unit, however, produces
more, better quality rice (less broken rice).
Dr. Rutsaert identifed opportunities
that could improve market access such
as improving the drying process to
reduce broken grains, and use of airtight
IRRI Super Bags for better storage to
delay the time of selling until market
prices increase. He also recommends
strengthening training and extension
services to male and especially female
farmer organizations, emphasizing the
need to organize female farmers and arm
them with more knowledge and skills.
Results of these interviews and
surveys will guide CORIGAP scientists
and national partners in using the best
rice management practices, participatory
methods, and science-based tools to raise
farmers livelihoods and proft in project
sites in Indonesia.
CORIGAP agricultural economist
Rowell Dikitanan and plant protection
specialist Arlyna Budi Pustika from
Yogyakartas Assessment Institute
of Agricultural Technology (AIAT)
coordinated the survey with a team of
interviewers composed of of cers from
AIAT and local extension, and graduates
from Instiper University.
A total of 180 farmers were
interviewed using a computer-
assisted personal interviewing (CAPI)
sofware. Before the conduct of survey,
the interviewers were trained by
AIAT and local extension of cers and graduates
from Instiper University, Yogyakarta, interview
farmers for the baseline household survey.
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Photo by Rowell Dikitanan
Paperless survey on current farming practices held in
Madurejo Village, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
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January-June 2014 5
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For the upcoming cycle, farmer
volunteers from the Bogale group will
mechanically dry their harvest and
assess the quality. Other farmers who
have committed to store their harvest in
GRET communal storage will try to sell
their produce in the Yangon market. Te
group from Maubin will try and learn
about adjusting timing of harvest by using
threshers and short-duration varieties. An
LA meeting will be scheduled at the end
of the 2014 monsoon season to refect and
share about this learning cycle.
Te village-level LA is supported by
projects funded by ACIAR, the United
Nations Of ce for Project Services, and
SDC.
Learning cycles continue in Myanmar
By Reianne Quilloy, Martin Gummert, and Rica Joy Flor
Rica Flor (standing, right) facilitates a
refection activity among participants.
I
terative learning cycles involving
diferent stakeholders target learning
not only on technical aspects but also
on changing the wider dimensions and
values under which farming communities
operate. While the key problem is
that farmers do not receive good proft
from their rice crops, introducing new
technologies alone will not be enough
since the success of improvements will
depend on many actors along the value
chain (e.g., traders, seed producers, local
manufacturers). Identifying and trying
suitable entry point technologies is one
key factor, but helping groups within
communities to support these entry
points is also essential.
Laying the groundwork
In Myanmar, a village-level learning
alliance (LA) approach was used to gather
people from various sectors to address a
problem in which they have a common
interest. LA members in Bogale and
Maubin townships wanted to learn about
producing good-quality rice for higher
proft. Tey tried using threshers, dryers,
or new varieties that are suitable to the
area and that will give farmers more time
to manage their produce to improve rice
quality.
In the frst learning cycle in Bogale,
the group explored whether setting up
a dryer and linking it with an existing
communal storage system managed
by GRET, a partner nongovernment
organization, would work. Private sector
partners locally manufactured lightweight
threshers and a fatbed dryer for village
trials. Topics in the second cycle included
training operators, coordinating users,
defning the terms for ownership and
equipment use, and orienting millers
and traders were topics in the second
learning cycle. While the technology has
been made available and there is interest
or knowledge among users, the LA
encountered concerns about additional
investment costs, no market incentives for
improved rice quality, and much distrust
between farmers and market actors.
Te LA members in Maubin were
introduced to lightweight threshers and
new varieties. Trough participatory
trials, farmers learned about suitable
new rice varieties as options. Te goal
to improve timing of cropping activities
through new varieties and improved
quality and selling time to obtain higher
profts is yet to be reached.
New topics, new cycles
While some learning cycles continue,
a new goal is to fnd avenues to link
farmers with markets that could
provide incentives (e.g., pay higher
prices) to produce good-quality rice.
LA members composed of farmers,
millers, NGO partners from GRET and
Welthungerhilfe, and private sector
partners interacted with actors from the
local wholesale depot in Wadan and the
export wholesale market in Bayint Naung,
Yangon, to observe how grains are priced,
how trade happens in the local and export
market, and to meet people who can make
selling to this market an option. Links
with members of the Myanmar Rice
and Paddy Traders Association could
potentially help farmers understand how
market actors value quality and what
other options they have to sell their grains
aside from local millers and traders. LA
members also learned about possible
seed sources and production through a
visit to a government-owned seed farm at
Hmawbi.
Plan-act-refect-share
A key part of these iterative learning
cycles are facilitated refections on what
happened, what they experienced, and
what resulted for future planning and
implementation. From an activity to learn
about markets, U Kyaw Ei, a Bogale rice
farmer, shared the farmers observation
that, rice produced in Bogale is priced the
lowest of nine townships trading the same
variety in Wadan. Tey also noticed that
the low price has a lot to do with low-
quality grains. Te market visit enabled
them to connect with agents at the
wholesale rice trading center in Wadan.
Te next step is to try and produce better
quality rice and assess how that would
work with this new market link.
Farmers interact with wholesale market actors
in Wadan to observe trading practices and
pricing mechanisms.
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mechanization, and the heavy use of
pesticides.
Some farmers are now concerned
about the environment, she narrates.
Some women complain about their
husbands becoming sick from being
exposed to the polluted water in the rice
feld.
Between coordinating activities for
CORIGAP and leading in disseminating
research innovations at ICFORD,
Nuning tries to fnd time to relax by
reading novels and watching movies.
She particularly enjoys science fction,
mystery, romance, and drama novels.
She however, prefers thriller and action
movies rather than drama, which was
infuenced by her husband.
Nuning admittedly encounters
dif culties in her new responsibilities as
CORIGAP key scientist for Indonesia,
a drastic shif from pure research to a
more administrative role. But like the go-
getting person that she is, she is up for the
challenge and enjoys her new role. I love
to learn many things, she shares. Te
more I learn, the more I become richer in
knowledge and become more useful.
Te CORIGAP Project will truly
beneft from having local partners such as
Nuning onboard.
Up for the challenge
By Trina Leah Mendoza
W
ith her warm and cheerful
demeanor, and driven, hard-
working personality, it is not
surprising that Dr. Nuning Argo Subekti
likes to face challenges head on.
Research Institute under IAARD in
Maros, South Sulawesi.
Tere she met senior maize breeder
Dr. Marsum Dahlan, who became her
supportive mentor. He taught me every
detail, and I am lucky to be his staf, says
Nuning.
She considers Maros a special place
because it was also where she met her
husband, Asrul Koes, an agricultural
socioeconomist from ICFORD, whom she
married in 2002.
Nuning graduated with MS and
PhD degrees in plant breeding from the
University of the Philippines Los Baos in
2004, and from the University of Gadjah
Mada, Yogyakarta, in 2011.
Currently, she is the head of research
and dissemination at the Indonesian
Center for Food Crops Research and
Development (ICFORD) in Bogor,
West Java. ICFORD is responsible for
coordinating research and development
of food crops (e.g., rice, maize, and other
cereals, legumes such as soyabean and
peanuts, and tuber crops such as cassava
and sweet potato) in Indonesia.
Keeping her extra busy is her role as
key scientist for Indonesia of the Closing
Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced
Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP)
Project in Indonesia, with sites in
Yogyakarta/Central Java, and South
Sumatra.
Our focus now is on reducing
losses, and it is advantageous if through
CORIGAP, we can adopt new concepts
or approaches that are not only focused
on rice production but also on the
environment and fnancial ef ciency,
says Nuning.
She is also keen to have the feld
calculator, a CORIGAP decision-
support tool that presents scenarios on
environmental and economic impacts, be
tested in Indonesia.
I believe we can get a lot from the
project, says Nuning. She cites current
issues in rice farming in Indonesia,
such as farmers not being aware of
Nuning relaxes with her husband, Asrul Koes,
in a park in Yogyakarta.
Nuning (center) enjoys the harvesting of their
Even as a young girl, Nuning had
always been the kind of person who tried
diferent things. Nuning lived in a small,
laidback town in Madiun, East Java, with
her parents until she graduated from
high school. She took up her bachelors
degree in plant breeding at the University
of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, in the mid
1990s, when plant breeding was a rare
study program, and hers was the only
university that ofered the course in
Indonesia.
She remembers a professor who was
a perfectionist, who drove her and her
classmates to study hard. She later on
found out that she was enjoying his classes
immensely. I loved biology and crossing
fowers, recalls Nuning. I was amazed
and curious about nature.
Afer graduation, work was already
waiting for Nuning and her classmates.
Tey were all women who were ofered
jobs at the Indonesian Agency for
Agricultural Research and Development
(IAARD), the research arm of the
Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture.
From 2000-11, Nuning worked as a
maize breeder at the Indonesian Cereals
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rice crop from an experiment in Central Java
with Zulkifi Zaini, IRRI representative and
liaison scientist for IRRI Indonesia (left), and
Eman Paturohman, ICFORD researcher.
January-June 2014 7
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new technology looked
too poor at the early-
growth stage to achieve
high yield because of the
reduced nitrogen input
at the basal and tillering
stages. To allay fears and
show them the results,
Dr. Zhong and his team
conducted on-farm
demonstrations repeatedly
at selected rice-growing
areas.
Farmers, extension
workers, and local of cials
were invited to visit the
demonstration farms.
Once they saw the good
results, their initial
hesitation disappeared
and the farmers spread the
good news themselves. To
see is to believe, confrms
Dr. Zhong.
When hes not out
working in the feld,
Dr. Zhong enjoys the
benefts of hiking in
the mountains. During
his stay in Los Baos,
he used to hike up Mt.
Makiling every chance
he got. Mountain hiking
is a good time for me to think over my
work. Many good ideas for overcoming
dif culties suddenly come to me when
hiking, he says.
Tis hobby also taught him a
philosophy he lives by to this day: Going
up is always more dif cult than going
down. Persistence is crucial for success.
If one wishes to achieve his mission, he
shouldnt stop halfway up. Only those
who do not change his direction and
persistently continue his efort will arrive
at the summit.
And it sure is a good thing for the
countless rice farmers who beneft from
Dr. Zhongs work. For continue he must,
and arrive he will.
The scientist and the fve goats
Prof. Xuhua Zhong, 2014 IFA Norman Borlaug Award Laureate
By Rona Nia Mae Rojas-Azucena
M
y dream is to eliminate
hunger in the world,
especially for the poor
rice farmers, says Dr. Xuhua Zhong, a
crop physiologist from the Rice Research
Institute of Guangdong Academy of
Agricultural Sciences (GDRRI), and the
main proponent of the widely adopted
Tree Controls Technology (3CT) in China.
For Dr. Zhong, a hardworking
scientist with a friendly and approachable
manner, his dream is inspired by the city
of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong
Province. Te fve goats were said to be
those who brought rice panicles to ancient
Guangzhou to save the people who were
starving. Tats why Guangzhou City is
also known as the City of Five Goats and
the City of Rice Panicles, explains Dr.
Zhong.
He fnished his PhD in plant
physiology at the South China Institute of
Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in
1999. He conducted his doctoral research
at IRRI for two years and worked at the
Institute as a postdoctoral fellow for one
year.
As the head of the Crop Physiology
and Ecology Laboratory of GDRRI,
his team has been developing theories
and technologies for high yield, high
ef ciency, low carbon, and sustainable
rice production through improved crop
management.
One of the outputs is the 3CT,
which was of cially released in 2007.
He has been a long-time partner of the
Irrigated Rice Research Consortium
in the development and promotion of
the technology, resulting in the 3CT,
becoming a government-recommended
technology in Guangdong in 2008. It has
since been adopted by farmers in other
provinces in China as well. (Read more on
3CT in the RIPPLE Sep-Dec 2009 issue)
Because of the substantial
contribution he has made in his feld of
research and his extension work on rice
nutrient management in China, Dr. Zhong
was hailed as the 2014 International
Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA)
Norman Borlaug Award Laureate.
Dr. Zhong admits that the early
stages of the development of the 3CT were
dif cult. For many years, grain yield has
been the main, if not the only, concern for
many scientists. Nitrogen-use ef ciency
and environmental efects were not
considered important issues at that time.
It was very dif cult to obtain funding.
He persuaded scientists and of cials
of the importance of proper nutrient
management by presenting his survey
data and statistical results on fertilizer
use.
Te other challenge was to convince
farmers. Te rice crops grown with the
Dr. Zhong (center) holds an impromptu meeting with farmers in
Yangdong Country, Guangdong, China.
Dr. Xuhua Zhong, an avid hiker, enjoys hiking up mountains
whenever he has the time. He is seen here at Baiyun Mountain Park.
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Volume 9, Number 1
January-June 2014
This newsletter is produced by the
CORIGAP Project under the Irrigated
Rice Research Consortium (IRRC)
with support from the Swiss Agency
for Development and Cooperation
(SDC) and IRRI. The IRRC promotes
international links among scientists,
managers, communicators, and farmers
in lowland irrigated rice environments.
Materials in this newsletter do not
necessarily reect the ofcial views of
IRRI, SDC, or collaborating institutions
of the IRRC.
EDITORS
Grant Singleton, Trina Leah Mendoza,
Rona Nia Mae Rojas-Azucena
COPY EDITORS
Tess Rola, Priscilla Grace Caas
LAYOUT
Emmanuel Panisales
CIRCULATION
Jennifer Hernandez
Please direct further correspondence,
comments, and contributions to
Trina Leah Mendoza
Senior Communication Specialist
International Rice Research Institute
DAPO Box 7777
Metro Manila, Philippines
Email: t.mendoza@irri.org
Web: www.corigap.irri.org
R
ice production in Myanmar
is hindered by inef cient
postproduction management
and inadequate facilities, resulting
in high postharvest (PH) losses and
low-quality grains that afect farmers
income. Initiatives to spread technology
options and build capacity of diferent
stakeholders are being led by various
projects at IRRI. Tese include the
CORIGAP Project funded by the Swiss
Agency for Development and Cooperation
and projects funded by the United
Nations Of ce for Project Services and
the Australian Centre for International
Agricultural Research. Tese projects
focus on stakeholders in the Ayeyarwaddy
Region and Central Dry Zone, where
more than half of Myanmars rice supply
is sourced.
Technology demonstrations
Technologies such as the solar bubble
dryer (SBD) and fatbed dryer (FBD)
were demonstrated in Myanmar. Te
SBD is a new and portable alternative to
dry grains, which uses the suns energy
even during overcast days and at night.
Another drying technology that has been
researched and used in other countries
is the FBD. It is a 1-ton-capacity airtight
storage system that protects grains from
deterioration and quality loss.
IRRI PH staf demonstrated these
technologies in Maubin, Labutta, Bogale,
and Daik-Oo townships to over 200
participants in separate events from
November 2013 to April 2014. Tey
were farmers, IRRI staf, staf from
local and international nongovernment
organizations (NGOs), and government
staf from the Department of Agriculture
and the Department of Agricultural
Research. Te events featured discussions
on principles of grain quality, drying,
and hermetic storage to help participants
understand PH techniques to produce
good-quality grain. Tey also learned how
to operate the equipment correctly.
Participants also provided the
feedback needed to assess technology
adaption measures in the communities.
Te SBD is currently in the testing and
development stage, where feedback such
as those coming from Myanmar can help
further improve the technology.
Tese are simple technologies
that can be promoted and integrated
into existing programs of the other
organizations that aim to increase
farmers productivity, Martin Gummert,
CORIGAPs postharvest expert said.
In the coming months, Engr.
Gummert and his team will continue
to conduct training and technological
demonstrations in the major rice-
producing areas in Myanmar. Te team
will also complete the postharvest loss
assessment trials and farm-level adaptive
trials of IRRI Super Bags, a 50-kilogram
capacity airtight storage bag, in the near
future.
Postharvest activities to reduce
losses ramp up in Myanmar
By Reianne Quilloy, Christopher Cabardo, and Rica Joy Flor
Demonstrating a technology, such as the solar bubble dryer, includes a hands-on
exercise for particpants to experience and assess the feasibility of a technology.
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Publications
Htwe NM, Singleton GR. 2014. Is quantity or quality of food infuencing
the reproduction of rice feld rats in the Philippines? Wildlife Res. 41:56-63.
Malabayabas AJB, Kajisa K, Mazid MA, Palis FG. 2014. Impacts of direct-
seeded and early-maturing varieties of rice on mitigating seasonal hunger
for farming communities in northwest Bangladesh. Int. J. Agric. Sustain. 12.
(In press.)
Malabayabas AJB, Templeton D, Singh P. 2013. Ex-ante impact of direct
seeding as an alternative to transplanting rice in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
Asian J. Agric. Dev. 9:13-29.
Stuart AM, Prescott CV, Singleton GR. 2014. Habitat manipulation in
lowland rice-coconut cropping systems of the Philippinesan efective
rodent pest management strategy? Pest Manage. Sci. 70:939-945.
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