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					                           PROPOPSED RCA PROGRAMME FOR 2005-2006

                             PROJECTS IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

TITLE

 Development of Sustainable Land Use and Management Strategies for Controlling Soil Erosion
and Improving Soil and Water Quality (NEW)


OBJECTIVES

The overall objective is to develop sustainable land and water management strategies for reducing soil
erosion and improving soil and water quality in East Asia and the Pacific region. Specific objectives
are i) To measure soil erosion and redeposition over several spatial and time scales by combined use
of Cs-137, Pb-210 and Be-7; and ii) To establish soil redistribution-soil quality relationship under
different land management practices by application of the techniques used in i); and iii) To apply
management practices developed as a result of the soil redistribution-soil quality relationship for
effectively improving soil and water quality as well as increasing soil organic carbon storage.


BACKGROUND

One of the world’s serious threats for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production is
accelerated soil erosion and the subsequent deposition of eroded soil particles in water bodies and
flood plains. This has also posed as a major problem for watershed management and conservation of
the natural resource base. The East Asia and the Pacific region experiences the most severe soil
erosion and sedimentation problems in the world. These are considered as a major environmental
concern worldwide as they posed negative impacts on ecology and socio-economy of the world,
particularly the East Asia and the Pacific region. Irrational land use and poor farming practices are
responsible for this accelerated soil erosion. Soil erosion reduces land productivity, challenges
agricultural sustainability, and degrades soil functions. Effective soil conservation can reduce
substantially these problems. In this context, novel techniques to enhance the evaluation of soil and
water quality caused by soil erosion are very important for understanding the cause-effect relationship
so as to enable design of effective soil conservation measures. These techniques need to be developed
and tested to compare effects of different farming systems on soil functions. A wide variety of farming
systems and soil protection exists in East Asia and the Pacific landscapes. These landscapes are
endangered by soil erosion but they require evaluation to assess their effectiveness and establish
specific regional recommendations of integrated soil and water management practices.



Previous RCA project RAS/5/039 ‘Restoration of Soil Fertility and Sustenance of Agricultural
Productivity’ addressed measurement of soil erosion, sedimentation and associated pesticide
contamination had been successfully implemented since 2002. A limited number of research groups in
the region have established basic capacities to conduct such investigations by using fallout Cs-137
technique. Through the implementation of the on-going RAS/5/039, the participating countries have
realized the need and importance of this project for it addresses soil quality-soil redistribution
relationships and their impacts on water quality and soil carbon storage by combined use of Cs-137,
Pb-210 and Be-7. This project is also expected to promote collaboration of RCA Member States with
other advanced research institutes.

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Page 2




NATIONAL COMMITMENT

Participating countries will each nominate a National Coordinator, and contribute other personnel,
facilities, the operating costs of the projects, and host some events.

OTHER STAKEHOLDERS INPUT

Extrabudgetary contribution is expected from China.

AGENCY INPUT

Technical and administrative backstopping; and support for training courses, workshops, and
meetings.

OUTCOMES

        Standardized methodologies and guidelines for the use of fallout radionuclides for the
         assessment of the soil quality-soil erosion relationship under different land use and
         management systems in the region.
        Reliable data on impact of different land use and management practices on changes in
         physical, chemical and biological properties of soils/ water quality parameters and the main
         factors influencing soil erosion.
        Dissemination and demonstration of results to farmers and end users through training,
         workshops and other activities. Better understanding of the role of specific land use and
         management systems in improving soil and water quality for sustainable crop production
        Recommendation for effective land use and management measures to combat soil erosion and
         improve soil and water quality.
        The emergence of resource conservation policies in the participating countries, following the
         results obtained on soil degradation


PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR OUTCOMES

        Publications of guidelines.
        Documented reliable data on impact of different land use and management practices on
         changes in physical, chemical and biological properties of soils/water quality parameters and
         the main factors influencing soil erosion.
        Number of personnel trained to conduct soil erosion/sedimentation studies using Cs-137, Pb-
         210 and Be-7 and number of extension farmers trained on land use and management systems
         in improving soil and water quality for sustainable crop production.
        Preparation of technical bulletin on combating soil erosion and improving soil and water
         quality for use of policy makers and end-users.

EXPECTED PROJECT IMPACT

The project will result in selection of effective land use and management measures to combat soil
erosion and improve soil and water quality in the East Asia and the Pacific agricultural landscapes.
This will be disseminated through technical brochures, regional/local extension workshops video tapes
and other electronic means. Through these means, guidelines on the appropriate management of
different agricultural practices for improved and sustainable production of crops, and the transfer of
                                                                                                Page 3


new technologies to the farmers through national extension services will ultimately be transferred and
thus contributing to the national economy and socio-economic development in the region. It is
expected that resource conservation policies in participating RCA countries will be established,
following results achieved on soil



WORK PLAN


                                                      Proposed       Duration in         Essential
      Type           Descriptive title/name         starting date   weeks/months          (Y/N)

DT1              Regional meeting to comp           2005/02         1 wk             Y
                 lete the detailed formulation of
                 the project (national inputs)
RTW1             Regional training workshop on      2005/04         2 wk             Y
                 nuclear techniques
DT2-RTW2         Mid-term regional meeting to       2006/11         1 wk             Y
                 assess progress and set
                 objectives for second half of
                 project
Page 4



TITLE
Integrated Approach for Improving Livestock Production Utilizing Indigenous Resources and
Conserving the Environment (RCA)


OBJECTIVES

The overall objective is to improve livestock productivity through better nutritional and reproduction
strategies while conserving the environment. The specific objectives are for Part I to improve animal
productivity and decrease discharges of selected greenhouse gases, (methane and carbon dioxide) and
selected nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) into the environment; and those of Part II are to identify
and adopt better breeding strategies that will improve animal productivity through use of better
selection criteria for offspring from cross-breeding programmes, optimum utilization of appropriate
indigenous cows, benchmarking for growth and reproduction, and improving procedures for
management, nutrition and health care programmes in dairy farms.

BACKGROUND

Livestock farming is important to countries in the region for the provision of animal-based food
products and as a source of income for many poor farmers. However, the productivity of the livestock
in most of the countries is much below the potential due to number of reasons such as inadequate
feeding, reproduction, mismanagement, prevalence of diseases, and lack of effective support services,
such as artificial insemination (AI). Technologies that can be used to overcome these problems have
already been developed through regional and national projects. Under the project RAS 5035
‘Improving animal productivity and reproductive efficiency’ (1999-2004), urea molasses multinutrient
blocks (UMMB) technology was widely disseminated to and adopted by farmers in the participating
countries. The UMMB was used as carrier for anthelmintic agents for controlling parasitic load in the
gastrointestinal tract, to enhance livestock productivity. A computer database application (AIDA Asia)
was developed and transferred to national AI services; its application on a wider scale for decision
support and farmer services needs further training and support. The project also supported the efforts
to have routine production and regular supply of radio immunoassay reagents to other laboratories in
the region. The project focused on consolidating the activities on AIDA and RIA in order to ensure
future sustainability of these technologies.

The project will build on the achievements of the current project to enhance animal productivity
through selection of better strategies for nutrition and reproduction.
Part I: Nutrition
The biggest challenge facing the livestock sector is to enhance animal productivity without having any
adverse effect on the environment. Productivity of animals is restricted by low nitrogen and high fibre
content of the native grasses and crop residues in tropical environments or seasonal food shortage.
Low quality highly fibrous forages when fed to ruminants in tropical environments have been found to
result in higher methane emissions compared to better quality temperate forages. The excretion of
methane from the rumen can represent a loss of 8-10 % of the digestible energy depending on the type
of diet. The project is therefore focussed on identifying simple strategies that will i) decrease emission
of methane and carbon dioxide from ruminant animals and channelling the energy being lost through
release of these pollutants for increasing milk and meat production as well as improving reproduction,
ii) result in retention of more nitrogen in the animal and lowering loss of nitrogen into the
environment, and redirection of nitrogen excretion in a manner that higher proportion goes to faeces
than into urine, and iii) decrease loss of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment from animal
excreta through appropriate manure management strategies, and iv) create inventories for methane and
release of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment in different animal production systems. The
                                                                                               Page 5


project will also focus on enhancing awareness on increasing livestock productivity while conserving
environment.
The project will build on the work done on previous project activities, e.g development of feed
supplementation strategies and efficient utilization of locally available feed resources work; and
knowledge imparted on nuclear based and other in vitro (gas method) and in vivo (estimation of
microbial protein supply using purine derivatives) feed evaluation methodologies including the assays
for antinutritional factors and tannins.

Part II: Animal Breeding/reproduction
A major limitation to increasing milk and meat production in many developing Member States in the
Asia Pacific region is the scarcity of high quality cattle, buffaloes and yaks. This is partly due to
indigenous breeds often being neglected, with no efforts devoted to improving them by selection for
desirable production traits. Cross breeding has been often executed without definite goals and in some
situations the indigenous genetic resources are threatened with extinction. Where upgrading of local
animals has been undertaken, through national cattle and buffalo breeding programmes, there is often
a lack of knowledge and procedures in place to ensure optimum utilization of the improved offspring
arising from such programmes. Therefore, a two-pronged approach is necessary in the region to: (a)
increase the number of high producing cows by optimising the utilization of offspring from cross
breeding programmes; and (b) ensure the conservation of indigenous genetic resources through
strategies to increase their contribution to productivity.

Improved technologies to be applied will include: i) appropriate nutritional, managerial and recording
systems; ii) rearing indigenous cows as foundation stock for cross-breeding; iii) AI using sexed semen
to produce offspring; iv) development and application of novel selection criteria for young stock
(including genetic screening where relevant); v) salvage of bull calves; and vi) use of RIA for
assessing the impact on reproductive efficiency. The costs and benefits of the improvements and
interventions will be recorded and analysed.

For nutrition component, the nuclear techniques will involve the use of N-15 based methodologies for
measuring microbial protein production, nitrogen leakage from manure into the environment; 14-C for
in vitro methane production; molecular probes; I-125 based tannin assay; P-32 based measurement of
phosphorus leakage into the environment. As for the reproduction component; I-125
radioimmunoassay kits for evaluation of selected nutritional and management strategies for their
impact on reproductive efficiency; and P-32 based for genetic screening and characterization using
microsatellite methods and related technologies will be used.

NATIONAL COMMITMENT

Each Member State will appoint a two Project Coordinators and a Project Management Committee,
comprising representatives from national livestock support services and other stakeholders. This
committee will work closely with farmers in the target areas to define specific project objectives and
work plans in relation to the needs of the farming system at the location.

Participating institutions and governments will undertake to provide cash contributions, facilities,
equipment, personnel, and hosting of meetings and training programmes. All participating countries
have national development plans and projects to improve their livestock production system,
particularly diary production that is an important contributor to their agricultural economies.


OTHER STAKEHOLDERS INPUT

Extrabudgetary contribution is expected from China.

AGENCY INPUT
Page 6


The agency will provide technical and administrative support for the project activities, including
organizing regional events, recruiting experts and supply of minor equipment.




OUTCOMES


Nutrition:
    Livestock productivity enhanced.
    Feed resources and strategies for decreasing methane emission identified and utilized.
    Strategies for decreasing nitrogen and phosphorus release into animal excreta identified and
        utilized.
    Appropriate manure management strategies in place to arrest leakage of nitrogen and
        phosphorus into the environment.

Breeding:
    Additional income for farmers from selling heifers of high-yield potential at a premium price.
    National criteria developed for selecting superior cattle.
    Better utilization of bull calves.
    Regional capability built up to adopt techniques for speeding up the genetic gain (recording
       and evaluation of performance in cattle, semen sexing and genetic screening).

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR OUTCOMES

Nutrition:
    Increase in livestock productivity by 20–40%
    Reduction in methane emission by up to 40 %
    Reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus release in excreta by 5–10%.
    Capturing of 60-80% of nitrogen and phosphorus from manure and its diversion to crop
        production.
Breeding:
    Farmers participating in the project earn 10–20% additional income.
    National criteria available for selecting superior cattle.
    Wastage of bull calves in project areas reduced by 20–30%.
    Regional capability in 5–6 Member States to use techniques for accelerated genetic gain.

EXPECTED PROJECT IMPACT

The development of an integrated approach for improvement of livestock productivity through better
nutrition and reproduction strategies while conserving the environment will contribute to efficient
utilization of locally available feed resources as well as leading to higher animal productivity and
lowering environmental pollution. The adoption of the recommended farming technologies will
enhance i) appreciation for conservation of environment by all parties, farmers, scientists and
politicians; ii) regional capability for quantifying environmental pollutants and developing strategies
to mitigate them; iii) capability to increase efficiency of resource management; cooperation and
integration between scientists from RCA Member States; and v) income generation opportunities, thus
contributing to the national economy and socio-economic development of the countries in the region.


WORKPLAN
Please see PDF File Livestock
                                                                                                Page 7


TITLE
Enhancement of Genetic Diversity in Food, Pulses, and Oil Crops and Establishment of Mutant
Germplasm Network (RCA)

OBJECTIVES

The specific objectives are (i) to use radiation-induced mutation breeding technology combined with
biotechnology to develop improved germplasm of food crops, pulses and oil crops; and (2) to establish
Mutant Germplasm Network, (MGN) of promising genotypes of selected crops. The mutations will be
induced using ion and electron beams, in addition to gamma radiation and neutrons, in combination
with chemical methods and in vitro biotechnology. Biochemical and molecular technologies will be
used for improving mutation efficiency.

BACKGROUND

A number of crop mutant varieties have been officially released in the region, bringing positive
economical impact to the region. Induced mutations are considered as the most direct and economical
approach to develop a new variety from well-adapted, locally accepted germplasm of various crops.
An agreement of exchange of seed material has been achieved among participants of the project. This
project comprises two components: the establishment and implementation of mutant multi-location
trials in the participating countries, and the establishment of a Mutant Germplasm Network (MGN) for
crop improvement, materials and information exchange in the region. The project was approved as
part of the 2001/2003 programme under footnote a/ status. Extra budgetary funds have been provided
by China for this project and expected to run until 2005. At the last project coordinators workshop in
Philippines, 27-31 October 2003, the participating countries expressed the need to have more time to
continue and complete the multilocation trials and to have a manuscript on mutation breeding for food,
pulses and oil crops. The extension of the project is necessary to complete a final run of the regional
mutant multilocation trials in the participating countries and prepare a manuscript for mutation
breeding of crops important to the region. Transfer of knowledge on molecular markers and target-
selected mutagenesis for crop improvement will also be provided.


NATIONAL COMMITMENT

The following countries are committed to the project: China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Myanmar,
Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka Thailand and Vietnam.


OTHER STAKEHOLDERS INPUT

Extra-budgetary contributions are expected from China similar to the past two biennia.



AGENCY INPUT

The agency will provide technical and administrative support for the project activities e.g. organizing
regional events and recruiting experts.



OUTCOMES
Page 8


      Development of advanced breeding lines with high productivity, good quality and superior
disease resistance

      Acceleration of crop breeding cycles through availability of new genetic sources

      Transfer of experience and techniques to Member States through MGN

      A handbook or manual as reference on mutation breeding of selected crops



PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR OUTCOMES

      Number of new crop mutants developed

      MGN established and operational

      Enhanced genetic diversity in wheat, sorghum, mungbean, soybean, sesame and peanut

      Transferred experience and techniques

      Manuscript/manual of mutation breeding on food, pulses, and oil crops



EXPECTED PROJECT IMPACT

Desired genetic sources will be obtained with enhanced tolerance/resistance to bio/abiotic stresses and
superior quality characters, and new advanced mutant varieties will be released, which in the long
term will increase farmers income and help the food security in East Asia and Pacific. There will be
sustained mutation breeding programme in the participating countries through the MGN and exchange
of materials.
                                                                                       Page 9


WORK PLAN




  Type            Descriptive title/name              Proposed       Duration in   Essential
                                                    starting date   weeks/months    (Y/N)

  EM1    Consultation of manuscript of Mutation     2005-11-01       1.4 weeks        Y
         Breeding in Asia
  EM2    Final workshop: technical                  2006-11-01       1.6 weeks
         summarization
  EM3    Finalizing manuscript of Mutation          2006-11-10        3 weeks         Y
         Breeding in Asia
  FE1    Molecular marker technology                2006-03-01        4 months        Y
  FE2    Mutation techniques and related            2006-03-01        4 months        Y
         biotechnology
  GT1    Molecular marker technology for mutant      2006-6-01        2 weeks         Y
         characterization
  GT2    Target-selected mutagensis in plants        2007-6-01        2 weeks         Y
  WKS1   Workshop on RMMT and mutant                2005-11-01       1.4 weeks        Y
         germplasm network followed by group
         visiting to institutes in host country
  WKS2   Final Workshop in conjunction with         2006-11-01       1.6 weeks        Y
         Field Day activities and followed by
         group visiting to relevant institutes in
         host country