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Weather-proof Rice: IAEA Works with IRRI to Build Capacities in Cultivating More Resilient Strains of Rice

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In July 2014, a collaborative Group Fellowship between the IAEA and IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) took place at the IRRI Training Center at Los Banos, Philippines from 1-25 July. The fellowship focused on climate change adaptation, and explored both phenotyping and integrated plant mutation breeding, in addition to "best fit soil" and water management practices.

The Group Fellowship introduced participants to modern techniques in mutation breeding and in the use of integrated technology packages. These methods are based on best fit soil, water management practices, and mutation induction combined with efficiency-enhancing biotechnologies. This training opportunity has not only built capacities in comprehending the major abiotic stresses affecting rice,  but has instructed the participating fellows in how to quantify these stress factors,  providing the initial step toward developing sustainable rice production systems capable of coping with the adversities of climate change  and ensuring food security. As part of the Group Fellowship, training modules were offered in the proper management approaches to intensive and less favorable production systems, including best practices of water, soil, and nutrient and crop management. Participants were able to gain hands-on skills in common protocols and experience with the laboratory equipment being used for assessing plant responses to weather and soil adversities. Lastly, members of the Group Fellowship learned about modern Information and Communications Technologies used in agriculture, and helped to raise the levels of communication and regional collaboration among the participating institutions.

Twenty-one fellows from 11 countries in the Asia and the Pacific region participated in this Group Fellowship, including: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

With the IAEA and IRRI jointly hosting this Group Fellowship, external resource personnel visited from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, and the Institute of Nuclear Agriculture, Zheijang University, China.

This Group Fellowship follows a successful training Course which took place in June 2013. 

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