Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Indian agriculture secretary signs up for stronger ties with IRRI

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Honorable Shri Ashish Bahuguna, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, signed a memorandum of agreement with IRRI on 10 November 2012 to further strengthen collaborations with one of the largest rice-producing and -consuming countries in the world.

Secretary Bahuguna was in IRRI 8-11 November 2012, accompanied by Reena Saha, director for crops, and R.K. Trivedi, deputy commissioner for seeds quality control in the Ministry.

Robert Zeigler, IRRI director general; V. Bruce J. Tolentino, deputy director general for communications and partnerships; and several scientists gave Secretary Bahuguna a briefing on IRRI's work and activities in India through a series of presentations. Potential areas for future collaboration were also discussed.

"Working with India in the last 12 years, I have noticed that the country is quite progressive in improving capacity of its research institutions,” said Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI scientists and leader of the Stress-tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) Project. “Things are changing. Indian institutions are now involved in technology development at all levels. We have good scientists, good platforms, to take this partnership steps forward."

The Secretary’s visit to IRRI was initiated and facilitated by the STRASA Project, about which he was given an introduction by Dr. Ismail and Uma Shankar Singh, STRASA-South Asia regional coordinator. The Project's impact from the development of drought-, salt-, and submergence-tolerant varieties—and their proper management—was also taken up.

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