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Mustang Sally Farm

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2011, 11:01:02 AM »
Philippines, Norway vaults saving rice diversity
By Cecil Morella (AFP) – Oct 23, 2010

LOS BANOS, Philippines — In a greenhouse near the Philippine capital, botanists grow strange grasses that bear tiny seeds which are promptly flown to a doomsday vault under Norway's Arctic permafrost.

The Norway deliveries are just the newest facet of a decades-old effort by more than 100 countries to save the world's many varieties of rice which might otherwise be lost.

A fire-proof, quake-proof, typhoon-proof gene bank set up by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in 1962 now holds 115,000 varieties of one of the world's most important grains.

"We've got genes stored which could potentially help us increase the yields of rice, improve pest tolerance and disease resistance, and help us address the effects of climate change," IRRI geneticist Fiona Hay said.

The rice varieties are grown at IRRI's sprawling complex at the university town of Los Banos, two hours' drive south of Manila, so that they can be provided -- free of charge -- to farmers or governments around the world.

Yet Hay said that rice varieties were constantly being lost forever, despite the preservation efforts of IRRI, a non-profit organisation funded by governments, multilateral banks and philanthropists.

Such losses are under a global spotlight this week as delegates from more than 190 countries meet at a UN summit in Nagoya, Japan, to map out a strategy to stop the world's rapid loss of biodiversity in all plants and animals.

A rice variety can easily vanish due to pests, disease, drought or other natural disasters like a cyclone, or if for some reason farmers simply stop planting it, Hay said.

Not just urbanisation, but even farming can push wild rice varieties into extinction.

And while some countries run their own gene banks, they are not always successful in preserving seeds. In the tropics, high humidity causes rice seeds to spoil after several years, Hay said.

At the IRRI gene bank in the Philippines, seeds are stored in dry and cool conditions and can remain usable for up to 40 years.

The institute keeps its base collection in tiny, sealed, bar-coded aluminium cans in a room kept at a temperature well below freezing.

They include a Malaysian variety that was collected soon after the gene bank opened in 1962, some reed-like Latin American ones that grow taller than a man, and Indian varieties that look more like crawling weeds.

Duplicates in small foil sachets of about 400 seeds each are stored in a separate vault kept at two degrees Celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) and low humidity for passing on to those who need them for farming or research.

Given the importance of the collection, extra insurance is always desirable -- hence the rice gene bank being duplicated in Svalbard, Norway, Hay told AFP on a tour last week of the Philippine facility.

Since the Svalbard seed vault opened in February 2008, IRRI has reproduced 70,000 of its own grains and sent them in tiny freeze-dried aluminium cans to northern Norway, in a series of flights that take four days.

One final delivery of about 40,000 varieties is due to be flown out from Manila airport this week to complete the project.

The seeds include those no longer grown by farmers, plus 4,000-odd weeds with genes harnessed by scientists to make the rice plant more aromatic and more resistant to pests and disease, and tolerant of drought and saltwater.

Once completed, the Norway facility will act as a further backup to a US Department of Agriculture vault in Colorado that already holds duplicates of IRRI's seeds.

IRRI has in particular helped Cambodia's farmers to recover from the ravages of war. The Khmer Rouge regime killed millions of people -- many through starvation -- and forced farmers to grow only certain rice varieties in the 1970s.

Flora de Guzman, senior research manager of the gene bank, said she had once processed a request by Cambodia to send back seeds for about 500 of their native rice varieties.

"They lost the materials during the war. We had the collection here, so between 1981 and 1989 we repatriated the varieties that they lost," she said.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.


Mustang Sally Farm

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #46 on: December 30, 2011, 11:04:17 AM »

Chinese Technology To Increase Rice Yields
29 December 2011



MOZAMBIQUE - Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali has challenged the country's young people, as well as its businesses, to increase food production, by banking on the introduction of new agricultural technologies to increase yields.

This would be possible, he said, through the use of knowledge and techniques learnt through the cooperation between Mozambique and China.
 
According to a report in the Beira daily paper "Diario de Mocambique", Mr Ali was speaking on Monday, during a working visit to the Lower Limpopo irrigation scheme in the southern province of Gaza. Here, in the Ponela block, a rice production project is underway as part of the twinning between Gaza and the Chinese province of Hubei.
 
A memorandum signed between the two provinces in mid-2007 stipulates that in an initial phase the Chinese investors should ensure rice production in an area of 300 hectares.
 
Tests began two years ago, and since then rice production at Ponela has been raised to ten tonnes per hectare. Previously, under the traditional Mozambican system, yields were between two and three tonnes per hectare. The Chinese production techniques have been transferred to about 20 Mozambican farmers to date.
 
"What we want is that Mozambicans, particularly young people and the business sector, should embrace this project enthusiastically, obtaining the technologies and the machinery to increase production levels", said Mr Ali.
 
Gaza has educational institutions that specialise in agriculture, and Mr Ali suggested that students from these colleges should go the Lower Limpopo irrigation scheme for apprenticeships where they would assimilate Chinese rice production techniques.
 
Agricultural engineers and other specialists should also visit Ponela, he said, so that they could understand the Chinese technologies and spread them to other provinces.
 
The Ponela block covers about 11,000 hectares or arable land. 7,000 hectares are worked by commercial farmers, and the other 4,000 hectares are in the hands of around 8,000 peasant producers.


Mustang Sally Farm

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2012, 03:25:57 AM »

Samar Farmers Adapt Rice Ratooning
15 March 2012



PHILIPPINES - Samarnons may adapt rice ratooning to augment their dwindling harvest.

In Pinabacdao town where 756 hectares are devoted to rice farming, the rice ratooning technique will be done along with some other towns in Samar making the total area to be ratooned, 300 hectares, said Nelson Badolid, Municipal Agriculturist.

The idea was conceived in a meeting of agriculturists with Anita Taran, provincial agriculturist.

Ratooning, according to Badolid, is leaving rice stubbles in the field after harvest, applying a bag of fertilizer per hectare, and saturating the field with water. After some time, new grains will sprout and can be harvested after 45 days.

According to the agriculture journal, this is an inexpensive way to produce a second harvest of rice.

Mr Badolid recommended this as it is less affected by the climate and pests because the growing period is short.

“It enables farmers from having a second cropping because when the time comes, the field will then be cleared,” Mr Badolid offered.

Meanwhile, while Samarnons are rejoicing that it is harvest time, the agriculturists are grumbling because of the low productivity. Mr Badolid said that only 60 per cent of the rice grains are filled up because of the inclement weather.

He added that whereas before, farmers were able to harvest some 100-120 bags of rice per hectare, farmers now only get 40 bags due to the change in climate.

“Rains just pour unexpectedly, during the flowering stage, so that the grains end up half filled,” said Mr Badolid.

Pinabacdao Mayor Mario Quijano said he challenged the agriculture department to come up with a technology to cope with the worsening effects of climate change.

Mustang Sally Farm

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #48 on: August 18, 2012, 03:01:20 AM »

India’s 2012/13 Rice Production Forecast Lowered 2.0 Million Tons
17 August 2012



INDIA - Global rice production for 2012/13 is forecast at 463.2 million tons (milled basis), down 1.9 million tons from last month’s forecast and 1.8 million tons below a year earlier. This month’s downward revision is largely due to a smaller global area forecast.

At 158.8 million hectares, global rice area is 1.2 million hectares below last month’s forecast, with India and Brazil accounting for most of the downward revision in global rice area. Global area is virtually unchanged from a year earlier. The average yield remains forecast at 4.35 tons per hectare, fractionally below the year earlier record.

India accounts for the bulk of this month’s downward revision in global production. India’s 2012/13 crop was lowered 2.0 million tons to 98.0 million tons due to a delayed, deficient, and poorly distributed monsoon rainfall that has reduced area and yield potential for growers dependent on the seasonal rains. The forecasted crop is 6 per cent below the year earlier record. India’s 2012/13 total rice area was lowered 1.0 million hectares to 43.0 million hectares, a drop of 1.4 million hectares from a year earlier. At 3.42 tons per hectare, the average yield is down 3 per cent from last year.

Despite the smaller crop, India is projected to have adequate supplies of rice for both its domestic market and global buyers. Elsewhere in Asia, North Korea’s 2012/13 production was lowered 100,000 tons to 1.5 million tons based on severe drought in May and June that was followed by heavy rains and flooding in July. Outside Asia, Brazil’s 2012/13 production was lowered 850,000 tons to 7.82 million based on a much lower area estimate recommended by the US Agricultural Counselor in Brasilia. At 2.4 million hectares, Brazil’s rice area is 350,000 hectares below a year earlier and the lowest in more than a half a century. Finally, the US 2012/13 crop forecast was lowered 1 per cent to 6.05 million tons based on a weaker yield reported by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The southern United States—where the bulk of the US crop is grown—has experienced an extremely hot summer.

These downward revisions were partially offset by several increases. First, China’s 2012/13 crop was raised 1.0 million tons to a record 142.0 million tons based on slightly higher area and yield estimates. Weather has generally been favorable in China for rice production this year. South Korea’s 2012/13 production was raised 100,000 tons to 4.3 million based on a higher area forecast recommended by the US Agricultural Counselor in Seoul. This is the first year-to-year area increase for South Korea since 2001/02. Finally, Mexico’s 2012/13 production forecast was raised 25,000 tons to 153,000 tons based on a larger area estimate recommended by the US Agricultural Counselor in Mexico City. At 45,000 hectares, rice area in Mexico is the highest since 2009/10.

Despite the downward revision in production, global rice supplies are expected to be plentiful in 2012/13. Record crops are projected for four Asian exporters—Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam—and a near-record crop is projected for Pakistan. Among the non-Asian exporters, Australia, Egypt, and the United States are project to harvest larger crops in 2012/13 than in 2011/12.

Global production for 2011/12 is estimated at a record 465.0 million tons, up 1.1 million tons from last month’s estimate and 3.5 per cent above a year earlier. India accounted for the bulk of this month’s upward revision in 2011/12 production. India’s 2011/12 crop was raised 920,000 tons to a record 104.32 million tons based on the Government of India’s Fourth Advance Estimate. Indonesia’s 2011/12 crop was raised 200,000 tons to 36.5 million based on a slightly higher harvested area for its third crop. These upward revisions were partly offset by a 40,000-ton reduction in Brazil’s 2011/12 production forecast to 7.82 million tons based on a smaller yield reported by the Government of Brazil.

Global disappearance for 2012/13 is projected at a record 466.4 million tons, down 0.4 million from last month’s forecast, but almost 2 per cent larger than a year earlier. Consumption forecasts were raised this month for China and Indonesia, but lowered for Brazil and India.

On a year-to-year basis, Bangladesh, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam account for most of the expected increase in global domestic use. Global ending stocks for 2012/13 are projected at 101.8 million tons, down 0.7 million tons from last month and 3.2 million tons below a year earlier, with India and Brazil accounting for most of this month’s downward revision. The global stocks-to-use ratio for 2012/13 is calculated at 21.8 per cent, down from 22.9 per cent a year earlier. Despite the downward revision in production, global rice supplies are expected to be plentiful in 2012/13. Record crops are projected for four Asian exporters—Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam—and a near-record crop is projected for Pakistan.

Among the non-Asian exporters, Australia, Egypt, and the United States are project to harvest larger crops in 2012/13 than in 2011/12. Global production for 2011/12 is estimated at a record 465.0 million tons, up 1.1 million tons from last month’s estimate and 3.5 per cent above a year earlier. India accounted for the bulk of this month’s upward revision in 2011/12 production. India’s 2011/12 crop was raised 920,000 tons to a record 104.32 million tons based on the Government of India’s Fourth Advance Estimate. Indonesia’s 2011/12 crop was raised 200,000 tons to 36.5 million based on a slightly higher harvested area for its third crop. These upward revisions were partly offset by a 40,000-ton reduction in Brazil’s 2011/12 production forecast to 7.82 million tons based on a smaller yield reported by the Government of Brazil. Global disappearance for 2012/13 is projected at a record 466.4 million tons, down 0.4 million from last month’s forecast, but almost 2 per cent larger than a year earlier. Consumption forecasts were raised this month for China and Indonesia, but lowered for Brazil and India.

On a year-to-year basis, Bangladesh, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam account for most of the expected increase in global domestic use. Global ending stocks for 2012/13 are projected at 101.8 million tons, down 0.7 million tons from last month and 3.2 million tons below a year earlier, with India and Brazil accounting for most of this month’s downward revision. The global stocks-to-use ratio for 2012/13 is calculated at 21.8 per cent, down from 22.9 per cent a year earlier.

Mustang Sally Farm

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2013, 09:31:57 AM »
An agreement to help Filipino rice farmers produce more rice under the Philippines’ Food Staples Sufficiency Program was signed yesterday morning by Philippine Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Director General Robert Zeigler of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The FSSP is aimed at the country achieving self-sufficiency in rice and other food staples by 2013 – the National Year of Rice.
 
“Indeed, this is an opportune time to renew our partnership with IRRI, which has been a strong ally and supporter since 1960, as we are nearing our goal of rice sufficiency,” said Agriculture Secretary Alcala at the signing of this memorandum of agreement (MOA).
 
Backed with full support from the Department of Agriculture, the 5-year agreement – “Sustaining rice self-sufficiency and food security in the Philippines” – outlines areas of collaboration to support, extend, and fast-track the delivery of the Philippines’ Food Staples Sufficiency Program.
 
These include producing and distributing high-quality and improved rice seeds; developing varieties that are able to withstand salinity, flooding, and drought; using geographic information systems to monitor rice crops; and exploring new and modern farming systems or technologies that would help expand current areas of production.
 
Moreover, best agricultural practices and support tools are going to be developed and disseminated, which will include skills training for extension and field workers.
 
"IRRI provides technical assistance crucial for rice-sector strategy and planning," said Zeigler. "IRRI's key contributions help improve farm productivity and profitability while keeping in mind sustainability.”
 
He added that the best IRRI science has been openly and freely available to public and private Philippine stakeholders since the Institute was established in the country in 1960.
 
Through the signing of the agreement, IRRI and the DA will renew their commitment and will work together toward reducing poverty and hunger, improving the health of both farmers and consumers, and ensuring food and environmental sustainability in the Philippines.
 
The MOA was signed at the Agribusiness Development Center, DA in Quezon City and, immediately after its signing, the DA, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and IRRI came together for a series of planning and budget workshops on its implementation. The resulting budget is expected to be significantly larger than that of previous agreements between the DA and IRRI.

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Re: International Rice News:
« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2013, 01:37:16 AM »
MANILA, Philippines, November 14, 2013 (ENS) – Amidst the deaths and devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan that lashed the Philippines last weekend, the island nation has caught a much-needed break. The rice crop was spared because the storm struck in between planting seasons, say officials with the International Rice Research Institute.

Leyte, the province that endured the worst of the typhoon, is a rice–producing province, with more than 100,000 hectares of rice land. Between 2000 and 2009, Leyte posted the third biggest increase in rice production among all provinces, and has the highest average annual growth rate in terms of yield per hectare.

rice farmer
One of the Philippines’ many rice farmers (Photo courtesy IRRI)
 
Coming from an assessment meeting with the Philippine Department of Agriculture today, V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnership, said that the typhoon struck Leyte after most farms had already completed their wet season harvest and were just starting to prepare for the dry season crop.

“The most serious issues will arise from extensive losses resulting from the storm surge – in farm machinery, storage, housing, and damage to roads and irrigation. These will need replacement and rehabilitation,” said Dr. Tolentino.

“In the meantime,” he said, “access to markets is constrained and household food stocks are down to zero, causing a spike in local food prices.”

As of tonight, the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center confirmed that the typhoon has claimed 2,357 lives.

The number of confirmed deaths is much lower than the 10,000 estimated by local Leyte officials immediately after the storm.

In addition 3,853 people are reported injured and 77 are still missing, nearly a week after the storm left the islands heading westward across the South China Sea.

A total of 8.67 million Filipinos were affected in some way by the typhoon.

IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler expressed his condolences to those affected and linked the severity of the storm to climate change.

“In all of my years in the Philippines, since 1992, I have never seen devastation of this scale,” he said. “Like many of you, I am deeply saddened by the great loss of life and massive destruction caused by this typhoon.”

Dr. Ismail, Plant Physiologist at IRRI, inspects rice varieties with the sub 1 gene. The sub 1 gene is responsible for flood tolerance in rice. (Photo courtesy IRRI)
Dr. Abdelbagi Ismail, a plant physiologist at IRRI, inspects rice varieties with the sub 1 gene, which is responsible for flood tolerance in rice. (Photo courtesy IRRI)
 
IRRI staff and friends are collecting donations of money and supplies for people affected by the typhoon.

As climate change continues to add to challenges for rice production, Filipino farmers respond by planting climate change-ready rice varieties developed by IRRI and released by the Philippine government.

About five million farmers across Asia are now using “scuba” or flood-tolerant rice, which can withstand submergence for up to two weeks.

IRRI has released 101 improved rice varieties in the Philippines, including “scuba rice,” known by its local variety name, “Submarino.”

As part of its response to help people affected by the typhoon, the International Rice Research Institute, with the Department of Agriculture, will provide seeds of flood-tolerant rice to farmers.

“The current rice crop in the affected regions accounts for less than 10 percent of the Philippines’ annual national rice production, and most of the rice crop in these regions had already been harvested before the typhoon came,” said Samarendu Mohanty, IRRI economist and head of the institute’s social science and policy arm.

Still, Dr. Mohanty said that it will take more time to determine the full extent of the damage to the country’s rice crop. The extent of flood damage to rice that was stored on farms and in public and private warehouses remains to be seen.

Philippine rice farmers have to cope with more than 20 typhoons each year. Super Typhoon Yolanda/Hiayan was the 25th typhoon to hit the islands this year.

IRRI continues to work on making rice more resistant to extreme weather conditions. This includes studying how rice can thrive despite salty soil, hot or cold weather, submergence and drought.

 

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