Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Research and agriculture leaders join IRRI board of trustees

Three new members joined the regular biannual meeting of the Board of Trustees of IRRI on 3-5 April at IRRI HQ in Los BaƱos: Subbanna Ayyappan of India, Kaye Basford of Australia, and Jim Godfrey, OBE, of the UK.

Subbanna Ayappan (India)
Dr. Ayyappan is the secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) of the Ministry of Agriculture of India. He is also the director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), where he worked previously as deputy director general of fisheries.

Dr. Ayyappan stated that the collaborative work between IRRI and ICAR has helped India cross the 100 million ton mark in annual rice production. “We have been in touch with IRRI management and scientists in so many ways so I am happy to be on the Board starting this year. I look forward to sharing experiences with my fellow Board members and colleagues from different parts of the world and visiting IRRI headquarters during the BOT meetings.”

He said that IRRI has an important role over the next 20-30 years in enhancing the productivity and profitability of rice farming, as well as ensuring nutrition for the increasing world population.

Kaye Basford (Australia)
Dr. Basford is a professor of biometry at the University of Queensland, where she is also currently president of the Academic Board and was head of the School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences (2001-11).

She is also currently president of the International Biometric Society and is a past president of the Statistical Society of Australia, Inc. and of the Queensland Zone of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology. Her academic focus has been on the analysis and interpretation of data from large-scale multi-environment plant breeding experiments, such as those conducted by international agricultural research centers.

Being a new Trustee, she said that the Board’s role in a nonprofit organization like IRRI is to help oversee what it is doing and help deliver on its mission. She added that the external perspective provided by the Board helps ensure that IRRI could move forward in its aim to advance rice science.

“I think IRRI has a lot to offer in the future, and I don’t think that it’s confined to just rice. I think it’s perhaps even the way an international research center can do things and can bring people together in various ways,” Dr. Basford said.

Jim Godfrey, OBE (UK)
Dr. Godfrey is a farmer from the United Kingdom and an alumnus of the University of Reading. He is former chair of the International Potato Center (CIP), the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), the UK Potato Marketing Board, the Sentry Farming Group plc, the Dream Direct Group plc, and the alliance of the 15 CGIAR centers that he represented with governments, the United Nations, and the World Bank.

“IRRI always came across as a large center, well-organized and doing good work,” said Dr. Godfrey. “I hope I can bring a perspective of a farmer onto the Board. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the research community, but what I’m interested in seeing is how that research is taken through to practice.”

The IRRI BOT will meet next in Burundi in October 2013.

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