IRRI staff members join rice planting activity

On 11 July 2023, new and former IRRI staff and new scholars from various IRRI units - Rice Breeding Innovations, Sustainable Impact, Finance, Human Resources and Organizational Development (HROD), Safety and Security Services, and Information & Knowledge Systems - braved the heat to participate in the first ever rice planting activity (RPA) for IRRI staff. The aim of this event is to let IRRI staff members and scholars experience and appreciate the life of a rice farmer and orient them on basic rice production.

The activity consisted of a one and a half hour lecture on rice planting, land preparation and safety orientation, and a half day hands-on field planting activity. During the half day event, the participants learned how to prepare the field for planting via primary and secondary tillage operations using carabao and hand-held tractors. They went on to mark the field for manual transplanting using a 20 cm x 20 cm gridmarker. They also transplanted rice manually and mechanically using walk-behind and ride-on type transplanters as well as direct-seeded rice using a drum seeder. The participants were also taught how to prepare seedling nurseries using the wet bed method.

To end the event, there was a drone demonstration for pesticide application and seed broadcasting. Participants were asked about their experience with the rice planting activity.  "Attending the Rice Production Activity (RPA) was such an enriching experience. The course provided me with valuable knowledge on rice production and an opportunity to experience the life of a farmer. I am grateful to IRRI Education and IRRI Human Resource for the opportunity to have participated in this activity." Rochelle Garcia, IRRI Education.

This activity, which will be part of the onboarding program of IRRI, is a collaboration between HROD, IRRI Education, and the Zeigler Experiment Station.