The visitors came to IRRI to learn about the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) Project, coordinated by IRRI in South Asia, and about IRRI's other projects in their countries. They were welcomed by V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships, and Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI principal scientist and STRASA project leader.
The officials had discussions with members of IRRI management and scientists on IRRI's research on nutrient-enriched rice, Global Rice Science Partnerships (GRiSP) initiatives, and Nutrient Manager. They were also given an update on stress-tolerant rice varieties developed and disseminated by IRRI in partnership with the NARES, such as Swarna-Sub 1, Sahbhagi Dhan, and CSR36 for submergence-, drought-, and salinity-prone areas, respectively.
The visitors went on a tour of the Institute's facilities—the Training Center, International Rice Genebank, and the Molecular Marker Applications and Genetic Transformation laboratories, as well as of the Cybervillage project in a neighboring town.
The officials' visit was an initiative of the STRASA Project aimed to further enhance IRRI's partnership with the governments of these countries and encourage more support as the Institute pursues long-term research in agriculture, specifically in rice research, in South Asia.
The senior government officials were from:
- Mukesh Khullar, joint secretary (crops), Ministry of Agriculture
- Narendra Bhooshan, joint secretary (machinery and technology), Ministry of Agriculture
- Anil Chandra Punetha, principal secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad
- Vivek Kumar Singh, secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of Bihar, Patna
- Rang Lal Jamuda, principal secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of Odisha, Bhubaneswar
- Arun Kumar Singh, secretary, Department of Agriculture, Government of Jharkhand, Ranchi
- Manmath Kumar Raut, principal secretary and agriculture production commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Government of Chhattisgarh, Raipur
- Anwar Faruque, additional secretary and director general, Seed Wing, Ministry of Agriculture
- Mr. Nuruzzaman, member director, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Ministry of Agriculture
- Uttam Kumar Bhattarai, joint secretary, Ministry of Agricultural Development
- Yagya P. Giri, director for research, Nepal Agricultural Research Council
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