Thursday, June 7, 2012

IRRI: The International Rice Research Institute

IRRI: The International Rice Research Institute

The IRRI office in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international NGO (non-governmental organization). Its headquarters are in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, and it has offices in sixteen countries. The main goal of IRRI is to find sustainable ways to improve the well-being of poor rice farmers and consumers, as well as the environment. The institute is one of 15 agricultural research centers around the world that form the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).It is Asia's largest non-profit agricultural research center. IRRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.
IRRI was established in 1960 with the support of the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation   and   the Government of the Philippines.
IRRI's headquarters in the Philippines is located on a 252 hectare experimental farm with modern laboratories and glasshouses and a training center. It also houses the International Rice Genebank and Riceworld museum.
IRRI is well known for its contribution to the "Green Revolution" movement in Asia during the late 1960s and 70s, which involved the breeding of "semidwarf" varieties of rice that were less likely to lodge (fall over). The varieties developed at IRRI, known as IR varieties, are well accepted in many Asian countries.
The mission of IRRI was aimed to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability through collaborative research, partnerships, and the strengthening of national agricultural research and extension systems.
The goals of IRRI are:
-Reduce poverty through improved and diversified rice-based systems.
-Ensure that rice production is sustainable and stable, has minimal negative environmental impact, and can cope with climate change.
-Improve the nutrition and health of poor rice consumers and rice farmers.
-Provide equitable access to information and knowledge on rice and help develop the next generation of rice scientists.
-Provide rice scientists and producers with the genetic information and material they need to develop improved technologies and enhance rice production.
IRRI's goals contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and ensure environmental sustainability. They are also aligned with the objectives of the Global Rice Science Partnership that help deliver internationally coordinated research effectively and efficiently with IRRI’s partners.
IRRI develops new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques that help rice farmers improve the yield and quality of their rice in an environmentally sustainable way. IRRI work with its public and private sector partners in national agricultural research and extension systems in major rice-growing countries to do research, training, and knowledge transfer. IRRI’s social and economic research also informs governments to help them formulate policy to improve the equitable supply of rice.
IRRI's current scope of research covers:
-Conserving, understanding, sharing, and using rice genetic diversity.
-Breeding and delivering new varieties of rice.
-Developing and sharing improved crop and environment management practices.
-Adding value to the economic and nutritional value of rice.
-Broadening its impact by supporting strategic policy and market development.
-Facilitating large-scale adoption of rice technologies.
The Green Revolution in Asia, which began in the 1960s with the introduction of modern, high-yielding rice varieties led to a rapid rise in both rice yields and overall production.
It is supported by donors and partners around the globe and known as the home of the Green Revolution in Asia. IRRI helps to feed almost half the world’s population. Its mission is to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure that rice production is environmentally sustainable.
IRRI, the largest and oldest international agricultural research institute in Asia, marks its 50th anniversary in 2010. In half a century of service for a cause, IRRI’s high-yielding rice varieties have helped significantly increase world rice production, especially in Asia, saving millions from famine while protecting the environment and training thousands of researchers.
In 2005, it was estimated that 60% of the world's rice area was planted to IRRI-bred rice varieties or their progenies.
A report published by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in 2011 assessed the impact of IRRI's breeding work in three countries in South East Asia between 1985 and 2009. It found IRRI's breeding work delivered an annual benefit of US$1.46 billion per year and boosted rice yields up to 13%.
In 2010, the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) was launched, which IRRI leads in Asia, the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) leads in Africa, and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) leads in Latin America. It aims to "dramatically improve the ability of rice farmers to feed growing populations in some of the world’s poorest nations".
Rice is a staple food in most of Asia. The world’s biggest continent has a per capita rice consumption of 85 kilograms and also accounts for about 90 percent of the over 600 million tons of paddy rice produced worldwide. Other parts of Africa and south Americas are also heavy rice consumers and major rice producers.
Rice remains a most important and staple food for most people in the world and the crop with the longest history of cultivation. More than 3 billion of our poorest people depend on it for their daily food requirement, but for Asia, rice means even more. Rice is cultivated in 113 countries. Rice is a great source of national pride. Most important of all, rice is the one thing that ties Asia together. However, climate change, which is now causing erratic weather patterns, also threatens rice production, and is a matter of serious concern.
IRRI is doing a whole host of research that is helping the world to increase rice production. Global farmers eagerly adopt new technologies and varieties that have resulted in a steady increase in rice yields over the last 50 years since IRRI was established.
Research that IRRI is involved in that is helping farmers increase their rice yields includes: developing new high-yielding rice varieties with built-in resistance to pests, diseases, and other stresses such as heat hit; developing rice crop management strategies that improve nutrient-use efficiency to get the most value out of inputs and reduce wastage; developing climate change mitigation plus adaptation strategies and technologies; training the next generation of rice scientists and building the capacity of rice practitioners to ensure the sustainable development of the rice industry.
Fifty years ago, a turning point in agricultural research that helped launch a revolution in food production occurred - the formation of the IRRI. “Rice science has helped to more than double rice yields in the last fifty years.” The vision of IRRI’s founders to invest in rice research to improve food security is the sort of long-term thinking we need now as we look to find solutions to address the challenges, including climate change, which threaten rice production. Partnership was at the heart of the original agreement to form IRRI and IRRI has forged many important private and public sector partnerships across the world to support efforts to reduce poverty and make sure rice production is sustainable.
Among its achievements, IRRI has identified “Sub 1” gene that can survive more than two weeks under water, and can now be planted by farmers to improve rice yields on flood-prone land throughout the world. New, higher-yielding rice plant along with package of practices could ease threat of hunger for the poor.
More information about IRRI:

International Rice Research Institute
"Rice Science For A Better World"
Non-profit research and training center
Region served
Director General
Main organ
Parent organization
US$57 million (2010)
                                                 Edited and posted by Hồ Đình Hải

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