The ADB-IRRI Rice Planthopper Project started in 2008 when rice planthoppers returned as major threats to rice production in intensive systems. In the last 5 years, destructions caused by direct damages and the viruses they carry have resulted in production losses of more than 5 million tons of paddy and financial difficulties to thousands of farmers. In 2008, IRRI organized an International Conference to bring together key scientists to review and brainstorm for solutions. The concepts of ecosystem services breakdowns and applications of ecological engineering were introduced. These concepts formed the basis of the ADB-IRRI Rice Planthopper Project and began a series of research thrusts towards understanding the ecology and virus epidemiology, insect-plant relationships and bases for host plant resistance, development of insecticide resistance, ecological engineering, sociological and policy issues related to planthopper management. These yielded new data and insights for developing sustainable planthopper management options. In parallel with the ADB-IRRI Planthopper Project were several NARES funded research programs in China, Thailand and Vietnam that were adding value, especially in upscaling activities. During this period, active research on planthoppers have also been going on in Japan, Korea and several key laboratories in China which cover themes like planthopper migration, physiological basis of insecticide resistance, mapping the planthopper genome and insights into host plant resistance genes.
In Hangzhou, China the Project will hold the final workshops on ecological engineering, insecticide resistance monitoring and upscaling to consolidate datasets, jointly analyze data, conduct cross country comparisons, prepare manuscripts for publication and develop plans to sustain the momentum. The International Rice Planthopper Conference that follow will focus on discussing new findings from ecological engineering research, insecticide resistance monitoring, new findings from research in virus diseases, plant – insect relationships, economic, social and policy impacts. New themes like pesticide-plant interactions, productivity gains from insecticides and planthopper genomics will also be addressed.
The Director General of IRRI Dr Robert Zeigler will deliver the main keynote address. Other keynotes and special lectures will be presented by Professor Jiaan Cheng, Dr K.L. Heong, Dr K. Sogawa, Professor Goeff Gurr and Professor Geoff Norton. A new video “Hopper Race” produced by TVE Japan in collaboration with the Project will be launched at the Conference.
Details of the programs are available in “News”.