14 March 2019, IRRI Headquarters ~ The Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC), a multi-stakeholder research for development platform established by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), held its first annual review and planning meeting to discuss the progress and challenges encountered in their first year.
Direct seeding is a crop establishment system wherein rice seeds are planted directly into the field, as opposed to the more conventional method of growing rice first in a nursery, then transplanting it into a flooded plot. Besides saving significant water, labor, and time, direct seeding also greatly decreases the output of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Some of the trade-offs associated with the shifts from transplanted rice to direct seeding include use of higher seed rates, and higher weed infestation.
DSRC is a collaborative effort of public and private organizations to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of rice production systems by developing and optimizing direct seeding innovations, practices, and methodologies, and to facilitate its adoption across Asia.
Held during the 13th and 14th of March 2019, the two-day gathering convened 24 partner members from across the globe to IRRI headquarters in the Philippines. The members were welcomed by IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Jacqueline Hughes, who also chairs the DSRC Advisory Committee.
One of the main highlights was a tour of the DSR Field Laboratory, recently renamed the Maithripala Sirisena Direct Seeded Rice Demonstration Field in honor of the Sri Lankan President who visited IRRI last January 2019, where different experiment plots of rice cultivars, irrigation systems, seed treatment solutions, seed rate and seed establishment methods, drone technology, and mechanization options were tested.
Other activities included an IRRI progress report and DSRC news and updates; a series of meetings where members shared DSR experiences and learnings from China, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines; presentations of DSR-adapted technologies like hybrid seeds, nutrient and weed management, micro-irrigation, drone systems, and mechanization; capped with an Advisory Committee meeting where the workplan for 2019 and strategies moving forward were discussed.
“The consortium in its first year has been very successful in bringing together various stakeholders from public and private sectors with expertise and experiences to tackle the complex challenges of DSR,” said Dr. Virender Kumar, IRRI Senior Scientist and DSRC Coordinator. “By working together, we will be able to accelerate development of integrated, holistic solutions that can make direct seeded rice farming much more productive, efficient, and sustainable.”
“It was a very enlightening and productive conference,” said Dr. Jon Hellin, Sustainable Impact Platform Leader in his closing remarks. “The camaraderie, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing we experienced today underscores the importance of partnerships like the DSRC.”
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