In October 2008 in response to the 2008 food crisis the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a project under the 13th RETA program (Regional Technical Assistance) with a component that focused on “ Reducing vulnerability of crops to pre harvest losses caused by planthopper outbreaks” which in short has been referred to as the ADB-IRRI Rice Planthopper Project.
RETA 13 ended in October 2010. It provided expertise and resources for the Rice Planthopper Project to develop important linkages with NARES, train NARES partners, establish research frameworks and new paradigms to explore for more sustainable methods. Baseline data using new research methods on arthropod biodiversity, ecosystem services, insecticide resistance, plant pest interactions, virus epidemiology and farmers’ KAP have been collected and analyzed. The blog Ricehoppers.net has attracted more than 80,000 visitors. A new book, “Planthoppers: new threats to the sustainability of intensive rice production systems in Asia “, was published. Research on using ecological engineering approaches has attracted both local and national attention.
In 2009 and much of 2010, we have witnessed the devastating effects of planthopper outbreaks in several Asian countries. Thailand suffered the worst destructions by planthoppers and had to revise their rice production forecast by 16% or 1.1 million tons of paddy. In Northern Vietnam a virus carried by the whitebacked planthopper (WBPH) spread widely causing huge damages. Outbreaks were also reported in Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, China and Laos. This new phase will provide opportunities to further address the spread of the planthopper problems, add value to what had been achieved and ensure that more stakeholders are engaged to prepare for scaling up to benefit more farmers.
The new ADB-IRRI Rice Planthopper Project started in November 2010 and will hold a kick off workshop in Mercure Fortune Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand on January 17 and 19, 2011. The primary objectives of the Review and Planning Workshop are:
- To review achievements made in Rice Planthopper Project 2008/2009 and determine next steps and related activities.
- To identify constraints and make adjustments to research procedures and activities to meet output objectives.
- To develop continuation of activities and plan new activities for 2011/2012.
- To develop timeline of activities for 2011/2012.
- To develop budget needs, from the Project and matching from country programs.
Forty partners, resource persons and observers are expected to attend the 3-day workshop which will include a field trip to the Pathum Thani Rice Research Center and to planthopper hotspot areas.