Rice farmers tap into good agricultural practices online
Yangon, Myanmar (15 October) -- Increasing rice yields, alleviating poverty, and creating healthy rice-growing ecosystems are the key targets of the launch this week of a web site promoting good agricultural practices (GAP) for irrigated rice.
"Around 75% of rice worldwide is produced on 75 million hectares of intensive, irrigated rice fields," says Dr. Bas Bouman of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), who led the development of the GAP web site.
"We need an additional 8-10 million tons of rice every year for the next twenty years to meet global demand and keep rice affordable for poor rice consumers," he says. "Part of the solution to address this global food security issue is to produce more rice from existing irrigated areas in an environmentally friendly way."
Developed by IRRI through the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC), the GAP site will provide extension agents and agricultural development workers practical solutions to help irrigated rice farmers boost yields, and improve grain quality and production efficiency.
"Adopting the efficient and effective farming practices promoted on the GAP site will go a long way to help lift farmers and their communities out of poverty and hardship, and ensure they have enough rice to eat," says Dr. Grant Singleton, scientist at IRRI and IRRC coordinator. "Women in particular will benefit from labor-saving technologies, such as improved direct seeding, that reduce the drudgery in tasks such as transplanting."
The GAP site also aims to help farmers reduce pesticide, fertilizer, and water use.
"By providing information on integrated and conservation agriculture, and ecologically based pest, nutrient, and water management, the GAP site will also enhance the ecosystem services and resilience of rice environments," says Dr. Bouman.
The GAP site synthesizes decades of collaborative research and development from IRRI and its many partners on best management practices for irrigated rice and will continue to incorporate new knowledge in the future.
The GAP site was launched during the Steering Committee meeting of the IRRC in Myanmar this week. The IRRC, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, provides a framework for partnership between IRRI and national agricultural research and extension systems in 11 Asian countries. (IRRI) [top]