LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are set on bringing their 40-year partnership to a new level.
“It is a good idea to formalize our partnership,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao, who was at IRRI yesterday (17 December 2015) with members of the bank’s leadership to visit experimental sites and discuss with IRRI management and scientists collaboration on agricultural development and food security across Asia.
ADB and IRRI have worked together since 1975, with ADB financing 33 projects involving USD 26 million in grants for research, capacity building, and infrastructure development.
Such a long-standing and fruitful collaboration “should be elevated and officially bound by a memorandum of understanding,” said Corinta Guerta, IRRI’s director of external relations, who added that the joint work could be enhanced by a more encompassing agreement, beyond project-by-project arrangements.
“Mr. Nakao also came with much personal interest because he is very aware of the cultural as well as economic importance of rice to his home country of Japan and its people, and the role IRRI varieties have played in Japanese contemporary history,” shared Bruce Tolentino, deputy director general for communication and partnerships.
“He has also seen how, in the ADB member countries all across Asia, rice is such an important commodity, and he knows IRRI has played an important role in supporting food security all across Asia,” Tolentino said of Nakao.
The ADB president visited IRRI with his management team to explore ways in which the two organizations could work together even more intensively, especially with the growing challenges of an ever-increasing population, the stresses of climate change, and deteriorating natural resources, particularly land and water.
Accompanying President Nakao were his senior advisor Mio Oka; officers from the Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations (Diwakar Gupta, vice president, and Jacob Sorensen, senior advisor to the vice president), Rural Development and Food Security (Mahfuz Ahmed, technical advisor), and Natural Resources and Agriculture Division (directors of environment Akmal Siddiq for Central and West Asia, Takashi Matsuo for South Asia, and Qingfeng Zhang for East Asia); and Bernadette Agustin, natural resources and agriculture officer.#
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