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IRRl engages with Indonesian govt, leading telecom company for Rice Crop Manager Project

To support Indonesian rice farmers with science-based decision-making and help contribute to the Indonesian government’s goal for rural prosperity, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has engaged the Indonesian government and the country’s leading telecommunications provider in an inception workshop on 6 December 2022 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

During the workshop, IRRI signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS). IRRI has also signed an Letter of Intent to collaborate with the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Instrument Standardization of the Ministry of Agriculture, of the Republic of Indonesia (IAAIS), and a Letter of Agreement with the nation’s leading telecom service provider, Viamo, for the implementation of its Rice Crop Manager (RCM) Project in the country.

The RCM Project intends to design and disseminate a digital agriculture platform that can provide science-based information that will help rice production become more efficient. RCM provides field-specific nutrient management recommendations adapted from the principles and algorithms of the site-specific nutrient management approach developed by IRRI and its partners across Asia.

The platform's recommendations calculate fertilizer rates based on a target yield adjusted for historical yield reported by farmers. Through this project, IRRI and its partners seek to increase the yields and incomes of Indonesian rice farmers, and contribute to the Indonesian government's goals for rural prosperity, food security and environmental sustainability, and climate mitigation and adaptation.

The project is being supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, South Korea. It is also a scale-up of Indonesia's locally known project-Layanan Konsultasi Padi (LKP) which was developed and introduced at a smaller scale in 2015 by IRRI.

"I am happy to announce this partnership between IRRI and BAPPENAS which will contribute to the sustainable livelihood of farmers and increased food security for the nation. We would be supporting the project through enabling policy frameworks,” said Noor Avianto, Coordinator of Food and Agriculture, on behalf of Director for Food and Agriculture, and BAPPENAS.

Meanwhile IAAIS Director General Dr. Fadjry Djufry said, "We are excited for this collaboration as we would be supporting the implementation of this project in Indonesia. We look forward to seeing some good impact at the ground level for increased yield and income of rice growing farmers of the nation."

Viamo Country Manager Diah Setiawaty expressed her pleasure signing the LoA with IRRI and said, "Viamo is proud to partner with IRRI and work towards the digital empowerment of the Indonesian rice farmers and give them the opportunity to not just enhance their knowledge on agriculture but also help increase their yield and incomes. Through this collaboration we would be able to reach out to a large number of farmers through the different dig itaI platforms."

Congratulating all partners at the ceremony, AJ Poncin, Chief of Staff and Head of Portfolio Development and Management, IRRI said, “The use of digital technologies for sharing best practices for crop management is a highly viable and scalable mechanism to transfer knowledge and transform data especially with the increase in mobile phone penetration in the recent years and digital tools like RCM can enable the delivery of these agronomic management practices to the farmers at scale."

Also, present at the event were Ms. Kang Gyeong-Mi, Deputy Director, General Division of International Cooperation) and Ms. Jang Minjeong (Policy Officer, Deputy Director, General Division of International Cooperation) from MAFRA, South Korea; Dr. Wonkyu Cha, Head, Multilateral Cooperation & Evaluation Team, Center for International Agricultural Partnership, Korean Rural Economic Institute; and Mr. Wook Jong Ju, Deputy Director, Overseas Project Office, Korean Rural Community Cooperation. During the inception workshop there were also group discussions regarding the implementation of the project work plan, collaboration on specific activities, and project frameworks.