1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

Dept. of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare & IRRI Sign Agreement on Commencement of Phase -2 Activities of ISARC

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Balié stated that the ISARC is the first and largest IRRI research centre outside of the Philippines.

Shivam Dwivedi
Signing Ceremony MoA of Phase -2 Activities of ISARC
Signing Ceremony MoA of Phase -2 Activities of ISARC

In order to expand the current collaboration for food and nutrition security in the South Asian region, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed today by the Department of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare (DA&FW) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on the start of Phase 2 activities of the ISARC.

The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, witnessed the signing of the Agreement by Dr. Jean Balié, Director General, IRRI, and Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, DA&FW. Five years ago, the Union Cabinet's assent led to the establishment of the ISARC. In addition, ISARC established the Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA), which has a cutting-edge laboratory that can assess the quality and level of heavy metals in grain and straw.

The creation of two rice varieties with low and intermediate glycaemic indexes (GI)—IRRI 147 (GI 55) and IRRI 162 (GI 57), respectively—by the CERVA team and IRRI HQ is one of the project's key accomplishments. Since the majority of Indians eat rice and the majority of rice types have high GIs, the spread of low GI rice varieties will slow or even stop India's rising diabetes rate.

On December 23, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the state-of-the-art Speed Breeding Facility (SpeedBreed) at ISRAC in Varanasi. The facility is dedicated to accelerating crop plant growth cycles and allowing rice plants to advance for five generations per year, as opposed to one to two under normal conditions. This is critical for rapidly transferring important traits (e.g., low GI, biotic and abiotic stresses) to popular Indian rice varieties.

Through increased system productivity, reduced yield gaps, enhanced climate resilience, mechanized and digital farming, improved market linkages, modernized value chains enabling entrepreneurship for women and youth, and capacity development, the second phase of the ISARC programme proposes to increase farmers' incomes, improve food and nutrition security, health, and well-being of small/holder farmers.

In his brief remarks, Ahuja stated that the Agreement will pave the way for future efforts to improve farmer welfare and ensure food and nutrition security in India and the rest of South Asia. According to him, IRRI, particularly ISARC, has long been an ally of the Indian government in addressing the most pressing issues in the agrifood sector.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Balié stated that the ISARC is the first and largest IRRI research centre outside of the Philippines. He stated that the continuation of the Agreement will help rice-growing countries in South Asia, including India, and Africa improve crop production, seed quality, and farmer income. It will also help to combat global hunger and poverty by mitigating environmental and climate change challenges in rice cultivation, he added.

Over a five-year period, activities aimed at meeting the objectives of the second phase will be carried out using a multidisciplinary approach and cutting-edge technologies in three thematic areas: (1) Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA); (2) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture (CESA); and (3) Center for Education in Innovation and Research for Development (CEIRD).

ISARC also offers grain quality, nutritional quality, and food safety training. The Broader Programme for Research and Partnership (BPRP) was established to undertake climate resilience breeding, bio-fortification, improvement of traditional landraces, seed systems to improve varietal replacement, natural resource management, organic agriculture, digitalization and mechanization of agriculture for small/holder farmers, use of geospatial technology in agriculture, and women and youth empowerment. The IRRI Research and Education Programme (IREP) was also launched to support and capacitate NARES through the capacity development of scholars, extension workers, and farmers, as well as to promote South-South cooperation and networking with key stakeholders.

ISARC proposes to expand its research and development in the second current phase of the agreement in order to accelerate the equitable development of sustainable and inclusive rice-based systems across India and South Asia in order to meet the demand of producers and consumers.

ISARC also intends to facilitate further improvements in system productivity and farmer income through digital agriculture, agro-advisory services, knowledge sharing, and capacity development, all of which will promote sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture through business models that will entice young people to return to agri-entrepreneurship.

Take this quiz on World Meteorological Day to check your knowledge about meteorology! Take a quiz
Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters