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IRRI and Vietnam affirm mutual commitment for a more collaborative rice research

Top officials of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) led by its Vice Minister, Le Quoc Doanh, discussed the future directions of the research collaboration between MARD and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in a virtual meeting on 18 September 2020. Dr. Doanh acknowledged the fruitful 60-year partnership between IRRI and Vietnam, specifically on sharing rice varieties, providing capacity building, and expanding support to climate change and resource management.

IRRI was represented by Jim Godfrey, IRRI Board of Trustees (BOT) chair, Matthew Morell, IRRI Director General, former MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat and current member of the IRRI Board, and Dr. Yurdi Yasmi and Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, the institute’s regional representative for Southeast Asia and country representative to Vietnam, respectively.

“I expressed my gratitude to Vietnam’s strong support for and collaboration with IRRI that has contributed significantly to the development of the rice sector in the country,” said Dr. Godfrey who acknowledged the importance of the relationship between the two during the meeting that discussed the One CGIAR reform. “I look forward to the same level of commitment under the new CGIAR platform.”

One CGIAR, which starts on 1 October 2020, will place the 15 CGIAR Centers under one governance to enable its partnerships, knowledge, assets, and global presence to reach greater integration and impact in the face of the interdependent challenges facing today’s world.
“CGIAR is concerned with developing an agriculture system that enhances farmers’ livelihoods and adapts to and mitigates the impact of climate change,” said Dr. Morell. He stressed that under One CGIAR, CGIAR centers working in Vietnam will be an integrated system for collaboration and resource sharing to address climate-related risks such as salinity intrusion and drought. IRRI has asked MARD to make Vietnam’s position clear on the One CGIAR process in terms of its commitments and the support.

In response, Dr. Doanh made a commitment on behalf of MARD to give full support to One CGIAR and inform the CGIAR System Council about IRRI’s important work in Vietnam.

Dr. Morell also encouraged MARD to harness regional platforms such as the Council for Partnership on Rice Research in Asia (CORRA) and the ASEAN RiceNet for sharing knowledge and technologies for the improvement of the region’s rice sector. The Vice Minister supported the idea of actively participating in CORRA by promoting and sharing Vietnam’s successful programs.

Finally, Dr. Morell asked MARD to work with IRRI in securing multilateral projects to continue future cooperation and invited Vietnam to engage in South-South cooperation, especially with African countries, on rice sector development.

Dr. Phat expressed support for South-South collaborations with IRRI and shared Vietnam’s previous activities to help the African rice sector. 

Representatives from attached agencies under MARD presented a more specific research agenda to IRRI. Dr. Nguyen Quang Tin of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment proposed priority areas of collaborative research, such as rice variety development, soil management, and postharvest technologies. Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach of the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute discussed pressing research concerns for the Mekong River Delta and requested IRRI to expand its human resource development and capacity building activities; exchange varieties and genetic resources with improved quality, climate change resilience; improve nutrition and strengthen rice value chains; address sedimentation; reassess technologies and practices and share them to farmers; and form working groups to implement these activities.

CGIAR is a global partnership of 15 organizations conducting research for a food-secure future. Recently, One CGIAR was announced aiming for greater integration and impact in the face of the interdependent challenges facing today’s world.

Other organizations under CGIAR include Africa Rice Center, Center for International Forestry Research, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, International Livestock Research Institute, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, International Potato Center, International Water Management Institute, The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, World Agroforestry, and WorldFish.

These organizations will continue to work together to address food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and improvement of quality of life, gender equality and social inclusion, climate change, and environment and biodiversity.