Tuesday, May 27, 2014

VIP visits foster stronger NARES partnership

Several high ranking government officials from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Viet Nam, and Malaysia have visited IRRI over the past two weeks to strengthen collaboration between their respective countries and the Institute. The VIPs were welcomed by IRRI officials led by IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler, Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships Bruce Tolentino and Partnerships Office Head Julian Lapitan.

Thailand’s Rice Department

Thailand’s Rice Department Director General Chanpithya Shimpalee and party visited IRRI on 14-15 May. Aside from an overview of the Institute’s research agenda, the officials met with GRiSP Director Bas Bouman and the program's theme leaders to discuss GRiSP's different research areas.

Over its 50-year partnership with Thailand, IRRI’s rice research targeted pest management, genetic diversity conservation, and growing rice in unfavorable environments which  helped increases Thailand’s rice production, making it one of the world’s biggest exporters of rice. Working closely together, IRRI and Thailand created the Thai Rice Knowledge Bank which highlights country-specific, up-to-date information on rice and rice-based cropping systems for farmers and extension workers in Thailand.

Philippine House of Representatives

Fifteen members of the House of Representatives visited on 19 May. The lawmakers from the House committees on Agriculture and Food, Science and Technology, and Food Security were updated on the latest developments in rice research.

The partnership of IRRI and the Philippine government dates back in 1960 when the Institute was founded. Through the Department of Agriculture, 107 IRRI-developed varieties suited to irrigated and upland areas, saline environments, and low-temperature have been released to help raise Filipino farmers’ productivity and income.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture
Dr. Rusman Heriawan, vice minister of Agriculture of Indonesia, and party visited on 20 May. The state officials were interested in IRRI's research activities as a strategy for poverty and hunger alleviation.

For more than 30 years, Indonesia and IRRI's collaboration has generated rice technologies to help maintain the country’s rice self-sufficiency which it has achieved since 1984.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)

Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and party visited on 21 May. The visit was set to further discuss IRRI’s technical assistance to different programs and missions with Vietnam.

Vietnam and IRRI have worked hand in hand in areas of varietal improvement, conservation of rice diversity, sustainable farming systems, and capacity building since 1963. As of 2012, 89 IRRI-bred lines have been released as varieties in Vietnam.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Agriculture

Malaysia’s Minister of Agriculture Secretary General Y Bhg Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Bin Abdullah and his delegation visited IRRI on 21 May. The officials learn more about the Institute’s research activities.

Malaysia’s partnership with IRRI started in 1963 and has since worked on the development of hybrid varieties, mechanization of seed production, and ecological engineering approach in irrigated rice ecosystem. As of 2012, 16 varieties have been released as varieties in Malaysia.

These visits highlight the strong partnership between IRRI and NARES which has greatly strengthened the development and delivery of appropriate and up-to-date sustainable rice  growing technologies to farmers.

IRRI Photos of the visits are now available in flckr  

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