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Crop Resilience for Adaptation to Climate Change: Rice



Global food security requires a major re-focusing of plant sciences, crop improvement and production agronomy towards rice grain over coming decades, with intensive research and development to identify climate-resilient cultivars with improved grain characteristics. Labs contributing to this special issue have undertaken research and breeding to improve varieties, together with innovative production agronomy which contributes to the sustainability of cropping systems. The reviews and research together form an invaluable resource for the research community and policymakers.

Rice production system contributes to the reduction of hunger and poverty, improving long-term food security and adaptation to climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) facilitated the FAO Strategy on Climate Change for Global, Regional, National and Local level in 2017, focusing on rice sector as one of the focus crops. This initiative was introduced with the following objectives to (i) enhance institutional capacities of member states, (ii) improve integration of food security within the international climate agenda, and (iii) strengthen internal coordination and delivery of FAO’s work. The FAO initiative was also linked to a growing recognition of the contribution of rice to critical targets under Sustainable Development Goal 2, particularly regarding food access, malnutrition and smallholder incomes, as well as sustainable and resilient agriculture.

The workshop is aligned with FFTC’s Strategic Action Plan 2019-2020 on climate smart agriculture. Recognizing that increasing the global production of rice has the potential to provide a sustainable solution to food security and resilience to climate change, significant efforts are currently being made to increase genomic resources and apply innovative breeding techniques to improve the yield and nutritional quality of rice. Production agronomy and improved cultivation approaches could also be intensified to address the associated economic and environmental challenges.


  • Sharing of experiences and current state of adaptation of local rice varieties to climate change.
  • Establishing an efficient network among participants from all member countries for future commercial and technical collaborations.


  • Development of Rice Resilient Technologies in Response to Climate Change
  • Rice Technologies in Asia: Country Reports
  • Climate Resistant Rice: The Way Forward

Program highlights

The videoconference workshop was broadcasted online through the WebEx virtual meeting room and was also livestreamed through the FFTC Facebook page.

Workshop video can be watched at:

Key takeaways were summarized by presentation:

In her welcome remarks, FFTC Director Dr. Susan Chang emphasized that the videoconference is aligned to the Center’s strategic action plan for 2019-2020 on climate smart agriculture. “We wanted to explore the significant efforts being made by scientists to increase genomic resources and apply innovative breeding techniques to improve the yield and nutritional quality of rice,” she said.

On the other hand, Datuk Dr. Mohamad Roff Bin Mohd Noor, Director General of MARDI, underscored the importance of research in rice breeding to improve the varieties and innovative production agronomy to be the most appropriate approach to mitigate the effects of climate change in rice production.

Australian keynote speaker, Dr. Damien Platten, Senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) talked about “Breeding for Climate Change” saying that in order to meet the negative effects on crop yields caused by climate change, IRRI had a major redesign of its rice breeding program. He also talked about IRRI’s OneRice strategy which aims to integrate all actors in the variety development and placement chain into an efficient and effective team to produce well-targeted, well characterized new varieties and place these in target markets/regions in as short a time possible. This, he said, will enable rice breeding to adapt and keep pace as climate and social changes shift requirements in rice production.

Below is a summary of the technologies presented by the speakers from which the discussions revolved around:

  • IRRI’s OneRice strategy integrating all the elements in rice variety development and placement chain;
  • Malaysia’s new drought tolerant rice varieties (MARDI Siraj 297 and MRQ 76) developed through marker-assisted breeding and introgression, as well as their AWD technology;
  • Indonesia’s water management technologies like building of dams, catchment irrigation, and development of their integrated planting calendars;
  • Japan’s agricultural support system integrating agrometeorological information and information on crop phenology, nitrogen topdressing techniques;
  • The Philippines’ PalayCheck technology from PhilRice, a rice integrated crop management model covering seed quality, land preparation, crop establishment, etc.;
  • Taiwan’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) sensors to set up smart rice paddies and the heat tolerant screening nursery from TARI;
  • Thailand’s tailor-made climate ready nutrient dense rice from Thailand; and
  • Vietnam’s climate smart designer rice varieties, adjusted cropping calendars and cropping intensity, resource management, diversification, early warning and climate information services, etc.

Major Findings and Recommendations

  • Form and develop extensive partnerships with national breeding programs and seed systems to develop regional variety testing and market research networks.
  • Monitor the effects of climate change from a rice grower’s point of view and develop multi-location testing data combined with an appropriate check strategy.
  • Strengthen collaboration between policymakers, agribusiness communities and farmers’ organizations to further address researches on rice and climate change in the short, middle and long-term basis.
  • Strengthen information dissemination activities on climate and pests, managing pests, floods, droughts to sustain rice production.
  • Encourage and engage entrepreneurs and other actors in the rice industry such as representatives of rice companies, input suppliers and farmers’ cooperatives to play roles in providing production directions for small-scale rice farmers through technical support utilizing experiences, tested technologies and best practices.
  • Adopt water management technology as one of the strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change in rice production.


As per Facebook statistics, close to 5,000 viewers watched the videoconference through the FFTC Facebook page and got engaged. The most number of viewers who stayed long was close to 100. Thirty percent of the viewers came from the Philippines with the rest from Malaysia (26%), Taiwan (5%). The rest came from other countries like New Zealand, USA, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. Close to half (48%) of the pre-registered participants filled out the online evaluation form, 64% of whom are male while the rest (36%) are female. Close to 70% of those who filled out the online evaluation form rated the videoconference as very relevant, while 71% said it was very useful. Online connection got a 60% rating while the FFTC and MARDI Secretariat got a 67% rating. The participants described the videoconference as highly informative, interesting and very good. When asked what the suggestions for a follow-up activity are, some of the answers include webinar on vegetable production, rice mechanization technologies, rice straw management, etc. Almost all of the participants said that in the future, they would be interested to attend a similar activity organized by the Center.




Breeding for Climate Change
Dr. John Damien Platten
Head of Breeding Innovations Cluster, Native Trait Discovery and Deployment, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Rice Industry in Malaysia
Mr. Mohammad Hariz Bin Abdul Rahman
Agrobiodiversity and Environmental Research Centre
Rice Adaptation Technologies to Climate Change in Indonesia
Dr. Suryo Wiyono
Head, Dept. of Plant Protection, IPB University
Agricultural Decision Support System to Reduce Weather and Climate Risks by Utilizing High Resolution Gridded Meteorological Data
Dr. Hiroe Yoshida
Senior Researcher, Climate Change Adaptation Unit, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)
Progress on Development of New Drought-Tolerant Malaysian Rice Variety
Mr. Shamsul Amri Saidon
Paddy & Rice Research Centre, Malaysian Agricultural Research Development Institute (MARDI)
Palaycheck as Integrated Crop Management System for Irrigated Lowland Rice In the Philippines—A Country Report
Dr. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang
Officer in Charge, Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Research Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice)
Intelligent Agriculture in Taiwan: Case Study of Paddy Irrigation Management to Cope with Climate Change
Dr. Dong-Hong Wu
Associate Researcher, Division of Crop Science Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)
Tailor-made Climate-ready and Nutrient-dense Rice for the Future
Dr. Apichart Vanavicichit
Professor, Plant Breeding & Genomics Kasetsart University, Thailand
Rice Technologies in Vietnam
Dr. Ngo Duc Minh
Science Officer/Assistant President of VAAS, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS)
Adaptation to Climate Change Through Sustainable Water Management in Rice Production
Mohd Aziz Bin Rashid
Agrobiodiversity and Environmental Research Centre
Genetic Resource Evaluation and Marker-assisted Breeding for Heat Tolerance in Rice in Taiwan
Dr. Charng-Pei Li
Associate Researcher, Division of Crop Science, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)


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