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Oct. 27, 2020

Rice technologies featured in FFTC-MARDI videoconference

Rice technologies featured in FFTC-MARDI videoconference

FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang and Deputy Director Dr. Akira Hasebe, together with the two Taiwanese rice experts from TARI, Dr. Charng-Pei Li and Dr. Dong-Hong Wu lead the online international videoconference on “Crop Resilience for Adaptation to Climate Change: Rice” at the Center’s boardroom in Taipei. 

Eleven rice experts presented various technologies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in Asia’s rice production. Last September 29, the online videoconference on “Crop Resilience for Adaptation to Climate Change: Rice” kicked off at the FFTC office in Taipei, Taiwan with speakers joining online from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The videoconference workshop is a joint project of FFTC and the Malaysian Agricultural and Development Research Institute (MARDI). It was livestreamed through the FFTC Facebook page which was viewed by close to 5,000 viewers from all over the world.

Innovative breeding techniques

In her welcome remarks, FFTC Director Dr. Su-San 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.

The videoconference workshop was divided into three sessions. Session 1 was entitled “Development of Rice Resilient Technologies in Response to Climate Change.” Session 2 focused on “Rice Technologies in Asia: Country Reports” and Session 3: “Climate Resistant Rice: The Way Forward” 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 (Alternate Wet and Dry) water managentment 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, and nitrogen topdressing water management 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 Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute;
  • Thailand’s tailor-made climate ready nutrient dense rice; and
  • Vietnam’s climate smart designer rice varieties, adjusted cropping calendars, resource management, diversification, early warning and climate information services, etc.

Based on the discussions that ensued following the speakers’ presentations, the following major recommendations were drawn:

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; and
  • Adopt water management technology as one of the strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change in rice production.

The full one-day FFTC-MARDI videoconference workshop can be viewed at the FFTC Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/fftcforasiaandthepacific while the full papers and PowerPoint presentations of the 11 speakers can be soon accessed at the FFTC website.

Screenshot of the participants in the FFTC-MARDI international videoconference which were participated in by 11 speakers from 7 countries who presented the latest technologies intended to mitigate the effects of climate change in rice production.

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