Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Dr. Jauhar Ali invited to University of Bonn for special seminar on climate-smart rice

18 June 2019 – IRRI Senior Scientist and Head of Hybrid Rice Breeding Dr. Jauhar Ali was invited last June 12 by the Institute for Crop Sciences and Resource Conservation of the University of Bonn, Germany to give a special seminar on ‘climate-smart rice for global food security’.

Dr. Ali’s seminar, which was attended by students and staff of the university, established the importance of rice as a global food staple, and how research into areas like climate-resilient crops, biofortification, crop management technologies, and policies on food availability and access can help ensure food and nutrition security.

Dr. Ali then went on to talk about Green Super Rice (GSR), a category of rice varieties and hybrids so named for their environmental sustainability and high resource-use efficiency. These cultivars, developed through an IRRI breeding strategy of identifying promising introgression lines with target traits and bred through Designed QTL Pyramiding, combine high yield potential with less inputs, multiple biotic and abiotic tolerances, and good grain quality that can help farmers achieve stable harvests and income amid climatic stresses. 

Dr. Ali added that GSR inbred breeding strategies have been able to shorten development to about 4-5 years, as compared to 8-10 years in conventional breeding.  Hundreds of GSR materials have already been shared to partners in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa, with 55 GSR varieties in total. 27 have been directly developed at IRRI and has been tested, adapted, and released in target countries in less than 10 years. 106 IRRI climate-smart varieties are in the pipeline for release in 6 countries.

Dr. Ali also shared a video on how GSR was able to help farmers in Leyte in the Philippines after being hit by Typhoon Haiyan. With GSR8, GSR11 and GSR12 varieties, farmers were able to maintain yields with less water and little to no fertilizer or pesticide, reducing costs and impact to the environment. In another impact story, a new GSR variety called Inpari 46 Agritan was able to tolerate coastal salinity and drought in Indonesia, producing 10 tons per hectare with a 65% yield rate.

Dr. Ali concluded his seminar with some key findings from IRRI’s research, including that several parental lines developed with multiple abiotic stress tolerances are being utilized to develop Climate Smart Rice Hybrids, and that genomics-assisted breeding helped in the identification of superior parental materials for Designed QTL Pyramiding.

After Dr. Ali’s seminar, University of Bonn students and staff were eager to discuss collaborations on further research and student exchanges with IRRI. Dr. Ali was also eager to collaborate, as it was a great opportunity to advance upstream research with the university’s expertise in molecular biology, physiology, and biotechnology. 

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