flag of IndonesiaIndonesia 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.


  • Indonesia and IRRI

  • Rice research and capacity building

  • Rice in Indonesia

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Indonesia and IRRI's collaboration

Collaboration between the government of Indonesia and IRRI formally began in 20 December 1972, when both agreed to cooperate in the improvement of rice research through Indonesia’s National Rice Research Program.

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between IRRI and Indonesia in 1978, a partnership that gave top priority to the genetic evaluation and utilization of rice, the implementation of improved rice-based cropping systems, the development and testing of machinery for small-scale farming, and the formal academic training and specialized non-degree training of Indonesian scientists, started.

At this early stage, support was received from various sources such as the Ford Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the government of the Netherlands.

Another MOU, signed on 30 August 1984, underlined the importance of collaborating in genetic evaluation and utilization for different ecosystems, particularly uplands, high-elevation areas, tidal wetlands, and swampy areas. It also covered collaboration in water management, the sharing of genetic resources, scientist exchange, and co-publication.

The following MOUs, each in effect for a five-year period, were signed on 20 April 1990, 16 November 1995, 4 December 1999, 21 June 2001, and September 2006. They covered various aspects of research and human resource development. Genetic evaluation and utilization for various ecosystems, and the management of rice genetic resources, have remained top priorities, in addition to forecasting pest and disease epidemics, improving soil quality, and technology generation and promotion.

In 1989, in recognition of IRRI’s role in helping Indonesia achieve rice self-sufficiency, Indonesia’s President at the time, Suharto, presented the Bintang Jasa Utama (the country’s highest merit award) to IRRI’s then director general, Dr. Klaus Lampe.

In January 2011, the Indonesian minister of agriculture gave citations to IRRC scientists Grant Singleton and Roland Buresh for their contribution to food security in the country.

At the same time, IRRI and the Indonesia devised a four-year work plan and agreed to focus on the following: varietal development for climate change effects mitigation; national stratregy for hybrid rice development; research on abiotic stresses tolerance; support to implement integrated crop, pest, and resource management; support to disseminate of natural resource management technologies including postharvest technologies; and, support to socioeconomic policy research.

Download the country brochure to know more about various projects and technologies brought by Indonesia-IRRI partnership.

rice field

IRRI and Indonesia's partnership covers breeding rice varieties with high yield potential, grain quality, and resistance to pests. IRRI also gives support in national strategy and framework planning for hybrid rice development; research on abiotic stress tolerance particularly submergence, drought, and low temperature damage in high elevation areas; support for the implementation of integrated crop and resource management in the target areas through the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) and the Indonesian Rice Knowledge Bank; and support of dissemination of post harvest technologies.

Current research and development with Indonesia

Increasing rice productivity

In March 2008, the IRRC scientists were commissioned by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to lead a collaborative project with the Assessment Institutes of Agricultural Technologies (AIAT) and the Indonesian Center for Rice Research to raise rice productivity in South and Southeast Sulawesi provinces.

IRRC tested the Digital Green participatory video approach with farmer partners in South and Southeast Sulawesi. The farmer-actors were filmed demonstrating direct seeding using a drum seeder and innovations in integrated pest management, and sharing their success stories in using these technologies.

Varietal improvement

Participatory varietal selections are being made with farmers for Green Super Rice, including testing for resistance to brown planthopper (BPH). There are also undertakings that focus on functional genomics and molecular breeding, with emphasis on drought, blast, phosphorus deficiency, and climate impact and rice vulnerability.

Rodent research

IRRI has two existing collaborative projects on rodent management through the Labor Productivity and Community Ecology Work Group of the IRRC. Both projects involve collaboration with Dr. Sudarmaji and his team at the rodent research laboratory of the Indonesian Center for Rice Research, and focus on ecologically based rodent management (EBRM). The projects are located in Southeast Sulawesi and South Sumatera. In South Sumatera, rodents are a major constraint limiting the production of a dry season rice crop in the large tidal swamp rice agro-ecosystem.

Grain quality and postharvest

Improving grain quality and nutritional value of rice, including support to grain quality laboratory development by the Ministry of Agriculture. Also, since many countries in Asia suffer from insufficient vitamin A, iron, and zinc, research focuses on integrating these nutrients in rice. Also, IRRI collaborators from AIAT South Sumatera under Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD) introduced IRRI drum seeder to the extensions and farmers in South Sumatera Province. Farmers and extension workers took practical lessons in operating the drum seeder.

Crop establishment and management

Developing biodiversity and environment sustainability indicators and assessing multifunctionality of rice production systems as well as healthy canopy management for high yield; and developing direct seeding and water-efficient irrigation technologies

Technology adoption

Developing biodiversity and environment sustainability indicators and assessing multifunctionality of rice production systems as well as healthy canopy management for high yield; and developing direct seeding and water-efficient irrigation technologies

Nutrient management advice

IRRI is currently working in Indonesia to develop mobile phone applications and services to assist Indonesian farmers and extensionists get access to site specific nutrient management advice. This extends previous work already done with Nutrient Manager in the country to help farmers optimize their nutrient management for higher yields.  While Site-Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) is targeted nutrient management in the form of advice tailored to specific rice field conditions.

Growing rice in unfavorable environments

Through the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), IRRI is working closely with the Indonesian government in areas with extreme poverty and food insecurity such as submergence, salinity, drought-prone and marginal uplands, areas that relied on unpredictable rains, and aimed to benefit 100 million farm households in Asia. CURE and IRRI-Indonesia Office jointly organized a meeting in Bogor in 12 November 2012 to (1) review the program of research and development activities in rice-based system in the uplands under CURE, with emphasis on Community Seed Bank (CSB) activities, (2) identify opportunities to exploit comparative advantage of traditional varieties grown by upland communities, in relation to CSB activities, and (3) explore further collaboration with CURE Indonesia on ongoing program in CURE on CSB implementation as a follow-up on CSB training in 2011, seed production and dissemination following good agricultural practices.

Adapting to climate change

IRRI is working closely with Indonesian partners in a project called Climate Change Adaptation in Rainfed Rice Areas (CCARA) to improve farmers’ livelihoods in rainfed environments under current and future climates. This is through the development of a seasonal weather forecasting system, selection of improved rice varieties suitable for dry conditions and high temperatures, development of soil fertility and fertilizer management technologies for rainfed rice, the creation of a decision support system for rainfed rice production that integrates seasonal weather forecasting with improved agronomic and fertilizer management practices, and improvement of local capacity on weather forecasting and decision support tools for improved rainfed rice production.

High nutrient rice

Breeders at the Indonesian Center for Rice Research (ICRR) are developing Golden Rice varieties, which are suited to local conditions. ICRR is working with the Golden Rice trait in the local varieties that are popular with farmers, including Ciherang and IR64. ICRR plans to submit all safety information to government regulators who will review these data as part of the approval process for Golden Rice before it can be made available to farmers and consumers.

Mapping rice

The Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies (RIICE) project, —which includes Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and India—aims to reduce the vulnerability of smallholders in rice production by providing accurate information systems through remote mapping to aid in decision-making for insurance services to rice farmers.

“Closing rice yield gap in Asia”

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is supporting a new project, “Closing rice yield gap in Asia” (CORIGAP). CORIGAP project sites in Indonesia are in South Sumatra and South Sulawesi.

Key achievements

Increased rice yield through development of modern rice varieties

Average rice yield has increased from 2.4 tons per hectare back in 1972 to about 5 tons per hectare today.

IRRI has bred and released 230 high-yielding rice varieties adopted in Indonesia including: IR26, IR30, and IR32. IR64 was released in 1986 and has remained popular until today due to its quick maturing and good eating qualities. Another popular variety is Ciherang that was released in 2000. In 2009, six varieties were released to the country, including flood-tolerant varieties, Inpara 4 (Swarna + Sub1) and Inpara 5 (IR64 + Sub1). Research in Jakenan, Central Java found three drought-tolerant potential rice varieties from IRRI with high-yield potential that are suitable for the second crop – IR68833, IR68836, and S3376e.

Today, development of new rice varieties is focused on adaptability to the effects of climate change, specifically, flooding, soil salinity, and drought.

Development and dissemination of crop management technologies

IRRI and national partners have developed rice production technologies that not only help increase yield and reduce input costs but are also environment-friendly.

  • The Leaf Color Chart (LCC) helps determine optimum timing for applying nitrogen fertilizer to rice plants.
  • Alternate wetting and drying (AWD) is a water-saving technology that farmers can apply to reduce irrigation water use without yield penalty.
  • The Superbag is a storage technology that helps keep rice grains in optimum condition, maintaining high seed germination rate and resulting in less broken grains during milling compared to open storage systems.
  • A flatbed dryer is a type of drying system that maintains the quality of rice grains, allowing farmers to earn a 30% price premium over sun-dried paddy. The flatbed dryer also increases milling yield by 2.5%.
  • Community seed banks, or Membangun Sistem Perbenihan Berbasis Masyarakat, are a farmer-established system of producing and then exchanging or selling good quality seeds, particularly of indigenous varieties, especially in times of disaster or seed shortage.

Rodent research

Through collaboration with ACIAR and IRRI, Indonesia sought sustainable and environmentally-friendly ways to control rodents. a technology called trap barrier system (TBS) was developed to control rats in rice fields. The technology is effective, and environmentally safe. TBS consists of live traps, plastic barrier, and a trap crop. A study at a Seed Center Sang Hyang Seri at Sukamandi from 1998 to 2001 revealed that the average number of rats captured in the wet season is 1,117 in half-a-hectare field. During the dry season, the average rat captured was even higher amounting to 1,483.

Postharvest technology

IAARD scientists have tested and modified farm machinery prototypes created by IRRI. These include hydro tillers, drum seeders, and seeders for gogorancah (dry-seeded) and dry land farming. In some areas, the drum seeder was introduced to farmers alongside direct (wet) seeding. Some farmers who adopted the technology modified the drum seeder to fit their needs.

Hybrid rice

In 2002, collaborative research between IAARD and IRRI identified two promising hybrids for Indonesia, IR58025A/BR827, IR58025A/IR53942, which were then released as Rokan and Maro, respectively. Then two other varieties generated by IAARD using IRRI parental lines, Hipa 3 and Hipa 4 were released in 2004. Until 2009, more than 30 hybrid varieties were released in Indonesia.

Brown Plant Hopper

BPH management efforts in Indonesia are supported by IRRI in collaboration with ICFORD, ICRR, and AIAT-Central-Java. This collaboration produced and distributed to all field extensions in West and Central Java Provinces 12,000 copies of an explanatory BPH leaflets.

Nutrient Manager for Rice

The Indonesian minister of agriculture launched the Nutrient Manager for Rice version 2.0 in January 2011 that is available in Indonesian. This tool provides Indonesian farmers with site-specific nutrient management advice to help them maximize their yields and get the most out of their fertilizer inputs through a recommendation given after the farmer or extension officer answers nutrient management questions.

Capacity building

1962 to 2014, IRRI provided grants for the training and education of 1,075 Indonesian scientists, researchers, program and project managers, and policymakers on various aspects of rice production, handling, and marketing; and on management of rice resources.

rice in a market in Indonesia

Indonesia achieved rice sufficiency in 1984. From being a chronic rice importer in the 1970s, Indonesia today is the third biggest rice producer in the world, and has been consistenly so in the past decades. Between 1970 and 2006, Indonesia's average rice yield rose by 90% from 2.35 t/ha to 4.62% t/ha. Most of Indonesia's rice producing areas is in the island of Java.

Today, Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world. A population increase of 1.5% per year requires a corresponding increase in food supply.

It is in this context that Indonesia's agricultural development program now has three main aims: a) increased national food security through higher food production and lower food imports, b) increased added value and competitiveness of agricultural products, c) improved quality of life and less poverty for farming households through high productivity. (Source: Rice for Food Security, ICFCRD-IRRI 2010)

To know more facts about rice in Indonesia, go to

Dr. Zaini ZulkifliDr. Zaini Zulkifli

IRRI Representative and Liaison Scientist

ICFORD Building, IAARD Compound
Jalan Merdeka 147, Bogor 16111
Tel: +62 2518334391; +62 2518358589
Fax: +62 2518314354