Land conversion, competition for water among agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, and the high maintenance cost of irrigation facilities underscore the need to enhance productivity in rainfed rice areas. WeRise was developed through the IRRI-Japan Collaborative Research Project (IJCRP) with funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences.
The tool aims to improve productivity in rainfed rice areas amidst climate change. Through science-based weather and crop advisories, WeRise can contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger by transforming rainfed rice areas into a more sustainable production system by enabling efficient water and nutrient use to maximize the entire rice-growing season.
WeRise can help rainfed rice farmers improve their climate change adaptation capacity through more strategic crop production decisions and consequently improve their livelihoods through a more stable and higher yield, and income. By empowering extension workers who are its target primary users, it can also enhance extension and advisory services.
Rainfed rice areas are characterized by low and unstable yields, small farm size, and high poverty incidence largely due to weather uncertainties resulting to difficulties in determining the onset of rain, amount and distribution of rainfall, and flooding and drought occurrences during the upcoming cropping season (Tuong et al 2000).
Overcoming physical constraints by increasing the number of rice croppings would entail increased water requirements, pest build-up, and changes in fertilizer dosage and application pattern, requiring more efficient soil and water management practices.
WeRise integrates a localized seasonal climate prediction and real-time weather data with a crop growth model. It is web-based and enables data-driven decision support through science-based advisories including the optimum sowing timing, suitable variety for planting, and fertilizer application schedule based on the weather characteristics of the upcoming cropping season (i.e., onset, amount, and distribution of rainfall throughout the upcoming cropping season, possible drought and flooding occurrences), crop growth development, soil characteristics, and farm management practices.
While positive validation results hope to promote and lead to the adoption of WeRise by target users within the projects’ implementation period, a potential next phase is possible to expand geographical coverage of WeRise development, validation, and dissemination; and continued capacity building of stakeholders for WeRise uptake and dissemination to ensure project sustainability.