SSD Books and Research Brief

SSD Research Brief
A brief summary of a research article, policy, thesis, review, conference, proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular  Social Sciences subject or discipline.

SSD Research Brief 1: Pesticide Use in the Philippines:

Assessing the Contribution of IRRI's Research to Reduced Health Costs

In the Philippines, the use of pesticides in rice production expanded rapidly during the 1970s and into the 1980s. This was partly due to concerns that crop losses from pests would negate the gains from planting modern rice varieties. However, by the mid- 1980s, it was clear that the indiscriminate use of pesticides could cause ecological imbalances that could exacerbate, rather than alleviate, a pest problem. Moreover, research was providing evidence of negative environmental and human health effects from the excessive use of pesticides.

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SSD Research Brief 2: The Financial Crisis: Short and Long Term Impact on Rice Food Security

In the October-December 2008 issue of Rice Today, I wrote a short brief on the aftermath of the rice crisis to highlight the 2008-09 supply and demand situation and the long-term challenges ahead in terms of meeting future demand growth. It seems ages since I wrote that brief because things have changed so drastically in the past few weeks. The world has graduated from a smaller food crisis to a much bigger economic crisis, dubbed by many as the “worst financial crisis in human history.” Global equity markets have been shredded and commodity prices are in a free fall.

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SSD Research Brief 3: What are the sources of rice yield growth in the Philippines?

Rice is the most important crop in the Philippines, having contributed US$5.3 billion to the country’s domestic output in 2008. The country also plays an important role in the global market as the top rice importer in the world, importing more than 2 million metric tons of rice in 2008. This has raised concerns about relying on the world market for the supply of rice. Improving rice productivity is thus a primary concern for researchers and policymakers in the Philippines. Domestic rice yields experienced a remarkable growth of 3.7% annually from 1970 to 1985, a success story of the Green Revolution. However, the impressive growth achieved during this period was not sustained; it dropped to 0.7% annually from 1986 to 1996. After 1996, national statistics showed that rice yield began to grow sharply at an annual rate of 2.7%, in contrast to the slow progress in yields globally and in most of the rice-producing countries in Asia.

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SSD Research Brief 4: How rice farming in the Philippines changed in the last 10 years?

Farm-level survey data in the Philippines confirmed that rice yields in the last 10 years have increased by 14.4% (1.4% per annum) across seasons and ecosystems. Paddy yields have increased by nearly half a ton per hectare from 1996-97 (3,428 kg/ha) to 2006-07 (3,922 kg/ha). This growth is consistently observed in all regions of the Philippines, ranging from 1.3% per year in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) to as much as 5.6% per year in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas). Nine out of 16 regions in the Philippines have performed markedly better than other regions, surpassing the national average yield growth of 2.7% per annum.

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SSD Research Brief 5: Measuring farmer's gains from adopting a crop management 

Crop management is somehow neglected in productivity analyses of rice technologies. 
A look at the literature indicates that productivity gains are often attributed to the 
adoption of modern varieties or crop variety improvement, whereas the contribution of crop 
management to productivity is scarcely heard about. This is because such contribution 
comes indirectly. Crop management technologies improve input use efficiency often by
managing the timing or method of input use so that input mixes are altered to the lowest 
possible quantity combinations without sacrificing yield. Alternatively, efficiency gains due to 
improved methods or timings of input use enable unaltered input mixes to achieve higher yields.
 In both cases, crop management contributes to yield growth by raising the physical productivity 
of inputs.

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STRASA Economic Brief 1: Stress-Tolerant Rice in Eastern India: Development and Distribution

Approximately 80% of the rice-growing area in eastern India is rainfed and exposed to
abiotic stresses, such as drought and flooding. These conditions partly explain why
eastern India generates less than half of the national rice production, despite accounting
for more than 60% of the total rice cropped area in the country. Droughts and floods are
examples of the most severe abiotic stresses for rice crops across India. In 2002, a severe
drought affected 56% of the geographic area and the livelihood of 300 million people in
18 states. Although this is not documented, farmers are affected every year by droughts in
local regions. Eastern India has the largest rainfed lowland area in the world and is prone
to floods. According to the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT), approximately 20
million people in India were affected by floods annually between 2001 and 2011. Because
farmers in rainfed areas are mostly poor, crop losses caused by abiotic stresses can have a devastating impact, potentially exacerbating poverty in the region.

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STRASA Economic Brief 2: Adoption, Yield, and Ex Ante Impact Analysis of Swarna-Sub 1 in Eastern India

India has the largest rainfed lowland area in the world, with flooding being considered as one of the most important abiotic stresses to rice production, after drought and weeds. Flash floods are highly unpredictable, and may occur at any growth stage of the rice crop, with the frequency of floods being expected to increase in the future because of climate change. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its collaborators have developed a submergence-tolerant rice variety, called Swarna-Sub1, which has been distributed to rice farmers in eastern India since 2008. The seed distribution of Swarna-Sub1 expanded significantly when the National Food Security Mission included Swarna-Sub1 in its eastern India programs in 2010. About 38,000 tons of seed were distributed, reaching an estimated 1.3 million farmers in 2012 alone.

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STRASA Economic Brief No. 3: Perception, Adoption, and Realized Benefits of Swarna-Sub1 in Eastern India

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of floods in Eastern
India and is predicted to negatively affect rice farmers in the region as 80% of the ricegrowing
area is rainfed and exposed to floods. The mostly poor farmers in the rainfed areas
face crop losses caused by flooding, which can have a devastating impact on their
livelihood, potentially exacerbating poverty in the region. The International Rice Research
Institute (IRRI) and its collaborators have developed a submergence-tolerant rice variety
Swarna-Sub1, whose seeds have been distributed to farmers in Eastern India since 2008
(see STRASA Economic Brief no. 1 and no. 2 for details on the development and
distribution of Swarna-Sub1 in India). 

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SSD Books
SSD's set or collection of written, printed, e-book scientific information authored or co-authored by SSD staff.



Patterns and adoption of improved rice varieties and farm-level impacts on stress-prone rain fed areas in South-Asia
 S.Pandey, D. Gauchan, M. Malabayabas, M. Bool-Emerick, B. Hardy


Economic costs of drought and rice farmers’ coping mechanisms
S. Pandey, H. Bhandari, and B. Hardy 

Drought is a major constraint affecting rice production, especially in rainfed areas across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. At least 23 million hectares of rainfed rice area in Asia (20% of total rice area) are estimated to be  drought-prone. This situation has been historically associated with food shortages and imposes a serious economic burden on society.

This book reports on research conducted in drought-prone rice-growing areas in China, India, and Thailand. The study aimed to estimate the economic costs of drought; document farmers’ risk-coping mechanisms; and recommend suitable 
interventions, both technical and policy, for effective drought management.

According to the authors, research on drought and developments in biotechnology may help alleviate the problem.  However, there are serious concerns about lack of investment in agricultural research in developing countries in  Asia, which impacts not only drought mitigation but overall agricultural development.


Upland rice, household food security, and commercialization of upland agriculture in Vietnam
S. Pandey, N.T. Khiem, H. Waibel, and T.C. Thien

Large parts of the Asian uplands are characterized by high incidence of poverty, poor physical access to markets, ill-functioning marketing institutions, and subsistence-oriented agriculture with low productivity. Given the importance of rice as a staple crop, interventions that increase rice productivity can serve as a critical entry point in initiating and reinforcing the process of agricultural growth and income generation in uplands.

This research monograph, based on a detailed microeconomic study of rice farmers in the uplands of northern Vietnam, throws light on the role of upland rice in farmers’ livelihood systems in this remote area that is still lagging behind in development. The findings of this study will be helpful in both guiding rice research for productivity enhancement and formulating policy interventions for encouraging an inclusive and pro-poor growth process.

Technologies for improving rural livelihoods in rainfed system in South Asia
Z. Islam, M. Hossain, T. Paris, B. Hardy, J. Gorsuch

The project "Accelerating Technology Adoption to Improve Rural Livelihoods in the Rainfed Eastern Gangetic Plains" jointly administered by CGIAR centers (IRRI, CIMMYT, and ICRAF), led to the production of this document.

It contains three major sections: a) project implementation, which briefly describes how the project was implemented and the benefits of adopting the technologies selected for up scaling; b) case stories, which recounts successful cases; and c) Technical Advisory Notes (TANs), which covers diverse categories of technologies such as cropping systems, improved varieties, crop establishment methods, and nutrient management and technologies that provide supplementary income for landless and marginal farmers. This document will be useful in improving the livelihoods of the rural poor of South Asia.



Why does the Philippines import rice? 
Meeting the challenge of trade liberalization

David Charles Dawe, Piedad Moya, Cheryll B. Casiwan

A perpetual question on the minds of many Filipinos is “Why do we import rice, and why can’t we produce enough of our staple food to feed ourselves?” Many answers have been given to this question, many of which injure national pride by alluding to bad politicians, corruption, incompetence, or laziness.

But the real answer is not so bad: in a word, it is geography. The Philippines imports rice because it is a nation of islands without any major river deltas like those in Thailand and Vietnam. The major traditional exporters are all on the Southeast Asian mainland (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar), while the countries that have been consistently importing rice for more than a hundred years (Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia) are all islands or narrow peninsulas. Section 1 provides a more detailed explanation.