IRRI inks rice research pact with India

January 20th, 2009 - 5:06 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Jan.20 (ANI): An international agreement signed today between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) will support and facilitate India’’s rice research for the next three years, helping the nation’’s rice production at a time of unprecedented price volatility and subsequent need for the revitalization of food production.
The work plan includes agreements on three major projects supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Stress-tolerant rice for poor farmers in Africa and South Asia (STRASA), the Cereal systems initiative for South Asia (CSISA), and Creating the second green revolution by supercharging photosynthesis: C4 rice.
STRASA aims to develop and distribute improved varieties of rice that can be grown in rainfed ecosystems, where farmers have little or no access to irrigation, and that can withstand environmental stresses such as drought, submergence, and salinity.
CSISA’’s 10-year goal is to produce an additional five million tons of grain annually and increase the yearly incomes of 6 million poor rural households by at least USD 350. The initiative will employ innovative public-private partnerships for delivery of technology to farmers.
By converting rice from so-called C3 photosynthesis to the more efficient C4 photosynthesis, the C4 project aims to develop rice plants that can produce 50 percent more grain using less fertilizer and less water.
“The agreement will develop, promote, and accelerate rice research and training efforts between IRRI and ICAR,” said Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, IRRI director general. “The renewed collaboration will also provide important support for India’’s other investments in agriculture and help India strengthen its science capacity.”
“The work plan focuses on conserving, evaluating, and enhancing genetic resources,” added Dr. Mangala Rai, ICAR director general, “as well as enhancing the productivity and sustainability of intensive cereal systems; improving productivity and livelihood for fragile environments; assessing the impact of, mitigation of, and adaptation to climate change; and strengthening linkages between research and development, including training.” (ANI)

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