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Former IRRI DG Bob Zeigler receives 5th Class of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand for contributions to Thai rice sector

IRRI Representative for Southeast Asia Dr. David Johnson receives The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand 5th Class on behalf of former IRRI Director General Dr. Robert “Bob” Zeigler

Pahonyothin Road, Bangkok—March 16, 2018—For his significant contribution and leadership towards strengthening the Kingdom of Thailand’s rice sector, the former Director General of the International Rice Research Institute Dr. Robert “Bob” Zeigler was conferred the Most Noble Order of the Crown 5th class. The award was received on his behalf by IRRI Representative for Southeast Asia Dr. David Johnson.

In his more than ten years of service as IRRI Director General, Dr. Zeigler’s valuable leadership and support of joint initiatives have enhanced the close partnership between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Institute. Such collaborations have led to breeding better rice varieties, development of rice protection systems, adoption of seed technology innovations, and capacity building of personnel from Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

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The Thai Insignia is bestowed upon individuals who have carried on goodness and virtue to the Kingdom of Thailand, and was given to Zeigler for his devotion in providing a strong support to the rice research and development of Thailand. This award also distinguishes IRRI as an organization that has been key to increasing yield and livelihood opportunities for Thai farmers.

Heavily passionate on addressing concerns that affect rice growers and consumers worldwide, Dr. Zeigler has had opportunities to have an audience with the Royal family of Thailand on multiple occasions. He had a Royal audience with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in August 2009 at the Klai Kangwon Palace in the coastal city of Hua Hin to discuss about the International Rice GeneBank and IRRI’s various activities in Thailand.

Moreover, in November 2009, H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited IRRI for the launching of the Institute’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration. The Royal Princess also cut the ribbon to officially open the 6th International Rice Genetics Symposium held in Manila that year.

It was also under the patronage of the Royal Government of Thailand, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, that IRRI was able to organize the 4th International Rice Congress (IRC) in November 2014 in Bangkok. About 2,000 delegates from 69 countries convened in the event to discuss on the theme “Rice for the World.”

Apart from earlier milestones, IRRI and Thailand continue to work on protecting rice farmers, through technologies that aid in monitoring rice production. Current collaborative works seek to close gaps in rice yield by optimizing productivity and sustainability of irrigated rice production systems.

IRRI has likewise been exploring ways to address threats and effects of climate change on agriculture and food security in Thailand. One explored option is to manage rice straw to add value to the rice crop, while reducing environmental footprint of rice production systems. Laser land leveling and the use of farm machinery are also being promoted. IRRI and Thailand have been collaborating on rice research projects for more than 50 years.

About the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science; improving the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers; and protecting the rice-growing environment for future generations.

IRRI is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government. The institute, headquartered in Los Baños, Philippines, has offices in 17 rice-growing countries in Asia and Africa, and over 1,000 staff.

Working with in-country partners, IRRI develops advanced rice varieties that yield more grain and better withstand pests and disease as well as flooding, drought, and other harmful effects of climate change.

About The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand

The Royal Thai Insignia was established by His Majesty King Rama IV in 1869. The Thai insignias are elaborately made to be given to individuals who have carried on goodness and virtue for, and have extended outstanding services to the Kingdom of Thailand.