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IRRI is a leading public voice on global rice science and development. We respond to issues related to rice as they arise and provide information to help people understand, explore, and engage in these issues. Learn more about some of these hot topics, read what IRRI has to say and explore our related science.
If you want more information about these hot topics, please contact us, as we would be happy to help. Or join us on Facebook and start a discussion on a rice science or development topic that interests you.
Increasing food security
Rice is the most important human food, eaten by more than half of the world’s population everyday. In Asia, where 90% of rice is consumed, ensuring there is enough affordable rice for everyone, or rice security, is equivalent to food security. In Africa and Latin America, rice is becoming a more important staple too. Much of IRRI’s work is around helping increase rice production to ensure food security - particularly for those people most at risk of not getting enough food.
Food security is also recognised as being more than just providing people with enough calories to live on, but ensuring people have enough nutrients for optimal health too. IRRI is working on developing healthier rice varieties to help those who mostly depend on rice can get more nutrients into their diet to reduce malnutrition.
This is what food security is all about. Learn more about IRRI’s success stories on increasing food security:
Protecting the environment
A healthy environment is essential to a healthy rice production system and to the health of rice producers and workers. Rice production depends on natural resources like water and nutrients and needs to be protected from pollutants. Moreover, any negative impact of rice production on the environment has to be minimised to ensure rice production is sustainable in the long term.
IRRI works to reduce the impact of rice production on the environment through smart crop management that optimises inputs like fertilizer, and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from rice fields.
Women play an important role in the global rice sector as both paid and unpaid family labor. In many parts of Asia, women contribute at least half of the total labor input in rice production, performing backbreaking tasks such as transplanting and weeding. After harvest, it is usually the women who take care of seed storage and processing of rice (drying, milling) for home consumption.
In Africa, women do much of the work in rice production systems and play an important role in the rice value chain after harvest. Yet, these women face many constraints because of the prevalence of gender stereotypes and social restrictions that hamper their access to technical knowledge and technologies.
IRRI acknowledges that increased participation of women in agricultural research for development and extension will accelerate the realization of development goals, such as reducing poverty and increasing food security. IRRI is working with women to empower them and strengthen their role in the design, experimentation, and evaluation of agricultural research for development, as well as improved access to resources and control over output.
Tackling climate change
Whether it’s through the alternative wetting and drying management practice that’s being implemented in the Philippines or the development of drought-tolerant rice, IRRI’s research is focused on adapting rice to the effects of climate change. Moreover, our scientists are cognizant are constantly looking for ways that rice production can reduce greenhouse gases.
Through IRRI’s efforts, farmers from various countries across Asia are being taught to adopt methods of dealing with changes in the climate. IRRI has provided (and continue to provide) farmers with effective tools and knowledge to help them achieve higher yields despite the threatening nature of climate change.
Reducing poverty is one of IRRI’s primary goals. Through the coordinated efforts of IRRI and our more than 900 partners worldwide, we have made headway toward achieving this seemingly insurmountable objective.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), for instance, reported that IRRI’s work resulted in rice yields of up to 13% between 1985 and 2009 across three Southeast Asian countries.
Meanwhile, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) reported that the US$12 million investment in rice research by the Swiss government has yielded $70 million in benefits to rice farmers and national economies in four Asian countries.
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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.
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Board of Trustees
IRRI's Board of Trustees (BOT) sets IRRI policy. Its 15 members are world leaders in their respective disciplines. Three are ex officio: the Philippine Secretary of Agriculture, the President of the University of the Philippines system, and the IRRI director general. The board meets twice a year (April and October) to review IRRI's research priorities, and its allocation of resources and to set the Institute's scientific directions, policies, and strategies. The director general is responsible for carrying out these policies. Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman is the current chair of the BOT.
The team at IRRI produces the highest caliber of both research and administrative skill. Find out more about our staff below.
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IRRI’s executive management team includes:
- The director general, who is responsible for implementing the decisions of the BOT.
- The deputy director general for research, who looks after the research programs and divisions where the science takes place.
- The deputy director general for management services, who looks after finance, safety and security, food and housing, physical plant services, supply chain services, transport services, and library and information technology (IT) services.
- The director of human resources services
- The deputy director general for communication and partnerships, who looks after communication, partnerships, and legal services.
- The director of external relations, who looks after donor relations, events and visitors, development office and innovations management unit.
See our organizational structure for more information.
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Make a difference.
We work for the alleviation of poverty and hunger. Our goal is to improve the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes. Get involved yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...yada...
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Annual Report 2013
Director General's message
As we look to the future, there’s no question that IRRI is going to be around for the long haul. I do not envision a world in which there is not an IRRI. However, the world is changing dramatically and the Institute will have to adapt. The whole array of partners that we should be working with is shifting. Rice itself used to be of little interest to the private sector—that’s not the case anymore. Indeed, the economic winds of change are blowing in ways we never contemplated.
The global environment of agriculture and food is transforming drastically right before our eyes. Woe unto us if we do not pay attention! As strong demand for rice continues, climate change is going to be a challenge for most of the planet’s rice-growing areas. In facing our complicated future, we will need a better infrastructure. In 2013, we made significant investments in infrastructure as well as human resources, communication, and the One Corporate System, with our CGIAR center partners. But this is only the tip of that proverbial iceberg.
With the idea to start a visioning exercise towards 2035, IRRI’s BOT asked that we take a look at where the world is going and what the Institute might be like in that world. Over several months, BOT members, the IRRI Management Committee, and selected consultants got together for some thought-provoking discussions with experts across the globe.
The results were not surprising. In the future, IRRI must be a flexible, vibrant, agile, independent, and well-focused institution. And we must be able to respond—rapidly! Nothing frustrates me more than when we don’t react quickly to an opportunity or a challenge. We’ll have to target our work carefully. It will be very, very important to have strategic partnerships with the best institutions around the world. They will need to be with us for the long haul. Certainly, if the CGIAR research design and funding model moves to a 3-year project cycle as proposed, this will be inadequate for the challenges and opportunities that face us in our work to overcome deep-seated food insecurity and poverty.
It is clear that we must maintain our strong public persona, our integrated approach, our high-quality science, and our outstanding partnerships. But, of course, we should continue to ask hard questions about our focus. We must be guided by a clear plan—an exciting rice plan that uses tools beyond our predecessors’ imaginations. Into 2014, our strategic planning continues. Stay tuned.
In addition to the ongoing visioning exercise, it is amazing and gratifying to see what else the IRRI staff accomplished in 2013. This web version of the annual report provides all the thrilling details including our financial support, which will be online as soon as our Audited Financial Statements are available in April.
- Annual Report 2013 (6)
Vitamin A deficiency is a serious public health problem affecting millions of children and pregnant women globally. Golden Rice is a new type of rice that contains beta carotene, a source of vitamin A. Golden Rice is being developed as a potential new way food-based approach to improve vitamin A status.