Tuesday, July 24, 2012

India: IRRI South Asia rice breeding hub opens

Robert Zeigler (left) and William Dar (second from right), directors general of
IRRI and ICRISAT, respectively, inaugurate IRRI's new rice breeding hub
in India. Darshan Brar (in red turban), former head of plant breeding
at IRRI, also came to witness the event.

The IRRI South Asia Rice Breeding Hub at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, was inaugurated on 9 July 2012 by Robert Zeigler and William Dar, directors general of IRRI and ICRISAT, respectively.

The opening of the breeding hub at ICRISAT is part of IRRI's strategy of targeted breeding efforts for South Asia, done in collaboration with national partners in various countries in the region, and is a step toward achieving the objectives of the CGIAR Research Program on Rice-Based Production Systems through the Global Rice Science Partnership or GRiSP.

Dr. Zeigler, who was in Hyderabad to also attend an international meet on designer rice, said the new facility would go a long way in IRRI’s endeavour for a strong regional presence in South Asia. He thanked ICRISAT for its support and for hosting the hub in the ICRISAT campus.

Dr. Dar, in turn, expressed gladness for IRRI coming to ICRISAT to carry out rice research for South Asia, and assured IRRI of continued support.

Speaking during the occasion, E.A. Siddiq, former deputy director general (crop science) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and former member of the IRRI board of trustees, said that he has "desired so long for IRRI to have a regional facility in South Asia" and expressed happiness on IRRI's decision to open a regional facility in India.

B.C. Viraktamath, head of the Directorate of Rice Research in Hyderabad, is confident that the presence of IRRI in India shall complement rice research that is being carried out by ICAR and agricultural universities in India.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by several representatives from ICRISAT (Hector Hernandez, Rajesh Agrawal, and M. Prabhakar Reddy) and IRRI (J.K. Ladha, M.S. Rao, Paul Quick, Ajay Kohli, Jauhar Ali, Michael Thomson, Arvind Kumar, and Murali Krishna Gumma), including former IRRI scientists Darshan Brar and Melissa Fitzgerald.

The IRRI South Asia Rice Breeding Hub office is located in Rooms 121-126 in Building 303 of ICRISAT and can be reached by phone at 0091-40-30713071, extension 2091 to 2093.

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