IRRI trains farmers to become more efficient
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said it is now purposefully engaging farmers to educate them with policies as well as teach them to transform their rice breeding process to become more efficient and market-oriented.
Together with the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), IRRI recently conducted behavioral experiments with Cambodian rice farmers in Prey Veng and Takeo to elicit their preferences for future rice varietal trait improvements.
Farmers were trained in digital product profiling through an interactive app called Investment Game Application (IGA). The app enables them to participate in a simulated investment market for public rice breeding.
More specifically, IGA helps farmers express their preferences for the varietal trait improvements that they need to improve their livelihoods.
Since the app simulates and exposes farmers to the cost and risk trade-offs that rice breeders face under resource constraints, it compels them to prioritize their preferences and design focused product profiles for their future needs as rice farmers.
“By placing farmers in the shoes of donors and by allowing them to decide on the allocation of rice breeding funds, we are able to determine their preferences and priorities. In turn, this helps researchers starting priority setting at an early stage in the field, helping breeding programs become more cost-efficient, market-driven, client- and product-oriented, and forward-looking,” IRRI senior economist Matty Demont said.