Search site

Thailand Rice Department and IRRI ink 2023-2027 Joint Work Plan

BANGKOK, Thailand (03 June 2023) – The Thailand Rice Department and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) signed a joint 5-year work plan in Bangkok, Thailand. The work plan is grounded on the decades-long partnership of both institutions and focuses on the following work areas: Excellence in rice science and further utilization, enhancing production efficiency and problem-solving, climate change, food security, and site-specific production, responding to the need for markets and consumers, and strengthening rice farmers and their organization.

Deputy Director General of the Rice Department, Dr. Chitnucha Buddhaboon emphasized the national importance of rice for Thailand. During the first quarter of 2023, Thailand has already exported more than 2 million tonnes valued at 38.06 billion Thai baht. This is 29.26% higher than the amount of exported rice compared to previous periods. Thailand has also significantly invested in agricultural development, focusing on irrigation, farm-to-market connections, and research and extension.

Director of Rice Research and Development Division, Kulsiri Klunnuraksa, highlights that through the partnership with IRRI, both institutions can revolutionize rice research. IRRI has been home to 940 Thai scholars who have accomplished courses from short-term training programs up to full-time academic doctoral degrees. The IRRI Genebank is also conserving over 6,321 rice accessions from Thailand and has provided over 7,000 samples to the country for genetic studies since 1976.

IRRI-Asia Director, Dr. Jongsoo Shin, mentions that this continued partnership can greatly benefit the development of sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. “By joining forces, IRRI and the Rice Department of Thailand are reaffirming their dedication to agricultural excellence, paving the way for the cultivation of environmentally friendly, high-yielding, and nutritious rice varieties.” Developing improved rice varieties has been a part of the ongoing collaborative work between IRRI and the Thailand Rice Department along with low-emission rice production, water-saving technologies, and monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The Thai Rice Department and IRRI have started collaborating on some of the identified priorities already. It will now be crucial to speed up fundraising so we can quickly build on the established groundwork”, said IRRI Thailand Country Representative, Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander. He elaborates that the institutions will be collaborating on rice straw management with a focus on straw valorization and developing new straw products. They will also be jointly working on nutrition and grain quality, pest monitoring and management, market studies, and value chain strengthening.

IRRI will be working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) and its dependent departments such as the Department of Agricultural Extension, Department of Agriculture, Rice Department, Agricultural Universities and other government institutions; non-government organizations (NGO); the private sector; and other CGIAR centers to strengthen engagements and ensure the effective implementation of the five-year work plan.