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).
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