IRRI India partnership visit 2017

Prime Minister Narendre Modi inaugurates the Rice Resilient Rice Field Laboratory

Media release


 20171113 PM Modi visit story

Los Baños, Philippines – Nov 13 2017 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Resilient Rice Field Laboratory at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) today.

While in the Philippines for the ASEAN Summit meetings, Modi spent time at the International Rice Research Institute discussing agriculture innovations and research advances for the rice sector. He met with several prominent agriculture scientists and discussed issues of climate change, the need for more farmer education and the growing role of women farmers in the rice sector.

The Resilient Rice Field Laboratory forms part of a three-prong approach to developing new, high-yielding, stress-tolerant rice varieties that are well-suited and well-adopted by farmers across the region.

Primary scientific research conducted in the Field Laboratory to develop stress-tolerant rice varieties is then transferred to IRRI’s Centre of Excellence at the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh for further localized testing.

“The Varanasi Centre would help increase farmers’ income by enhancing and supporting rice productivity, reducing cost of production, value addition, diversification, and enhancement of farmers’ skills,” said Prime Minister Modi.

From the IRRI South Asia Research Centre in Varanasi, a broad technology adoption network enables IRRI and its local partner, the Indian Centre for Agriculture Research to bring these innovations to farmers groups. This ensures innovations are tailored to farmers’ needs and quickly adopted--creating a responsive, real-time laboratory dedicated to the development of high quality, profitable rice varieties for those in need.

Furthermore, the lessons learned in these facilities have the potential to benefit farmers globally. Through its global network of over 900 research and development partners, IRRI is able to work to ensure key knowledge and technology is tailored to meet the needs of the world’s 145 million rice farmers.

“India’s demonstrated leadership in agriculture and agricultural science in the region is a real benefit to farmers not only in India but also across SAARC, ASEAN and Sub-Saharan Africa in mitigating the risk of climate change for rice farmers,” said Dr. Matthew Morell, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, “The establishment of research facilities and Centres of Excellence such as this one and the one in Varanasi is a testament to the Indian government’s commitment to South-South collaboration as a key mechanism for meeting food security needs and improving the livelihoods and welfare of farmers--the farmers who play a critical role in transforming the global rice sector into an efficient, highly-productive economic driver of the region.”

In Asia, where most of the world’s rice is grown, about 20 million hectares of rice land is prone to flooding. Crop losses from flooding affect rice farmers every year, increasing the burden of poverty they must bear. In India and Bangladesh alone, more than 5 million hectares of rice field are flooded during most of the planting seasons.

The research planned for the new laboratory will concentrate on developing rice varieties that can be successfully grown in flood and salinity prone areas, decreasing risks for farmers involved in rice production in some of the poorest regions of India and Asia.


For more information, please contact:

Leoniza Morales
Media Relations
International Rice Research Institute
Telephone: +63 2 580 5600; +63 49 536 2701-05 ext. 2330



  • Direct seeded rice
  • Transformative rice breeding
  • Genebank
  • Hybrid rice
  • Future of rice
  • Direct Seeded Rice

  • Transformative Rice Breeding

  • Genebank Contribution

  • Hybrid Rice

  • Future of Rice




Indian plant breeder Dilbagh S. Athwal joined IRRI’s management team and ultimately served as the Institute’s first deputy director general.

Andhra Pradesh farmer Nekkanti Subba Rao tested IR8 on his farm and supervised its first large-scale demonstration and multiplication.

The India-IRRI partnership intensified when scientists from AICRIP and the Central Rice Research Institute in Cuttack began to visit IRRI headquarters in the Philippines.



G.S. Khush, IRRI principal plant breeder, won the World Food Prize, with H.M. Beachell, former IRRI plant breeder. He has also won the Rank Prize for Nutrition in London (1998) and the Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2000). In 2002, in recognition of his 29 years as head of IRRI’s Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division and leader of various research programs, the Collaborators’ Center building was renamed Gurdev S. Khush Hall. The week-long 3rd International Hybrid Rice Symposium was held in Hyderabad.





More than 40 years after his work with IR8, Mr. Subba Rao distributed seed from his harvest of flood-tolerant Swarna-Sub1 to other farmers who multiplied it, ultimately leading to the significant spread of the variety in the region.

In New Delhi. the South Asian wing of the project, Stress-tolerant rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA), was inaugurated.



The project, Improved Rice-based Rainfed Agricultural Systems in Bihar, was launched in India by the Catholic Relief Services and IRRI. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it targets drought- and flood-prone environments.

Dr. Zeigler inaugurated new and added office space for the IRRI India Office in New Delhi located at Rajendra Place.

The IRRI South Asia Rice Breeding Hub at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, was inaugurated by Dr. Zeigler and Dr. William Dar, director general of ICRISAT.





The scientific work by IRRI is building bridges across political borders to help achieve shared goals in food security and poverty alleviation. IRRI, through the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia project, has catalyzed a series of discussions that have brought together officials of Bangladesh, Nepal, and India, to discuss ways to share rice germplasm and improved production technology for mutual benefit.

Under the South Asia Regional Seed Policy Agreement brokered by IRRI, the new seed-sharing system allowed new and better seeds to reach the hands and fields of farmers more rapidly. In just three years, eight rice varieties have already been released and shared across the three countries.



The latest initiative in IRRI and India’s collaboration is the establishment of the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It will be a center of excellence in rice research and training in South Asia and Africa. Under the ISARC, IRRI will be able to further improve rice varieties, innovate technology for flood-prone areas, boost farmers’ incomes, and establish economic leadership in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).




Read more information on IRRI-India collaboration:

  ISARC brochure cover


ISARC will serve as the South-South collaboration catalyst, not just for the SAARC region but also for SAARC-Africa. It will support efforts in increasing farmer income by increasing grain quality and making rice farming more attractive to youth.

  India IRRI brochure cover


Since the 1960s, India has been actively involved in IRRI’s priority setting, strategic planning, scientific advising, and implementation of research across South Asia. The results of this partnership have been outstanding and have set an example in international research collaboration.

  South Asia brochure cover


South Asia is an important beneficiary of IRRI’s work. South Asia’s decades-long partnership with IRRI has produced successful projects that enabled the region’s rice industry to withstand environmental challenges and improve its technology and rice outputs.

  Stress tolerant brochure cover


IRRI and its partners are developing rice varieties that can withstand severe weather conditions that are forecasted to be more frequent and intense with climate change in the region.