Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Japan: JIRCAS and GRiSP hold the international seminar and workshop on rice research collaboration

Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) conducted an international seminar and  workshop to review and evaluate the achievements of Japanese collaboration on rice research over the past three decades. Rice Research Collaboration: Past and Future, held on 4-5 March in Tsukuba, also focused on the current situation, identified new research areas for future collaboration, and strengthened the partnership between Japan and CGIAR scientists.

“Technology development for rice production, processing, and distribution has always been the primary concern of  JIRCAS,” said Dr. Masa Iwanaga, president of JIRCAS. “This is because rice is life in many Asian countries including Japan. Even now JIRCAS devotes more than 20% of its entire resources to rice science.”

JIRCAS plays an important role in the area of international rice research as a strategic partner of the GRiSP. In 2014, IRRI-Japan collaborative research project, founded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), marked its 30th anniversary. This collaboration is one of the most successful projects in rice research.

“JIRCAS researchers have been involved in the six phases of the project for three decades so it is high time to celebrate and reflect on the role of this long-term collaboration,” Dr. Iwanaga added.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Akira Endo, director of International Research Division of MAFF, noted the importance of enhancing the “general economic level in the community as a whole through high-value added product by utilizing the private sector vitality and fund.”

The seminar and workshop provided timely information for the second round of CGIAR Research Programs, according to Dr. Takuji Sasaki, a member of CGIAR’s Independent Science & Partnership Council. Meanwhile, Dr. Akinori Noguchi, member of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Board of Trustees, hoped for more social science research to cover the possible problems that could result from aging population.

Prof. Keijiro Otsuka, chair of the  Oversight Committee of GRiSP and professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, and Dr. Gurdev Khush, a former IRRI breeding director and now adjunct professor at the University of California, Davis delivered the keynote addresses.

Dr. Matthew Morell, IRRI deputy director general for research discussed potential and future areas for collaboration between IRRI and Japan. Dr. Marco Wopereis, deputy director general of Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), and Dr. David Johnson, head of IRRI’s Crop and Environmental Sciences Division discussed the Japan-GRiSP collaboration in Africa and Asia, respectively. Prof. Kensuke Okada, professor and director at the University of Tokyo discussed the Japanese collaboration with the  International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Ninety-four participants attended the seminar while 75 people attended sessions on genomics, genetic resources, and breeding; physiology and production environment; and climate change and impact assessment during the workshop on 5 March.

Participants came from various organizations including JIRCAS, IRRI, MAFF, CIAT, AfricaRice, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences,  Japan International Cooperation Agency, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization,  Tokyo University of Agriculture, Nagoya University, Tsukuba University, Kyushu University, NARO Institute of Crop Science, Kyoto University, United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, and Tohoku University.

The events were organized by JIRCAS and GRiSP with support from the Research Council Secretariat of MAFF, NARO, NIAS, NIAES, as well as the CGIAR research centers: IRRI and AfricaRice.

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