IRRI partners with Australian gov’t to improve farmers’s lives
An Australian-funded five-year research project led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Myanmar is seen to make a lasting impact on improving local rice farmers’ ability to adapt to agricultural challenges and respond to market opportunities.
Through the Australian Government’s Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the MYRice project is now working to transform the rice sector of lower Myanmar—the Ayeyarwady and Bago regions—that account for more than half of the total rice-harvested areas in the country.
By releasing new rice varieties and developing the capacity of local farmers, researchers, and extension staff, the IRRI project has helped increase the productivity and income of small farmers, as well as foster greater overall participation by all stakeholders.
“IRRI’s collaborative approach in working with farmers and local researchers has improved the livelihood of the small farming families. Enhancing rice and pulse production can significantly help alleviate poverty and poor nutrition and improve the livelihoods of the local farmers,” said Robert Edis, Research Program Manager at ACIAR.
As of now, the research project helped increase farmers’ yield by 20 percent, increasing their income by 30 percent while decreasing yield loss by an average of 15 percent.
Since launching, the MYRice project has now reached more than 10,000 Myanmar farmers.
Of this, 3,670 farmers were directly involved in field trials for suitable, climate-resilient varieties of rice and pulses and their management. Women also constituted a significant portion of the participants.