Hangzhou City, People’s Republic of China (21 September 2017) - Agriculture research heads of 14 Asian countries supported the ASEAN+3 Rice Breeding and Genetics Initiative - a long-term regional investment and collaboration initiative in rice breeding aimed to address regional food security and national rice sector strategies.
In this year’s meeting of the Council for Partnerships on Rice Research in Asia (CORRA), the research heads signed a declaration of support to endorse this regional platform to their respective Ministries of Agriculture for further deliberation.
Despite the progress of some Asian nations in their respective agricultural sectors, food crisis remains a looming threat. If viable solutions are not found by 2030, the food supply of 560 million people in the region would be adversely affected.
The ASEAN+3 Rice Breeding and Genetics Initiative aims to improve the genetic resources of rice varieties available to member countries, increase yield and assist national breeding programs. Through this initiative, member countries could advance a bilateral or multilateral partnership; underpinning the future of their respective rice industries through co-development and co-investment in key regional rice resources. For example, the initiative could enable member nations to partner in the development and distribution of climate-smart rice varieties adapted to region-specific conditions of drought, flooding, and salinity brought on by climate change.
Dr. Matthew Morell, IRRI Director General said, “The ASEAN+3 Rice Breeding and Genetics Initiative was recently endorsed at the Senior Officials Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry , held in Singapore in August. Today’s declaration of support is another positive step in the achievement of South-South cooperation for the regional rice sector.”
“The Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences (CAAS) believes that this program will pave the way to a stronger collaboration among Asian countries. The rice breeding initiative developed by IRRI will be vital in ensuring food security in the Asian region,” said Dr. Huijie Zhang, Deputy Director of International Cooperation, CAAS.
The People’s Republic of China through the China National Rice Research Institute hosted this year’s annual gathering of leaders. CORRA is composed of representatives of national agricultural research and/or extension systems (NARES) from sixteen member countries in Asia including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. The council acts as an advisory board and provides a platform for partnership and collaboration among its members.