IRRI confab seeks help for farmers affected by climate change
Rice experts and government officials are gathering on Tuesday to discuss how to help poor farmers who are affected by the ill effects of climate change.
The Philippine News Agency reported that senior scientists from 10 Asian countries will also participate in the international gathering in Muntinlupa City.
The conference, sponsored by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) through the Consortium for Unfavorable Environments (CURE), will also tackle how to bring the “Green Revolution” to marginal areas that are most susceptible to climate change.
IRRI said the first Green Revolution focused on making irrigated lands productive but the rising population and diminishing agricultural lands require converting idle rice lands, particularly those prone to drought, flooding or saline intrusion and the marginal uplands into green lands.
IRRI estimates that almost half of the rice areas in Asia are not irrigated but are rainfed lands that are home to about a hundred million poor farmers who depend on rice cultivation for their livelihood.
The said areas have low productivity and are vulnerable to climatic changes like drought that reduce harvests by as much as 40 percent.
IRRI officials, however, are optimistic the problem could be remedied by climate-smart varieties and management practices.
They noted that rice farmers in the Cordilleras are making profit and their rice command a premium price in the local and international markets.