Thursday, February 23, 2017

US Community Liaison Office gains greater appreciation for IRRI’s work

Weldon (right) acknowledges the role of the U.S. Government in establishing IRRI and in
the development of IR8.

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines – “IRRI has made a real difference in people’s lives by combating famine and malnutrition,” said a representative from the Community Liaison Office of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. “We have heard so much about IRRI, and it’s nice to finally visit for ourselves and have a greater appreciation for rice and what the institute does.”  The delegation visited IRRI headquarters on 19 February to know more about rice science and food security.

Michele Weldon, head of Partnerships and Development, presented an overview of the institute’s agenda. She emphasized IRRI’s role as an agricultural global convener, working in partnership with different countries through their respective national agricultural research and extension system. The party also visited the Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment, the Riceworld Museum, and the International Rice Genebank, which holds in trust the world's largest collection of rice varieties. To date, the Genebank has received more than 5,500 types of rice from IRRI’s U.S. partners.

Weldon also acknowledged the significant role of the U.S. Government when IRRI was established in 1960s by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and in the development of the high-yielding variety IR8 that sparked the Green Revolution. The U.S. continues to work with IRRI in developing rice varieties tolerant of drought, flooding, heat, cold and other environmental stresses and in conserving rice genetic diversity.

“As an American, I wanted to share how the U.S. helped combat famine and poverty in the world and promote food security through scientific research,” Weldon said. "Please spread the word to your colleagues that, here at IRRI, we are very grateful to the U.S. for its contributions and the long partnership that helped us carry out this valuable work for rice farmers and consumers around the world."

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