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Agriculture scientists brainstorming session focuses on the climate-smart management of rice-based systems in India

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research–Indian Institute of Rice Research (ICAR-IIRR) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) conducted a virtual brainstorming session on the development and deployment of low-cost, climate-smart, and site-specific strategies for improving productivity, profitability and resilience of rice-based production systems in India.

Around 100 participants from various ICAR institutes and agricultural universities actively took part in Climate-smart management in rice-based systems of India: key learnings, research gaps and way forward for collaborative research, jointly organized by ICAR-IIRR and IRRI  on  27 July.

The brainstorming session were conducted in four breakout groups (irrigated transplanted rice, favorable rainfed lowland, stress environment, and direct-seeded rice). In the breakout session, the participants were invited to discuss through the lens of the following sustainable development goals i.e. 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 5 (gender equality), 13 (climate action) & 17 (partnership for the goals)  on knowledge gaps in respective ecology, potential technologies and practices; future thrust areas for research, and potential partners and collaborators.

Prior to the brainstorming session, IRRI Representative for India Ranjitha Puskur and IRRI Sustainable Impact Platform Lead Jon Hellin, highlighted the emerging need for a consolidated teamwork in a multidisciplinary perspective to develop and fine-tune context-specific climate-smart management practices for ensuring the sustainability of rice-based systems. They emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary teams for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

Dr. Puskur briefed the participating experts on the ongoing unification of agricultural research activities under One CGIAR to provide long-term food security for the growing world population under the threats of climate change. She stressed five areas—systems viewpoint, multidisciplinary networking, impact orientation, innovative approach, future thrust and plan, and mutual strength development—as key considerations for achieving sustainable development goals.

Dr. Hellin called for the development trajectories for combined mitigation and adaptation strategies  in a collaborative approach for strengthening key learnings and  managing the adverse impact of climatic change in fragile ecosystems.

ICAR-National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management Director Himanshu Pathak discussed the diverse constraints in and the contribution of rice-growing environments as well as the research accomplishments and success stories from ICAR-IRRI collaboration toward achieving self-sufficiency.

“Percolation of technology from lab to land is crucial to successful interventions ” Dr. Pathak said.

The achievements of  ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and the significant impact of ICAR-IRRI collaboration on the development of high-yielding varieties having tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, precision agriculture were explained by IARI Director A. K. Singh. Dr. Singh also stressed the crucial role of ecosystem services in building and enhancing resilience to climate change.

ICAR-IIRR Director  R. M. Sundaram, shared with the participants his out-of-the-box ideas (region and context specific agronomic management, institutional networking for capacity development) regarding the implementation of research outcomes for achieving resilience and sustainability. Dr. Sundaram also gave the outstanding research outcomes at IIRR and opined the need to strengthen IRRI and IIRR collaboration to  mitigate climate change impacts through the large-scale adoption of appropriate water-saving technologies  direct-seeded rice,  mechanization, and rice varieties that are resistant to major insect pests and diseases, and their promotion at large scale.

A review of research activities, as well as findings under the ICAR-IRRI work plan, were also presented by representatives from ICAR institutes IARI, IIRR, National Rice Research Institute, Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, and Research Complex for Eastern Region.

Photos of the brainstorming session