Tuesday, March 12, 2024

IRRI Regional Director for Asia explores opportunities to strengthen partnerships with stakeholders in Bangladesh and Nepal

21-26 January 2024, Bangladesh and Nepal: 

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Regional Director for Asia, Dr. Jongsoo Shin, visited Bangladesh and Nepal from 21 to 26 January 2024 to strengthen IRRI’s partnership with major stakeholders in Bangladesh and Nepal. 

In Bangladesh, Dr. Shin met the newly appointed Agriculture Minister Dr. Md. Abdus Shahid, and congratulated him on behalf of IRRI on his prestigious appointment as the Minister of Agriculture. He briefed the Agriculture Minister about  IRRI’s research and development activities in Bangladesh and acknowledged the government’s strong support for IRRI. The Agriculture Minister appreciated IRRI’s significant contribution to increasing rice production in Bangladesh. The minister identified some challenges in Bangladesh's agri-food system such as the increasing population, scarcity of land and water, climate change, food price inflation, inefficient value chains, etc., and requested IRRI’s continued partnership to increase rice production in the future.

Dr. Shin also visited different stakeholders in Bangladesh including the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), the World Bank, and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), briefed them about IRRI’s research and innovations in the rice-based agri-food systems and learned their investment priorities in the agri-food systems. He brought up opportunities for future collaborations on food and nutrition security, building climate-smart, rice-based agri-food systems, value addition, modern breeding techniques, and capacity building for government agriculture personnel.

In Nepal, Dr. Shin met with the Agriculture Minister, Dr. Bedu Ram Bhusal; the Agriculture Secretary Dr. Govinda Prasad Sharma; the Executive Director of Nepal Agriculture Research Council, Dr. Dhruba Raj Bhattarai; Joint Secretary of Agricultural Development Division, Dr. Ram Krishna Shrestha, and other senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development to discuss IRRI’s research activities and partnerships in the country.

Nepal is currently importing about 20% of its rice demand and this is a major concern for national food security and draining of foreign currency reserves. Increasing rice production, achieving self-sufficiency in rice, and decreasing annual rice imports are major priorities of the government in Nepal. The Agriculture Minister sought IRRI’s support to increase rice production in Nepal through research, innovation, and capacity development.

Dr. Shin also discussed possible collaborations and future funding opportunities for the rice-based agri-food system in Nepal with officials from development partners including USAID,  Winrock Nepal, and KOICA. In a meeting with the KOICA Nepal Country Director Kong Mooheon and Deputy Country Director Chung Yoonhee,  the possible collaboration opportunities in areas of climate-resilient agriculture, rice seed production and marketing, testing and scaling of improved rice varieties, intensification and diversification of rice-based cropping systems, and agricultural value chain development were discussed.

Dr. Shin was accompanied by Dr. Humnath Bhandari, IRRI country representative to Bangladesh.


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