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IRRI deepens its partnership with the Government of India through ICAR

IRRI and ICAR have signed a five-year work plan, strengthening the 60-year relationship between India and the organization.

(VARANASI, Uttar Pradesh, 19 April 2023) - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has renewed its partnership with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) strengthening its operations in the country for another five years. A work plan signing ceremony was organized at the International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC), Varanasi on 19 April 2023.

The renewed partnership was emphasized in the work plan for 2023-2027 signed between Dr. Jean Balié, IRRI Director General and Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary DARE & DG, ICAR, revitalizing IRRI’s 60-year-old collaboration with the government of India through ICAR.

Over the past decades, IRRI has been working with ICAR over a number of initiatives and programs. Moving forward, the work plan is envisioned to further expand the development and adoption of key innovations and research such as the direct seeded rice system, enhancing the nutritional quality of different rice varieties, and the climate resilient rice systems, among others.

Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary DARE & DG, ICAR, said, “Rice is not just a staple food for India but an important part of our culture, heritage, and economy. The development of India will come from agricultural development and the development of rice will usher agricultural development in the country and IRRI is at the forefront of rice research and development. This collaboration between ICAR and IRRI is exemplary and one which can be emulated. During time of the second prime minister of India ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ was propagated in honour of the soldier and farmers, which got elevated by adding ‘jai vigyan’ to propagate the importance of science and now this has been further expanded to ‘jai anusandhan’ to further amplify the importance of research, thereby completing the whole cycle of all the four - jai jawan, jai kisan, jain vigyan and jai anusandhan, making it the present day ‘amritkal’.”

With evolving national priorities, ICAR’s strategy for agriculture in India focuses on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth. With this in mind, the present work plan outlines an ‘exciting and forward-looking’ research and development partnership that will not only enhance India’s rice sector for the coming five years but will take it to the global level.

Based on the priorities of ICAR and IRRI for rice research in the country, the following five broad thematic areas of mutual collaboration have been identified for 2023 to 2027:

  • Establish a framework for developing market oriented rice varieties with higher genetic gains using IRRI’s OneRice Breeding Strategy
  • Integrated direct seeded rice systems for India
  • Rice-based health and nutrition
  • The climate-resilient rice systems 
  • Integrated capacity building

“While IRRI and India’s collaboration has evolved over the years, so have the needs, expectations, and environment of doing business in relation to what is happening  not  only in  India  but also regionally and globally. IRRI, together with the rest of CGIAR centers, through the OneCGIAR strategy, has been a staunch supporter of research and development to address the continuously changing challenges of the agri-food system,” said Dr. Jean Balié.

“IRRI and ICAR have maintained strong research collaborations since 1965. The same level of commitment can be expected during and even beyond the next five years of this new roadmap,” he added.

Also, present at the event were dignitaries like Dr. TR Sharma, DDG (CS), ICAR; Dr. AK Misra, Principal Scientist, (IR); Dr. JP Mishra; and Dr. Bikash Mandal, from ICAR; Dr. Ram Krishna Shresth, Joint Secretary, (AD) Nepal; Dr. Ajay Kohli, DDGR, Dr. Nese Sreenivasulu, Mr. AJ Poncin, Chief of Staff & Head of Portfolio Development and Management; and Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director ISARC from IRRI headquarters and India. Dr. AK Singh, Director, IARI; and Dr. RM Sundaram, Director, IIRI joined online for the event.

Giving the vote of thanks Dr. Ajay Kohli, DDGR, IRRI re-emphasized on the words spoken by Dr. Himanshu and committed to deliver on science and research.