IRRI in Asia
Catalyzing change and impact in the region with science and technology
Asia, with millions of families coming from a wide diversity of socioeconomic, political, religious, and cultural backgrounds, is united in one meal staple: a bowl of rice. Across the world, leading rice producing countries are found in Asia (yields), with India (46.28 m/ha), China (29.92 m/ha), Bangladesh (11.62 m/ha), Indonesia (11.6 m/ha), Thailand (10.7m/ha), and Vietnam (7.19 m/ha) in the lead. However, as the population and rice demand increase, rice farmers continue to struggle as they face the effects of climate change, loss of arable land, and shortages of agricultural labor due to urban migration.
In business now for 62 years, IRRI in Asia continues to provide innovative technological solutions to address problems and gaps in rice-based systems in partnerships with the state, private sector organizations, and financing institutions.
Healthier rice as a nutrition intervention: Insights from consumers’ acceptance and valuation of brown, colored, and low-GI rice
Insights on consumers’ food choices through their behavioral intentions to consume healthier rice types (i.e., brown, pigmented, low-GI) may guide policymakers and nutritionists in designing and implementing nutrition-sensitive interventions.
Nutrition is the critical link between the components of the food systems and health and nutrition. Unacceptable levels of malnutrition persist globally, particularly in low-income countries where it is critical for reducing diet-related diseases.
An online survey of Philippine household foodrelated decision-makers revealed that middle-class consumers are willing to pay approximately USD 0.97/kg for healthier rice types, which is significantly more affordable than the market price of premium white rice.
Incorporating consumers’ food choices in the design of nutrition interventions is important because choices are not only based on physiological needs, but also on preferences, hedonic motivations, and socio-demographic contexts.
Pest surveillance and early-warning system
IRRI, in partnership with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and the Department of Agriculture (DA), have developed and operationalized a national pest surveillance and early-warning system for rice. Through a 4-year project, the Pest Risk Identification and Management (PRIME, https://pestrisk.da.gov.ph), a standard procedure to assess and report the incidence of rice pests and diseases has been adopted by regional partners who regularly monitor about 2,800 rice fields throughout the Philippines. The collected pest-surveillance data serve as the basis for the development of pre-semester and monthly bulletins that provide timely pest-management recommendations to reduce yield losses and mitigate pest risks. In addition, an automated alert or early warning is sent via email to relevant offices and regional partners when elevated pest cases are reported. In 2022, the management of PRIME was transferred to BPI, which has the mandate on pest surveillance and early warning.
Closing the rice-yield gaps
Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with a Reduced Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP) was a 10-year initiative that concluded in 2022. In the project’s last phase, numerous knowledge resources such as papers, articles, and videos were shared through different learning alliances. A total of 282 knowledge products are available at the CORIGAP Legacy site to learn more about the rice management practices to help reduce the yield gap. CORIGAP was divided into three phases: (1) understanding the yield gap and its contribution to food security, (2) promoting sustainable bestmanagement practices for reducing rice yield gaps in the lowlands, and (3) developing knowledge products and learning alliances, ensuring that sustainable management practices were shared through key stakeholders.
CORIGAP was divided into three phases: (1) understanding the yield gap and its contribution to food security, (2) promoting sustainable best-management practices for reducing rice yield gaps in the lowlands, and (3) developing knowledge products and learning alliances, ensuring that sustainable management practices were shared through key stakeholders.
For some background on the CORIGAP-Vietnam connection to achieve a sustainable rice sector there, view a video on YouTube ahttps://youtu.be/5jegamdq1OQ.