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April 2006, Vol. 1, No. 2 Volume 8, Number 1, 23rd issue January-June 2013

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Irrigated Rice Research Consortium

Rice Research for Intensified Production and Prosperity in Lowland Ecosystems

The vision of CORIGAP

Pakkawit Anantaya/Photos.com

he past decade has shown an average rice yield increase of 1% per annum in Asia. However, to meet the growing demand for food and keep the price of rice affordable for the poor, the annual yield increase has to be around 1.5%. The gap between actual yield and attainable yield (defined as 80% of potential yield) is substantial at around 2.5 tons per hectare, according to a yield gap assessment conducted in major rice granaries of Asia. Increasing yields can be accomplished through further intensification, but this needs to be done despite scarcity of resources (i.e., water, land, energy, labor), while minimizing the negative environmental consequences such as soil degradation, water pollution, overuse of pesticides, loss of biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) was created in 1997 to provide a venue for linkages among national agricultural research and extension systems, government agencies, nongovernment organizations, academic institutions, and the private sector. The IRRC provided a partnership mechanism within the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), a CGIAR research program on rice. The IRRC technologies such as site-specific nutrient management, alternate wetting and drying, direct seeding, improved postharvest practices, and ecologically based pest management are very successful when applied individually. In recent years, national partners have packaged individual practices into integrated management systems in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China. These programs are quite successful at the

Grant Singleton

pilot level; the challenge is to scale them out to millions of farmers. The Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia (CORIGAP) Project will develop best management platforms to underpin the certification of farmers who implement good agricultural practices for rice or Rice GAP. The overall objective of CORIGAP is to improve food security and gender equity and alleviate poverty by optimizing the productivity (resource-use efficiency) and sustainability of irrigated rice production systems. This will be achieved through new science-based tools and participatory methods that (1) generate evidence of increased profitability for smallholder farmers through an integrated approach to crop and natural resource management, (2)
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The vision of CORIGAP

optimize integrated sustainable rice production systems, and (3) reduce rice yield gaps in lowland rice cropping systems by combining the outputs from (1) and (2). Learning alliances among farmers, researchers, and extension staff from both the public and private sector will play a powerful role in this process. The project will help local partners define the indicators needed to assess the different aspects of the cropping system and value chain performance with the use of a modeling tool called the field calculator. The aim is to both optimize profit and reduce the environmental footprint of rice production in these granaries. Increased rice yields, reduced costs of production, and reduced environmental impacts in the major rice granaries will enhance regional and global food security while at the same time alleviate poverty and protect the environment. Specifically, the goal is to sustainably increase rice yield by 10% by 2016 in three major rice granaries and by 20% in six granaries for 500,000 smallholder farmers by 2022. This will lead to an increased income (profit) of approximately 20% for 500,000 smallholder families by 2022. CORIGAP will primarily strengthen GRiSP Program 3Ecological and sustainable management of rice-based production systemswhile also cross-linking to the other five programs of GRiSP. The governance structure of the CORIGAP Project consists of a regional advisory committee, a management team, country hubs, and a coordination unit.
Map by Cornelia Garcia

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What has the IRRC achieved in the past 16 years?


IRRC delivers sixfold economic return A US$12 million investment in rice research by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has returned more than $70 million in benefits to rice farmers and national economies in four Asian countries, according to a new meta-impact report. The report looked at a selection of natural resource management technologies rolled out by the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It aimed to see whether the technologies delivered benefits such as increased productivity for rice farmers, improved livelihood and food security, and stronger social cohesion. We greatly appreciate the evidence of impact provided in this report, said Carmen Thoennissen, senior advisor, Global Program Food Security, SDC. Commissioned by SDC to assess the effectiveness of its international research programs, the report is the first to look at natural resource management technologies on an international scale, encompassing several countries. Titled Metaimpact assessment of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC), it shows a sixfold return on SDC investment over 16 years. This is a conservative estimate since only a subset of the farming technologies funded was assessed, and in only 4 of 11 countries where the IRRC has had collaborative research. Moreover, by 2016, the return on investment could skyrocket to 25 times the original investment. It substantiates the effectiveness of SDCs focus and IRRIs work on natural resource and crop management research, its global public good nature, and will definitely guide SDCs future investment on system productivity enhancement to sustainably close yield gaps, Thoennissen added.
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Roderick Rejesus Adrienne Martin Phrek Gypmantasiri Grant Singleton Bianca Ferrer

The meta-impact study was an independent report commissioned jointly by IRRI and SDC. The panel members who conducted the study were Dr. Rod Rejesus, an agricultural economist and impact specialist from North Carolina State University; Dr. Adrienne Martin, a specialist in social science and extension pathways from the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich; and Phrek Gypmantasiri, an agronomist from Chiang Mai University. They concluded that the IRRC provided an important framework for partnership between national agricultural research and extension systems and the private sector in 11 Asian countries. The IRRC platform facilitated the adoption of technologies that help rice farmers to increase their individual profits and also address natural resource management challenges for lowland irrigated rice production. Since IRRC began in 1997, it has benefited around 1.2 million farmers through rice production technologies and capacity building. Were immensely grateful to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which provided funding to the IRRC. Without their
Children from a rice farming village in Bangladesh show their best smiles for the camera.

support, all of the positive impact would not have taken place, said Dr. Grant Singleton, IRRC coordinator and senior scientist at IRRI. The IRRC, no doubt, was a good catalyst for natural resource management impacts in Asia. This was made possible through cross-country learning and forging of partnerships. Through these also, the IRRC was able to help countries identify their rice research needs or extension priorities, and then assisted them in overcoming these challenges. The success of the IRRC in promoting natural resource management technology development and dissemination highlighted the value of a consortium-based approach, Dr. Singleton added. A long-term investment that paid handsome dividends The IRRC was established in 1997 with the aim of providing a platform to facilitate identification, development, dissemination, and adoption of natural resource management (NRM) technologies suitable for irrigated rice-based ecosystems in several Asian countries. After 16 years of investment, the SDC is interested

Photo by Grant Singleton

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What has the IRRC achieved in the past 16 years?


in whether IRRCs efforts resulted in meaningful impacts and whether benefits of the research outweigh the investment. A metaimpact assessment approach was used, in which the analysis of impact evidence mainly relies on existing documents (or studies), easily accessible data sources, and short field visits. The meta-impact panel undertook a multidimensional approach to assess the impact (i.e., economic, sociocultural, environmental, policy, scientific, institutional) of technologies developed and disseminated by IRRC partners, as well as to document the pathways and mechanisms that led to the successful adoption of these technologies. The analysis suggests that the overall impact of IRRC more than compensates for the research investments made. The IRRC has been an effective international platform for strengthening NRM research in Asian irrigated ricebased systems. IRRCs institutional emphasis on partnerships, collaborations, and cross-country learning strongly contributed to the variety and magnitude of the impacts generated. Economic impact Based on an economic surplus analysis approach, the improved economic welfare of farmers from the adoption of IRRC technologies are impressive. Over the life of the project (19972012), the rate of returns to the total research investment ranged from 6% to 30% (or benefit-cost ratios [BCRs] ranging from 1:1 to 4:1). When considering all technologies in the surplus analysis, total research investment of around $18.5 million resulted in economic benefits of about $70.5 million. If a longer period (19972016) is considered (where the project benefits four more years to the future), the rate of returns to the total IRRC research investments would have an even

Photo by Madonna Casimero

Men and women farmers reap a bountiful harvest in Konawe, South Sulawesi. This area adopted site-specific nutrient management principles with other IRRC natural resource management technologies.

larger magnitude, ranging from 25% to 43% (or BCRs from 4:1 to 16:1). The SDC investment alone has even higher values (e.g., 1434% for 19972012 and 2946% for 19972016). These rates of return are consistent with those of existing studies that evaluated different NRM technologies. But these measures are still typically lower than the surplus measures calculated for genetic/ varietal improvement (or breedingbased) research. Note, however, that the analysis here only considered a subset of NRM technologies for a select set of countries and it may be possible that the surplus measures for IRRC can come close to the varietal improvement research values when all technology-country combinations are considered. Sociocultural, gender, institutional, and policy impacts In general, the IRRC technologies produced tangible sociocultural, gender, institutional, and policy impacts. Common sociocultural impacts documented are improved farmer livelihoods and well-being, better food security, reduced vulnerability to adverse economic and climatic conditions,

change in farmers beliefs about traditional agricultural practices, improved social cohesion in communities (i.e., for ecologically based rodent management and alternate wetting and drying), and reduced social conflicts. Scientific and human resource development impacts A total of 461 publications have been produced over the four phases of the project, and these have been cited in international literature over 5,000 times. IRRC publications evolved such that NARES partners and scientists became increasingly included in the scientific outputs as the Consortium progressed through its four phases, which is indicative of successful capacity building in partner countries. The IRRCs human resource development efforts include training, workshops, seminars, internships, and advanced studies leading to graduate degrees (masters and doctorate degrees). The beneficiaries of IRRCs human development efforts have included NARES personnel, farmers, NGOs, the private sector, and students.
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Thai farmers discuss needs with CORIGAP team


ne of the six major rice granaries that the Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia (CORIGAP) Project will be focusing on is Thailand. Some people might find this surprising, given that Thailand has been a top rice exporter in the world for several decades. However, Thailands average rice production yield is low compared with other countries in the region. What they lack in yield, they make up for by their large rice planting area, with only 24% of the land irrigated. In early 2012, the Thai government pushed for their rice production to be environmentally sustainable; hence, the government requested to be part of the new project. On 13-14 May, CORIGAP coordinator Grant Singleton and CORIGAP Thailand key scientists Ruben Lampayan and Ladda Viriyangkura conducted a needs assessment in Nakhon Sawan Province in the north with three farmers groups. (Learn more about our new CORIGAP key partner Ladda Viriyangkura on page 11). Farmers interviewed in the three villagesBan Nong Jik Ree, Ban Tale Wah, and Ban Sapan Songwere composed of seed and grain producers. CORIGAP communication specialist Trina Mendoza also conducted a communication audit to find out the existing and preferred communication sources and tools of farmers in the project sites. She learned that the village farmers preferred posters showing real photos (e.g., of plants, pests, and diseases) as compared with cartoons or drawings. They were also eager to learn from educational videos rather than from videos with some form of entertainment. Some clear findings that stood out from the needs assessment was that farmers experienced a 1525% yield gap and wished to increase their production efficiency (i.e., reduce
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Trina Leah Mendoza

Photos by Trina Mendoza

Ladda Viriyangkura (foreground in white shirt), the CORIGAP key scientist for Thailand, asks the women of Sapan Song Village about their rice farming needs and problems.

Thailand Rice Department staff Rasamee Dhitikiattipong (left, foreground) and Julmanee Pithuncharurnlap (second from right) translate the discussion between farmers and Ruben Lampayan (far right), CORIGAP key scientist for Thailand.

their expenses on input costs). Seed growers requested for better storage to improve quality of their seed. In a subsequent meeting at the Rice Department of Thailand, activities for the 2013 monsoon season were planned. These included introducing the IRRI Super Bag and

cocoon, reviewing the issues on the effect of land leveling on crop production, and preparations made to conduct household surveys. A meeting was set for October to plan for the activities for the 2013 dry season.

CORIGAP coordinator Grant Singleton (second from left) talks with seed and grain producers from Nong Jik Ree Village.

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What has the IRRC achieved in the past 16 years?


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Impact pathways, process evaluation, and policy influence The continuity of IRRC over its 15-year period fostered trust among country partners and, in turn, provided the necessary stability to encourage participating researchers to be creative, share ideas, develop concepts, and test new approaches in an interdisciplinary fashion. Analysis of the impact pathways for the different technologies shows a wealth of country-specific strategies used for increasing knowledge and access to these technologies and for promoting farmer uptake. Greater impact was realized where there are strong multistakeholder groupings and/or local technology champions. The IRRC demonstrated a high degree of flexibility and responsiveness to the lessons learned throughout the four phases of the project. IRRCs position as a consortium established a wide stakeholder interest group and created a direct connection to country policy and research/extension practice which,

in its absence, would have been difficult for IRRI researchers to achieve for multiple countries.

A farmer from the Me Linh District in Hanoi, Vietnam, uses a leaf color chart to determine his crops nitrogen status.

Lessons learned The panel concluded that the IRRC should be commended for the resources that were devoted to documenting the different impacts of the technologies developed and disseminated. The number of studies that use both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the impacts of various technologies in different partner countries is quite impressive. The panel also determined that assessment work of the IRRC could be more persuasive if the following were undertaken: (a) further investigation of the heterogeneity of impacts across different groups of farmers and/ or stakeholders, and by gender; (b) more use of state-of-the-art

impact assessment methodologies to examine further the economic and sociocultural impacts of IRRC technologies and account for such issues as selection bias; and (c) investment of more effort in assessing the take-up and adoption numbers for high-potential IRRC technologies across all countries.

The text is lifted from the executive summary of the IRRC meta-impact assessment. Read more about it at http:// books.irri.org/9789712202971_content.pdf .
Trina Leah Mendoza

Workshop to kick-start CORIGAP held at IRRI


ountry partners from six rice bowls in Asia and IRRI scientists met for the inception and planning workshop of the new project Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia (CORIGAP) on 12-13 March at IRRI headquarters. In his welcome remarks, Bas Bouman, Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) director, highlighted new components of CORIGAP that will add value to the IRRCs work, such as modeling tools and software to measure environmental impact. Grant Singleton, CORIGAP coordinator, gave an overview of the project and facilitated discussions on issues such as links with rice breeding programs and the Sustainable Rice Platform. IRRI scientists Ruben Lampayan, Martin Gummert, and

Bhagirath Chauhan presented opportunities and new research in their respective fields: water use efficiency and productivity, postharvest, and crop establishment and weed management. Takahiro Sato, cropping systems analyst, introduced the field calculator approach, while soil chemist Sarah Beebout discussed how the project can collect evidence to be able to reduce ecological footprint of intensive lowland irrigated rice systems. Digna Manzanilla, associate coordinator of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments, talked about how gender can be mainstreamed into project activities, while value chain specialist Matty Demont discussed business models and pathways to better market models.

Communication specialist Trina Mendoza presented communication activities in 2013, while Reianne Quilloy guided participants in using the CORIGAP Project Google site. The participants were also given a demonstration on using WebEx for web-based meetings. Partners from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and China developed and presented activity plans for 2013. In his closing remarks, David Johnson, Crop and Environmental Sciences Division head, said that not all national programs of South and Southeast Asia may be involved in CORIGAP, but achieving tremendous impact in these six countries would mean a great deal in improving farmers livelihoods, food security, and environmental sustainability in Asia.
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Farmers choice

Trina Leah Mendoza

Labutta farmers prepare portions of the top selected varieties for sensory evaluation.

Photo by Trina Mendoza

Soe Moe Kyaws family was fishing in a different village when Cyclone Nargis hit their township in May 2008 with unexpectedly devastating effects. He lost several of his relatives, including his wife and child. As his family suffered a tragic loss, they stopped fishing and turned to rice farming in their village, vowing to always be close to their home and loved ones in case another catastrophe strikes. However, their village in Labutta Township near the river is prone to saltwater intrusion, and rice crops could never survive during the dry season. Thus, he and many other farmers in the lower Ayeyarwady Delta can only plant one rice crop per year during the wet season, growing mostly traditional low-yielding varieties, since adapted, modern varieties are usually not available. During the wet season, farmers experience floods frequently. IRRI is now working with Myanmars Department of Agricultural Research (DAR),
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Department of Agriculture, and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) Welthungerhilfe, Mercy Corps, and GRET to enable farmers to cope with climate change in rice production along the coastal areas of Ayeyarwady Delta. Funded by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) Project aims to improve food security and the livelihoods of 1,500 rice-producing households,
U Soe Moe Kyaw, a farmer from the township of Labutta, shares his experience in joining the participatory varietal selection.

particularly in the Labutta, Bogale, and Mawlamyinegyun townships. Activities of the 3-year project include farmers participatory varietal selection (PVS) of highyielding varieties for favorable areas and stress-tolerant varieties for the salt- and flood-prone areas, postharvest management practices, adaptive crop management practices, and capacity building of NGOs and local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) staff in rice agronomy and rice-based farming systems . Farmers in these townships will not just be provided with higher yielding rice varieties that can withstand floods and saltwater; they are given the power to choose the right varieties for them through the PVS process. Usually, conventional breeding programs test varieties in research stations, which do not represent farmers fields. Furthermore, farmers are often consulted only at the end of the process, when newly released varieties are evaluated in on-farm demonstration trials. Also, varietal release systems prioritize grain yield, while farmers look for other traits when choosing varieties. Thus, often enough, varieties developed by breeders do not match the farmers needs and criteria in choosing varieties. With PVS, breeders, agronomists, and agricultural extension staff learn which varieties perform well on-station and on-farm. Farmers, on the other hand, are involved in the selection process from planning to the final selection stage. The LIFT Project conducted

Photo by Romeo Labios

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Farmers choice
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Photo by Romeo Labios

PVS trials in the wet and dry seasons of 2012-13 in farmers fields in Bogale, Labutta, and Mawlamyinegyun. Researchermanaged or mother trials were set up in 15 selected villages, comparing nine salt-tolerant rice varieties, two high-yielding varieties, and the farmers variety during the dry season of 201213. Three of these villages are classified as freshwater areas, while the rest are moderate to heavy salinity-prone areas. Male and female farmers, agricultural extension staff, and researchers participated in preference analyses to evaluate and select the top three or four most preferred varieties. Among the traits the farmers preferred were tolerance for saltwater or floods, early maturity, resistance to pest and diseases, uniform plant height, good tillering, more spikelets per panicle, and bigger grain size. The eating and cooking qualities of the selected top varieties were assessed through sensory evaluation. In choosing the best cooked sample, the traits that farmers liked were good aroma, white color, glossy finish, cohesiveness, and good taste. Results of the preference analysis and sensory evaluation, along with grain yield, were the basis in identifying the best performing and suitable varieties in the locality. These varieties were recommended for seed multiplication that will be used in the next phase of PVSthe farmermanaged trials or baby trials. These varieties will then be multiplied at DAR in Yezin and other seed production centers of the Department in the delta. The seeds will be given to farmers interested in participating in the PVS farmermanager trials. Each farmer-partner will select 13 new varieties and receive 510 kilograms of seeds to be planted in his or her farm. To sustain the availability of good-

quality seeds in the community, selected farmers will produce seeds in their farms with guidance from technical project staff. DAR will provide them with foundation or registered seeds. Although it is only the second season that farmers are trying PVS, they already have insights and A Bogale Township farmer evaluates and selects her top four experiences to most preferred rice varieties. share. U Soe Moe Kyaw and his Dr. Casimero and PVS father U Hla Than have identified consultant Romeo Labios, both their preferred varieties. For my agronomists, agree that adjusting crops to avoid the harsh saltwater the cropping calendar will allow in April, we just need to plant farmers to plant another crop in in December instead of January, the dry season, avoiding the high one month earlier in the dry salinity levels in the months of season, U Soe Moe Kyaw added. March and April, and help them This will ensure that their preferred salt-tolerant varieties will earn more income. Already, the PVS trials are providing a glimmer be harvested before the salinity of hope for these farmers, who are level of the river water gets too used to relying on one rice crop per high, explains IRRI Myanmar representative Madonna Casimero. year for their food and livelihood.

Photo by Romeo Labios

Farmers in Labutta Township write down their assessment of the eating and cooking quality of the selected top varieties.

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PROFILE

Rona Nia Rojas-Azucena

A model of balance
e knew early on what career he wanted to pursuenot many are that lucky. For Roderick Rejesus, a Filipino professor of agricultural economics at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the USA, there was no question on the path he wanted to take. As a student in high school, the subject of economics held a certain brand of interest for Dr. Rejesus. I was interested in the logic of it, he explains. Theres an elegant explanation to a phenomenon. Theres a logical, mathematical, or graphical model behind whatever human behavior its explaining. Thats the attraction to me. He went on to study his bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics at the University of the Philippines Los Baos (UPLB). After graduating with honors from UPLB in 1992, he pursued his masters degree at Clemson University, South Carolina, USA. By 2001, he finished his PhD in agricultural economics

from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. He first worked as a researcher at Tarleton State University in Texas, then was given a teaching and research appointment at Texas Tech University before finally moving to North Carolina. Dr. Rejesus currently serves as an associate professor at the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in NCSU. One of his main areas of research is impact assessment of agricultural technologies. It is this expertise that led the IRRC to commission Dr. Rejesus to do an external review of the Consortium. He led a team of three independent consultants to evaluate the various dimensions of impact that the IRRC activities and programs had over the past 16 years. He presented the results of the meta-impact study in a seminar held in IRRI headquarters on 18 April. He concluded that the overall economic welfare impact of the IRRC more than compensates for the research investments that were made by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and other donors. The partnerships, collaboration, and crosscountry learning activities of the IRRC contributed to the range and magnitude of the impact the Consortium has made.
Rod Rejesus, with his wife and kids, during a Christmas holiday. His wife, Janina, is a Filipina nurse working in the US.

The consortium-approach may be a good model for agricultural institutions involved in the research and outreach of natural resource management, he concludes. The math-y professor Dr. Rejesus credits his parents who are both former professors of entomology in UPLBfor the highly academic environment he had growing up in Los Baos. It was what influenced his path in becoming a professor. It may not be the most lucrative profession, he admits, but he loves the fact that he largely controls his own time. As long as, in the end, I have my output or publication. Dr. Rejesus is very supportive of students who plan to pursue higher studies in economics. When asked how he would like potential students to prepare for it, his response is straightforward, Take more math! And statistics! He laughs as he says this, but the conviction behind it is not diminished. He motivates his students and advisees to work very hard to improve their skills and team up with other students. He encourages them to participate in conferences and seminars to develop a professional mentality. I want to teach them to be professional. If they learn how to be one, I feel better knowing that when they graduate, they could handle themselves and accomplish what is expected of them. As a researcher, a different type of satisfaction is achieved whenever he gets published in a reputable journal or sees his research publication cited by somebody else. Of relevance and balance Dr. Rejesus always looks at the trade-offs, the benefits and costs, in daily life. That is how the economist
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Photo by Romulo Perez

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PROFILE

Trina Leah Mendoza

Setting standards

average yield is relatively lower than or the past three decades, in other countries in the region. Thailand has been the worlds Many farmers in the central biggest rice exporter. In 2008, area rent land and, in the northeast, the country focused its efforts on majority are small-scale farmers encouraging farmers to produce with an average of 1 to 2 hectares rice that is grown using good of farm land, Ladda shares. They agricultural practices (GAP). This cannot depend on rice farming for means a shift toward efficiently their livelihoodthey leave their producing sufficient, safe, and farms to work in Bangkok driving nutritious food while sustaining taxis, then go back just in time for and enhancing natural resources. harvesting. The fields are left behind Guidelines were developed on the and not managed well, resulting best pre- and postharvest practices in lower incomes, she explains. to raise standards and certify Farmers are more concerned farmers who meet all criteria. with eating quality, not increase Ladda Viriyangkura is at the Ladda Viriyangkura, in her government officer uniform, serves as a key scientist in in yield, and there are very poor heart of all these changes. Ladda is Thailand for the CORIGAP Project. farmers in the rainfed area with a senior specialist on rice inspection limited irrigation, she adds. focus group discussions with and certification at the Bureau of In Nakhon Sawan Province in Rice Products Development of the farmers to assess their needs. central Thailand, Ladda shares that Thailand Rice Department. Her Ladda knows the plight of main tasks are to develop inspection farmers grow rice all throughout the Thai farmers well since she started year, resulting in problems of pests and certification systems for rice her career at the Department of and diseases, and soil and water production and rice products and Agricultural Extension (DOAE) pollution. These factors and the to integrate international guidelines fresh out of college, with a bachelor fact that farmers there are willing into the Rice Departments of science degree in agronomy from to participate in research activities current working system. Kasetsart University, Bangkok. She were some reasons for choosing Majority of Thai farmers still was stationed at the Lopburi Rice certain villages in the province do not understand the mechanics Seed Center, one of the 23 centers of as sites of the Closing Rice Yield of certification and inspection. We the department, when she received a Gaps in Asia (CORIGAP) Project. still need to educate them, says scholarship to study in the US. Ladda Ladda serves as the key partner Ladda. GAP in Thailand has been completed her masters degree in seed for CORIGAP in Thailand. implemented since 2004, and we technology from Mississippi State Together with Grant Singleton, are quite advanced compared with University and returned to the Seed CORIGAP coordinator, and Ruben other countries. But in Asia, food Division of the DOAE (which was Lampayan, water management safety still needs to be impressed on transferred to the Rice Department specialist and CORIGAP key consumers and producers. Farmers in 2004) with a changed perspective scientist for Thailand, they visited are more concerned with having on rice product development. I the province in May and conducted enough food rather than safe food. wanted to add value to rice and But Thai farmers are starting to continued on page 12 become aware of food safety, Ladda explains. Ladda says the Rice Department does not expect all farmers to be involved in certification, but it encourages farmers to follow GAP to boost production yield. She clarifies that Thailand is a top rice exporter because of its large Ladda (fifth from the left) and CORIGAP coordinator Grant Singleton (right) conduct a needs assessment in rice production area, Nakhon Sawan Province. but Thai farmers

Photo by Trina Mendoza

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A model of balance
viewpoint extends to his personal life. His drive and passion for what he does has earned him numerous awards, citations, and publications. He says that, over time, he learned that he has to do what is relevant to people. As you grow older, you want your work to matter, not just academically, but also to real people. He points out that the work done in IRRI is just like thattechnologies that make a difference in peoples lives, that is. However, when it comes to his greatest accomplishment, Dr. Rejesus states that it is the sense of balance that he now feels he achieved in life. He is grateful that his familyespecially his wife and childrenand career are doing alright.

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That kind of balance I have in my career and personal life is an achievement in itself. He wants to see his children finish college and become productive citizens. For himself, his medium-term goal is to be appointed as a full professor in NCSU. Just to be recognized by your peers that you are a good academicthats the respect you want, says Dr. Rejesus. Its more fun Spending time with the family, traveling, going to the gym, and diving, shares Dr. Rejesus on the things he does to relax and have fun. As an avid diver, he visits the beach whenever he has the chance, especially when in the Philippines. With his wife and three young children, they travel to wherever the children can have the most fun. That usually means amusement parks, landmark areas, and the common tourist destinations in the US. Does he plan to come back to the Philippines? Dr. Rejesus says not in the immediate future. But, definitely, I plan to retire here. Its more fun in the Philippines!

Volume 8, Number 1 January-June 2013


This newsletter is produced by the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The IRRC promotes international links among scientists, managers, communicators, and farmers in lowland irrigated rice environments. Materials in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the official views of IRRI, SDC, or collaborating institutions of the IRRC. Grant Singleton, Trina Leah Mendoza Rona Nia Mae Rojas-Azucena COPY EDITOR Tess Rola LAYOUT Rona Nia Mae Rojas-Azucena 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.irri.org/irrc
Ladda believes that the Rice Department and farmers still have much work to do. Many people misunderstand GAP, she says. GAP does not mean certification; it means producing good, safe products using best practices, leading to better quality. If farmers follow, they will gain benefits, Ladda explains. With Ladda setting the bar high as key partner of their country, the progress of CORIGAP activities in Thailand will surely be exciting to watch in the coming years.
CIRCULATION

Editors

Photo by Ziggy Abella

Rod Rejesus loves to go diving whenever he gets the chance. The town of Anilao in Batangas, Philippines, is one of his favorite diving spots.

Setting standards
make people know rice as more than food for consumption, but rather as a new health food product that is significantly nutritious, she shares. Her role at the Rice Department has taken her to different parts of the world, attending training courses and seminars on seed and food safety and quality control in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Japan, and the US. She particularly enjoyed the Netherlands, not only because the people are nice, friendly, and helpful but also this country, though small,
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is regarded the kitchen of Europe. They export to other countries and their production is so high, and they have a good agricultural and control system, says Ladda. With all her responsibilities, Ladda finds it difficult to squeeze in time for jogging, which she used to do every day in the US as a student and while she was stationed in the province. Now, she tries to run on the treadmill during weekends and relaxes at night by watching TV or reading.

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