By Joel Janiya*
Participants of the two-day workshop at Department of Agricultural Research Station in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
Producing rice is a gradual process that requires close attention to details to ensure good crop growth and high yield. This step-by-step process applies the best possible technologies and practices to manage technology-delivery at specified time related to crop growth stage such that inputs are used more efficiently.
These practices can be bundled into a package, dubbed Best Management Practices (BMP), that serves like a ‘basket of options’ for extension workers as they guide farmers in the proper use of technologies. This can lead to farmers producing rice more effectively and efficiently.
With BMP, farmers can increase their yield and reduce cost of production, and can minimize pollutants in the field thereby preserving the environment. The development of a BMP is tedious, taking into account data gathering, documentation, meetings and consultations to come up with one final version agreed upon by stakeholders.
In developing a BMP the following steps are involved:
- Listing down the steps and processes in producing a rice crop (from seed selection to postharvest)
- Identifying target rice environment
- Defining method of crop establishment
- Scanning and collating technologies from research results actual use of technologies in the field
- Filling in the steps with details on how and what should be done in each step
- Consult with subject matter experts on the specific steps or technologies
- Refine information by consulting with concerned partners
- Consult with extension workers and end users
- Refine and print the final material for distribution to users
This process may be modified to suit the local situation. The experience of Myanmar is a good example to demonstrate such process.
A generalized BMP was developed and was given to Myanmar partners to revise based on their research results and practices in the field. A small group worked on the materials (ex. BMP in TPR for drought-prone environments) to localize the content. The material was then submitted to colleagues (i.e. breeders for recommended varieties; pest and disease experts to address pest management, etc).
Participants discussing the contents of the BMP poster
After a series of consultations and discussions on the draft materials, a 2-day workshop was conducted to further discuss, refine, and revise the content. The participants of this workshop were staff from the Department of Agriculture (DoA), Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), International Non-Government Organization (INGO) working with the LIFT Project, and IRRI. Farmer leaders were also present. The Director of DAR, Dr. Ye Tint Tun, participated in the discussions.
The facilitators of the workshop were Dr. Khin Thawda Win, IRRI Post Doctoral Fellow under LIFT B Project, and Dr. Romeo Labios, agronomist under the ACIAR & LIFT A projects.
The output of the workshop included BMP posters for the following categories/purposes: BMP for direct-seeded rice; BMP for transplanted rice; BMP for alkaline-affected soils in BMP for flood-prone and saline-affected areas.
These materials, already translated in Myanmar language, are awaiting approval of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Services.
*Mr. Joel Janiya is a senior associate scientist and agronomist from International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).