The Importance of Training Programs in the India-IRRI Relationship

Mano Pathak RT

Mano D. Pathak
Former Director,
Research and Training (1974-89)
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

The establishment of IRRI, with its ultra-modern laboratories and highly qualified teams of national and international scientists and administrators, was a bright ray of hope for rice farmers in the tropics and subtropics where rice yields were stagnating at a meager 1 to 1.5 tons per hectare.

Along with intensive research to improve various aspects of rice and rice-based cropping systems, a series of professional advancement training programs were started to support all levels of the existing staff of national programs. These included MS, PhD, and postdoctoral research programs as well as short-term nondegree programs such as training on rice production, pest management, soil management, and postharvest technology, among others. Many of these intensive training programs were of 3 to 6 months’ duration.

An estimated 15,000 professionals worldwide have received IRRI training. Since 1965, more than 1,000 Indian scientists have attended IRRI’s short- and medium-term courses. Scientists trained under these programs are making significant contributions to the quality and volume of research in their respective countries, as well as in the overall improvement in the production of rice and associated crops.

Indian scientists who have participated in these training programs are part of a global IRRI alumni network. These scientists are occupying key leadership positions, and are making significant contributions to the overall improvement of rice crop production and use.