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IRRI South Asia Regional Centre

The 50-year partnership between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Republic of India reached another significant milestone with the opening of the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Shri Narendra Modi, officially inaugurated the state-of-the-art rice research facility on 29 December 2018, dedicating it to the people of India as part of his ambitious goal of doubling farmers’ incomes.

The IRRI South Asia Regional Centre is a regional facility that supports research collaboration, training, and service provision to institutions, scientists, and other stakeholders from India and other South Asian and African nations.

International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC), Varanasi has been established at the campus of the National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) located in Varanasi through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DoACFW, Government of India) and IRRI, Philippines. ISARC is the first research center of IRRI to be established outside of its headquarters in Philippines.

The Government of India vide its Gazette notification dated October 4, 2017 recognises IRRI as an international organisation and accorded privileges and immunities (As per UN Privileges and Immunities Act 1947) that are applicable to United Nations (UN) organizations, for all offices and activities of IRRI in India including, for the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre.


  • Enhance South-South collaboration and strengthen the capacity of rice-growing countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in crop production, seed quality, and to enhance farmers’ income.
  • Deliver research for development services for the private and public sectors through its state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for grain quality, crop production and nutritional quality.
  • Enable knowledge transfer through short courses on rice-based agri-food systems and other IRRI Education products within the region.

IRRI SARC Products and Services

Centre for Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA)

  • Research toward the production of state-of-the-art grain quality in rice
  • Develop grain and nutritional quality profile of high quality traditional rice
  • Improvement of nutritional quality in rice
  • Research in low glycemic index rice
  • Understanding heavy metal contamination, Rice value chain, process and rice based product developments

Read more on IRRI’s work on nutrition and grain quality.

Broader Program of Research and Development (BPRP)

  • Center for phenotyping excellence
  • Developing and delivering climate-resilient and stress-tolerant rice varieties
  • Production of new high yielding varieties that meet market demand and expectations.
  • Agronomy research on systems intensification and optimization, GIS, nutrient and water management
  • Intensifying cereal cropping systems to invigorate economic activities across many regions
  • Postharvest losses and straw management

Learn more about IRRI’s work in South Asia.

IRRI Research and Education Program (IREP)

  • Short training courses on rice based agri-food systems
  • Scholars and internships
  • IRRI Education products delivered to the private sector, NARES partners in India, international students from SAARC and Sub-Saharan Africa, and state and national government officials

Read more on IRRI’s work on training and capacity building.