Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nepal: IRRI signs 5-year rice research and development work plan with NARC

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC signed a 5-year work (2014-2019) plan to strengthen the country’s rice research and development program on 21 October in Kathmandu.

NARC-IRRI work plan 2014-2019 document was signed by Dil Bahadur Gurung, NARC executive director, and Matthew Morell, IRRI deputy director general-research, signed the plan in the presence of Bhartendu Mishra, Honorable Member in-charge for Agriculture, Science, and Labor in National Planning Commission.

Dr. Mishra, the chief guest of the function stressed the need for increased collaboration with IRRI because rice is the most important crop of Nepal. He acknowledged the role of IRRI in providing rice technologies and capacity building of research facilities, scientists and extension officers of Nepal.  Dr. Mishra said he will work with the Government of Nepal to make more resources available for rice research and development.

He also praised the contribution of scientists working on rice with very limited resources and advised them to continue to work on 14 collaborative projects identified and included in the current work plan. Dr. Mishra encouraged them to develop farmer-friendly rice technologies for easy adoption to enhance the productivity of rice in Nepal from the present levels of 3.2 tons per hectare.  He acknowledged that several climate resilient varieties have been developed jointly with IRRI by NARC scientists and these need to be made available to the farming communities by adopting faster dissemination methods.

Dr. Gurung expressed his gratitude for all the help IRRI has been providing Nepal in developing new rice varieties and technologies, and training for its scientists for over four decades. He said that the five year work plan is a very important and significant step that will further strengthen the ongoing collaborative rice research between Nepal and IRRI. He expressed full confidence that Nepal’s science community will make full use of IRRI’s global experience in addressing and overcoming local problems and impediments that hinder rice productivity. He also urged IRRI’s help in improving Nepal’s biotechnology and pathology facilities and hybrid rice development.

Dr. Gurung also acknowledge the guidance and leadership JK Ladha, IRRI representative for India and Nepal, has been providing to Nepal’s agricultural scientists during the past two decades through RWC, CSISA projects, and training of a new generation of rice scientists in the country.

Dr. Morell mentioned that, though IRRI HQ is located in the Philippines, the work it is doing is nothing but the sum of all the work carried out the collaborators across the rice growing world. He emphasized the Institute’s intent to work together and establish stronger partnership with national programs. He informed the gathering that the present work plan is just the start of building a systematic engagement in Nepal.

Dr. Ladha presented the Rice Research Strategy for Nepal, a document prepared by IRRI in collaboration with NARC, where the overall goal of the rice program is to increase rice yields by at least 3% per annum for the next two and a half decades. He highlighted the challenges rice cultivation facing and also provided a list of priority research portfolio for rice research and development.

Also present at the event were principle rice collaborators, directors and division heads of NARC. Dr. Bhaba Tripathi, senior associate scientist, IRRI Nepal Office facilitated proceedings. A detailed presentation of the 14 projects included in NARC-IRRI work plan was prepared by Mr. N. K. Yadav, rice coordinator and Mr. Ram Baran Yadav, NARC senior scientist.

IRRI and NARC launches the IRRI Nepal web site

Coinciding with the 5-year NARC-IRRI work plan signing, the two agencies launched the IRRI Nepal website on 21 October in Kathmandu. The website, designed developed by IRRI HQ and India IT teams,   contains information on IRRI collaborative work in Nepal and information on Nepal nationals who worked or are working in IRRI, Nepal scientists trained by IRRI, updates and IRRI events in Nepal. The web site was formally launched by Dr. Dil B. Gurung, NARC executive director, and Dr. Matthew Morell, IRRI deputy director general-research before NARES representatives and local media.

JK Ladha, IRRI representative for India and Nepal, demonstrated and navigated through the live website and explained contents and importance having the information accessible to the public. Dr. Ladha appealed to national partners to help make the web site a repository of knowledge on rice research in the country by contributing information from time to time.

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