IRRI develops rice varieties for the benefit of rice farmers and consumers. We conduct research and training to improve rice for better grain quality and higher yield, resistance to pests and diseases, tolerance of environmental stresses, and less farm input requirement. We focus on the major rice ecosystems: irrigated, rainfed lowland, and upland systems.
We employ conventional breeding and new tools in genetics and genomics—such as marker-assisted selection—as well as genetic modification.
We develop genetically superior and elite rice breeding lines and hybrid varieties. IRRI shares these breeding lines with our research and extension partners in rice-producing countries. We are part of the International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice (INGER) that facilitates the evaluation and multilateral exchange of rice products and information including elite breeding lines. This helps our partners develop varieties in their own breeding programs. To date, IRRI has produced 843 rice varieties that have been released in 77 countries.
IRRI's rice breeding work is part of the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), Theme 2: Accelerating the development, delivery and adoption of improved rice varieties.
IRRI is developing rice varieties that can withstand conditions forecast to become more frequent and intense with climate change including drought, flood, heat, cold, and soil problems like high salt and iron toxicity.
Hybrid rice is a type of rice that has been bred from two very different parents. It can signficantly outyield other rice varieties and IRRI is working with its partners to develop new and improved hybrid rice varieties.
IRRI has facilitated the release more than a thousand IRRI-bred and improved rice varieties in 78 countries since its establishment in 1960.
Rice is the most important food crop in the developing world and the staple of more than half of the world's population. Worldwide, more than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20% of their daily calories. From the first modern variety developed - IR8, to climate-smart rice varieties now made available to millions of farmers in Asia and Africa, IRRI's varietal improvement work has enabled countries to make rice accessible and affordable, making it an important factor for food security and political stability.
An independent assessment by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) found that Southeast Asian rice farmers in three countries alone - the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam - harvested an extra US$1.46 billion worth of rice a year as a result of the varietal improvement done by IRRI and its partners. A 13% boost in yield gave returns of $127 per hectare in southern Vietnam, $76 per hectare in Indonesia, and $52 per hectare in the Philippines.
Know more about how IRRI shares rice seeds for research.
- Healthier rice for healthier people
- Historical rice varieties of the International Rice Research Institute
- Developing high-yielding nutritious rice varieties with high iron and zinc content for human health
- To fight the "white" plague: Development of salinity-tolerant rice varieties in Bangladesh
You may also view IRRI's video playlist on RKB: Varieties.
- Eero Nissila
- Arvind Kumar
- Amelia Henry
- Kshirod Jena
- Fangming Xie
- Hei Leung
- Bas Bouman
- Sarah Beebout
- Violeta Villegas
- International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice (INGER)
- Stress-Tolerant Rice for the Poor in South Asia and Africa (STRASA)
- Temperate Rice Research Consortium
Rice Today features
Media release and news items
- Bill Gates asks a question
- 28 new rice varieties released in 2014 as scientists ensure responsive breeding for the future
- Our commitment to help in the fight against vitamin-A deficiency
- Second Green Revolution seeks to leave no farmer behind
- Climate-smart rice now grown by 10 million farmers
- PhilRice and IRRI jointly protect elite breeding lines