Ninety percent of the world’s rice supply is produced in Asia—the bulk of it in ASEAN countries. Global food security thus relies much on what goes on with rice—its production and distribution—in this part of the world.
Delivering rice research and technologies to rice farmers worldwide
IRRI works closely with rice science networks in major rice-growing nations. We partner with national agricultural research and extension systems, helping IRRI’s research reach where it is needed the most.
The nations below play a vital role in sharing our research and adapting our technologies to their local conditions and needs. This broadens our reach and multiplies our impact.
Rice has become an important crop for Burundi, which increased its rice production by 316% between 1984 and 2011. In 2010 Burundi was importing about one-third of its rice and making efforts to further increase production. IRRI has been officially collaborating with Burundi since 2008.
IRRI and China have been collaborating for more than 30 years. A key partnership was in a mega-project which began in 1997, intensively focused on rice research and training. This huge undertaking of 12 collaborative projects resulted in 49 super rice varieties being released in China since 1999. Yields increased to as much as 12 tons per hectare.
Indonesia and IRRI's partnership has been mutually beneficial since 1972. It resulted in increased rice productivity, improved livelihoods for Indonesian rice farmers, and increased capability of a trained new generation of Indonesian scientists.
Lao PDR-IRRI collaboration began in the late 1960s and the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Lao PDR and IRRI was signed in 1987.
Since 1965, IRRI has been involved with Myanmar researchers, extension personnel, and farmers in introducing rice breeding material, hybrid rice technology, and locally adaptable designs for rice transplanters and threshers. The rice variety IR8 was introduced in Myanmar in 1967. It was called Ya Gyaw, meaning “more than a hundred.”
IRRI began its first initiative in Pakistan in 1966 when the Ford Foundation decided to fund IRRI directly to hire rice specialists. It was through this arrangement that Kenneth Mueller was hired as a rice specialist to lead the Pakistan accelerated rice production project.
Through the Rural Development Administration (RDA), the Republic of Korea (commonly called South Korea) has been collaborating with IRRI since the 1960s to breed the temperate Japonica rice variety with the tropically grown indica variety.
As far back as 1941, Thailand recognized the importance of deepwater rice research by building the Huntra Rice Experiment Station. The first formal link between Thailand and IRRI was made in 1960-1963 when Prince M.C. Chakrabandhu became a founding member of the IRRI Board of Trustees.
Bangladesh’s partnership with IRRI goes back more than 45 years. IRRI's first outreach program in Bangladesh was in 1965 when a set of 303 rice varieties was evaluated at Savar Farm, a government-run dairy enterprise. In 1967, the first widely distributed high-yielding semidwarf rice variety, IR8, was introduced into the country.
As a result of food shortages in the late 1970s, many farmers were forced to eat their rice seed and traditional varieties were lost. In the 1980s, IRRI reintroduced more than 750 traditional Cambodian rice varieties to Cambodia from its seed bank in the Philippines—a vivid demonstration of the foresight that created the bank in the 1960s.
IRRI-India's success began with the introduction of high-yielding rice variety IR8 dubbed "miracle rice," which helped save India from a massive famine in the 1960s.
Iran and IRRI's collaboration started in 1976, and IRRI scientists have since visited Iran to monitor existing projects in the country and several work plans have also been signed to support these collaborations and capacity-building partnerships.
Mozambique has a 500-year old tradition of rice cultivation. Today, rice is seen more as a cash crop. Most of the farmers produce rice, but don’t eat it. IRRI was first established in Mozambique in 2006 with a mandate to increase rice production and build capacity to sustain the country’s rice industry.
Cooperation between the government of Nepal and IRRI began in 1985. This covers research on improvement of rainfed lowland and irrigated rice varieties, plant pathology, entomology, soil science, agronomy, and farming systems.
IRRI has a special relationship with the Philippines, the country having been its home since the Institute’s founding in 1960.
Rice is famed to have had a long and regal history in Sri Lanka. Its importance goes far beyond its status as a primary food source in this island nation. Synonymously, rice plays an important role in the country's cultural identity, tradition, and politics.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and IRRI have been partners since 1963, in a wide range of collaboration in the fields of rice breeding material exchange, rice varietal improvement, resource management, and capacity building. Since then, a total of 89 IRRI breeding lines have been released as varieties in Vietnam. IRRI varieties now cover 70% of the rice-growing areas in Vietnam.