Search site

Gates Foundation funds USD 30M IRRI initiative to unify and modernize rice breeding efforts in South Asia and Africa

IRRI deepened its partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in a ground-breaking initiative to help hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers in the developing world grow better rice crops and improve their livelihoods.

The Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance will unify and modernize existing rice breeding efforts in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The USD 30 million five-year research program, funded by BMGF, will sustainably provide new and improved rice varieties to farmers. In particular, it will focus on the needs of women in the rice value chain.

The AGGRi Alliance will combine the progress made in modernizing IRRI’s rice breeding through the recently-ended Transforming Rice Breeding (TRB) project with the trialing networks and germplasm from the Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project into a single initiative that will expand rice variety testing networks into a globally aligned, modernized rice breeding “community of practice.”

These regional networks will be unified by a set of standards developed to make breeding decisions consistent with the demands of farmers, consumers, and processors in those regions. The overall objective will be to create high-performing national agricultural research and extension systems breeding networks across Africa and South Asia, linked to the centralized breeding capacity at IRRI.

TRB and STRASA were also funded by BMGF.