New India, IRRI partnership to boost South Asia’s rice sector

20170802 new india irri partnership1The Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) was signed by IRRI Director General Matthew Morell (right) and DAC&FW Secretary S.K. Pattanayak (left). With them is Minister Radha Mohan Singh (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare). [Image source: IRRI]The government of India and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) further bolsters their partnership to ensure food and nutrition security and capacity development in the South Asian region

A Memorandum of Agreement was signed on 2 August in Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi, by IRRI Director General Matthew Morell and Hon. Secretary S.K. Pattanayak of the Indian Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare. The MOA signing precedes the 12 July approval of the Union Cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, for the establishment of the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

In an official statement by the Indian Press Information Bureau, ISARC will be the first international center in eastern India. The center will drive initiatives that focus holistically on the rice value chain in the country.

ISARC is designed to provide a regional facility that supports research collaboration, training, and service provision to institutions, scientists, and other stakeholders from India and other South Asian and African nations. The center will house a modern and sophisticated research facility that aims to develop higher-yielding and more nutritious rice varieties that also meet the eating preferences of consumers.

The center will be managed by IRRI and work commences immediately with the objective of commissioning the Center within six months.

“While IRRI has historically helped India to meet its overall food security needs through the green revolution high-yielding rice varieties such as IR8, the challenge now is to deliver increased livelihoods for farmers through increasing the value of rice and increasing the well-being of farmers and consumers through enhanced nutrition outcomes. This agreement opens up more exciting collaborative activities in developing higher-yielding and more nutritious rice varieties that also meet the eating preferences of consumers,” said Dr. Morell. “It is important that new and improved rice varieties also possess superior grain quality that add value through meeting domestic and export market expectations to further improve the lives of farmers who rely on rice for their livelihood and sustenance,” he added. 

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