Research organisation and research success: responding to rice blast in the Mekong Delta
April 13 2005
Venue: University of Edinburgh
Organised by: Innogen
The Mekong Delta is Vietnam's most important rice-producing region. Its rice yields have grown impressively over the last thirty years, at least in part thanks to the modern varieties provided by the Cuu Long Rice Research Institute. Over the same period, however, the fungal disease known as rice blast has become the main constraint to production in the region. I shall review the reasons for the prevalence of this disease, which lie in the interaction between the biology of the fungus, national policies towards the agricultural sector and changing farming practices. In the light of this review I shall critically examine two research projects that CLRRI is undertaking in response to the disease. I will suggest that the manner in which research activities are financed has led to inadequate knowledge-sharing with CLRRI, so that the problem addressed by the most technologically sophisticated of these projects has not been adequately specified. However, the less sophisticated of the two projects has shown greater signs of succeeding.