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www.irri.org/irrc April 2006, Vol. 1, No. 2 Volume 7, Number 1, 20th issue ã January-April 2012 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Irrigated Rice Research Consortium Rice Research for Intensified Production and Prosperity in Lowland Ecosystems External review paves the way for new 4-year project Story on page 2 Not all flat bed dryers are created equal................3 Laser leveling for rice emerges in Southeast Asia...............4 Spreading the good news...........7 Postharves
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  January-April 2012 1 RIPPLE April 2006, Vol. 1, No. 2   www.irri.org/irrc Irrigated Rice Research Consortium Rice Research forI ntensifed P roduction and Prosperity inL owland Ecosystems Swiss Agency for Developmentand Cooperation Volume 7, Number 1, 20th issue ã January-April 2012 External review paves theway for new 4-year project  Story on page 2    P   h  o  t  o   b  y   A  r   i  e   l   J  a  v  e   l   l  a  n  a IN THIS ISSUE... Not all at bed dryers arecreated equal................3Laser leveling for rice emerges inSoutheast Asia...............4Spreading the good news...........7Postharvest team reviewspilot activities, addressesrice postproductionchallenges.............10Sustainable rice platformworkshop held in thePhilippines..............11IRRC anthropologist pursues herPhD...............11IRRC researcher co-authors highprole impact study of IRRIrice varieties..........12 PROFILE South Sulawesi’s homegrownchampion..................8A vision for Vietnam.................9  2 RIPPLEJanuary-April 2012 Grant Singleton Cover story  (f) There has been remarkable impact at policy level, geing technologies adopted bygovernments. This is a cumulative eect of continuous engagement in policy dialogue by IRRI with national sta, and identifying and then fostering national “champions.”(g) An impressivecommunication strategy, whichincludes high-quality web access toIRRC outputs, the RIPPLE newsleer, the computer-based decision supporttool “Nutrient Manager,” andextension material such as videosproduced with substantial farmer involvement has been eectively used.The external review teamsummarized their conclusions asfollows: the “IRRC is an importantpart of IRRI and GRiSP (GlobalRice Science Partnership). It iswell on track to achieve many ofits ambitious goals. Adoption andimpact at farmers’ level is evident.NARES see IRRC as a mechanismto integrate technologies, tomassively scale them out to farmingcommunities, and to prepare forfurther up-scaling of interventions.IRRI scientists see in IRRC a platformto get technologies to farmers.”Moving forward in 2012The SDC has invited the IRRCto develop a new research projectfor 2013-2016 based on a researchproposal presented at the October2011 meeting of the IRRC Steering Commiee. The IRRI and SDC decided that it is timely for the IRRCto adopt a new structure that willenable partnerships on closing yieldsgaps and promoting environmentallysustainable production in four or ve key rice bowls. There will be geographic hubs in three countries inSoutheast Asia (to be decided), EastAsia (China), and South Asia (SriLanka).Consultations with key NARESpartners began in 2011 and will continue through the rst half of 2012. A concept note will be submied to SDC by the end of March 2012. In June, Indonesia willhost a meeting of representativesfrom the partner countries involvedin the new proposal. Our partnerswill provide essential input into the development of the nal projectproposal that will be submied in late October.The IRRC Phase IV has hada resounding endorsement andwe look forward to more excitingresearch and development outputsaimed at raising the livelihoods offarmers in the Asian region. ( A copy of the external review isavailable at www.irri.org/irrc.) T he Irrigated Rice ResearchConsortium (IRRC) received aglowing endorsement from afour-member external review team.The review team was commissioned by Achim Dobermann, IRRI deputydirector general for research. Theteam reported to both the DeputyDirector and Carmen Thoennissen,program manager of IRRC Phase IVat the Swiss Agency for Developmentand Cooperation (SDC). Thereviewers from Switzerland, theNetherlands, and Australia stronglyrecommended to SDC that a newproject be considered for fundingfrom 2013 to 2016.The reviewers providedstrong endorsement of the IRRCand highlighted the followingachievements during 2009-2011:(a) IRRC technologies arepresently used by 500,000 to 1 millionfarmers, with yield and incomeimprovements of 10–20%.(b) Social impact is evident,especially where collectiveaction is part of the technologyimplementation.(c) More than 7,000 Asian counterparts have aended training events arranged by the IRRC.(d) IRRC scientists generatedmore than 50 peer-reviewedpublications.(e) There is an impressive network with the scientic community worldwide. External review paves the way for new 4-year project P h  o t  o b  y R  on a Ni  ñ  a R  o j   a  s  The external reviewers (from le to right: Jonathan Banks, Karin Zbinden, Frits Penning de Vries, and Urs Scheidegger)presented a preliminary report to the IRRC sta on their last day in IRRI. Discussions on the report followed right aer.  January-April 2012 3 RIPPLE I n RIPPLE May-August 2009,we published the article “ PRPCengineers test and evaluate DA  at-bed dryer .” It was brought to our aention that this article created some controversy and may have inuenced some decisions aboutoutscaling the at bed dryer technology in the Philippines.In this article, I provide a clearcontext for our previous articleand seek to clarify misconceptionsraised by the article.BackgroundWhen the testing of the dryerwas undertaken, the implementation of the at bed dryer promotion program of the PhilippineDepartment of Agriculture (DA)was in full swing. It was thePhilippine Rice PostproductionConsortium (PRPC) who initiatedthe testing activity. At IRRI, wereceived feedback from the usersof these dryers, mainly complaints to the eect that the at bed dryer technology did not work. We wereasked whether we approved of such an inecient technology. Although some recipients of the dryer werepleased with the performance oftheir dryers, the “reputation” of the at bed drying technology in the Philippines was at risk.With more than 6,200 units of similar at bed dryers in Vietnam ( RIPPLE October-December 2008),the increasing private sector-driven installations in Myanmarand Cambodia, and the reported  benets from using at bed dryers in Indonesia ( RIPPLE April-June2008), we know that the technologyis sound and the reasons for failurehave to be sought somewhere else.The Philippine studyIt is important to demonstrate that a good at bed dryer works well if it is constructed and operated according to design specications. The PRPC requested IRRI to leadthe testing team. The team wasprovided access to two dryers thatwere installed under the guidanceof the Philippine Rice ResearchInstitute (PhilRice). Both operators,an irrigators association and aprivate owner, reported someproblems with grain quality and drying time. These were aributedto high temperature in the rst case and to low fan speed in the second.In both cases, the dryers performedto expectation once the managementproblems were corrected. The PRPC Steering Commiee submied a proposal to test dryers installed bythe Bureau of Postharvest Researchand Extension (BPRE), but BPREmanagement did not respond. Ourarticle in RIPPLE (May-August 2009) concluded that the at bed drying technology is “both functionallyand technically sound” and stressedthe importance of training. We feltthat our message was importantto safeguard the reputation of the at bed dryer technology. What the article did notmention was the involvement of dierent institutions involved inthe installation of at bed dryers. Some members of the testing teamwanted to test the dryers installed byother institutions but the necessarycontacts and access were notprovided. Many of those other dryerswere supposedly of poor technicalquality and some recipients reportednot receiving any training at all.About 2 years later, I wasinformed that the RIPPLE articlehad been taken out of context andwas used to “rubber stamp” theactivities of the dryer promotionprogram, regardless of the sourceof the dryer and the quality ofmanufacturing. This apparentlyalienated some at the government level, who advocate a beer program. Two major lessons can belearned from this development: ã We researchers need to be more vocal not only about technicalissues of our research but alsohow research outputs are beingused. We need to be cognizant ofsensitivities of national programs but at the same time be able toprovide objective advice. ã We need to have more dialogue with and feedback fromdecisionmakers and policy specialistswho design national outscalingprograms. The aim is to reduce thepotential for misunderstanding and possible misuse of scientic reports. I personally apologize for any negative eect the article might have had on the design ofthe program in the Philippines. Iencourage our readers to activelygive us feedback on any of ourarticles and activities, and bring to our aention policy and social impacts we have not anticipated(be they positive or negative). Not all at bed dryers are created equal Martin Gummert The le photo shows a good blower with sturdy housing, properly shaped blades, and lile clearancebetween fan blades and housing. The one on the right shows a low-quality blower that was replacedby a user in Agusan del Norte, Philippines, in 2011. It has a shortened and weak housing made fromthin metal sheet and no reinforcements, sub-opmally shaped fan blades, big clearance betweenblades and housing, and a lousy nish, obviously made to save cost. The fan shown on the rightcannot deliver the airow and pressure needed. Two dierent FBD fans with 4–6 ton capacity: Manufacturingquality is as important as technical design and training. P h  o t  o on t h  el   ef   t  b  y T r i  n a M end  oz  a   4 RIPPLEJanuary-April 2012 Laser leveling for rice emergesin Southeast Asia A well-leveled rice eld createsa ripple eect of benets for the farmer: uniform water coverage, beer crop establishment and care, less time needed to dotasks, less weed problems, higheryields, and more. Traditionally, most farmers in Asia use dra animals and two-wheel tractors thatdrag harrows and leveling boards across the elds to level their land. In developed countries such asAustralia, the United States, and Japan, laser land leveling is commonlyused in agricultural applications.With laser land leveling, a laser transmier sends a laser beam tothe laser receiver, which is aached to the leveling bucket. The controlpanel or box mounted on the tractorinterprets the signal from the receiverand opens or closes the hydraulicvalve, which will raise or lowerthe bucket, and drag and drop soil across the eld to make it even. Some Asian countries havestarted to adopt the technology. InIndia, around 7,000 farmers nowown 10,000 laser-leveling equipment,and almost 1 million hectares ofland have been laser-leveled (see Rice Today April-June 2011, pages 16-17).Breaking the surfaceDr. Phan Hieu Hien, IRRIpostharvest consultant, estimatesthat in Vietnam, about 300 hectares of rice elds have been laser-leveled, with more than 200 hectares in theMekong Delta. This includes BacLieu and An Giang provinces.IRRI introduced laser levelingfor rice in Vietnam in 2003 byproviding equipment and trainingto the Bac Lieu Seed Center (BLSC)and the Nong Lam University.“The quality of seeds producedhas improved and become moreuniform,” says BLSC director Phan vanLiem. “Laser leveling is a technologythat farmers very much appreciate,with support from the government.”BLSC has a network of farmers whogrow seed for the Center. For laserleveling of these areas, farmers pay50% of the cost while the governmentcovers the remaining 50%.Farmers who have laser-leveled their elds in Bac Lieu and An Giang are now enjoying the same  benets—less crop lodging, lower seed rate, less diesel and pumpingcost for water, less herbicide andpesticide use, and higher yields.Tran Van Dan, an An Giangfarmer who is part of the 1 Must Do,5 Reductions Program (see RIPPLE  September-December 2011), hasreduced his seed rate from 150kilograms per hectare to 120 kilogramsper hectare in one cropping season aer his eld was laser-leveled. He now spends for only 3 liters of dieselto pump water, compared withthe 5 liters beforehand. His yieldincreased by 1.5–3 tons per hectare.Husband and wife Nguyen VanHan and Nguyen Thi Diep from AnGiang said that it takes only 1.5–2 days to level their 4-hectare eld using laser leveling, while leveling continued on page 5 The IRRC reintroduced laserleveling in Cambodiathrough a elddemonstraon organizedwith the Don Bosco Schoolin Baambang Province. Trina Leah Mendoza    P   h  o  t  o   b  y   T  r   i  n  a   M  e  n   d  o  z  a
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