Thursday, May 29, 2014

More focused strategic approach for STRASA Phase 3

By Maria Rowena M. Baltazar and Rona Azucena

Following its successful first two phases, the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project recently launched its third phase at its inception and planning workshop on 20–23 May in Delhi, India. Building on its already strong network of partners in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Africa, STRASA Phase 3 will have more focused and strategic approaches that will integrate efficient breeding pipelines with gender-focused monitoring and evaluation and dissemination roadmaps.

STRASA, which continues to be the flagship program for IRRI, Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), began at the end of 2007 to develop and deliver rice varieties tolerant of abiotic stresses to the millions of farmers living in unfavorable rice-growing environments in Asia and Africa.  “STRASA not only develops products but also develops strategies that help get its products into the hands of the right people,” said Bas Bouman, director of GRiSP.

Gary Atlin, senior program officer for BMGF, emphasized how the project was extremely innovative during its two previous phases and looks forward to how STRASA will maintain its successes and impacts for the next 5 years.  

The event was attended by about 300 participants from South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, including dignitaries from India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Subbanna Ayyapan, director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, thanked the project for its contribution in transforming poverty to prosperity for many people in underserviced areas.

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