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PAU and IRRI to Join Forces for Advanced Rice Research and Innovation

A Punjab delegation visited the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre in Varanasi to explore collaborations in rice research, aiming to enhance agricultural innovation and sustainability.

KJ Staff
PAU and IRRI to Join Forces for Advanced Rice Research and Innovation (Photo Source: PAU/FB)
PAU and IRRI to Join Forces for Advanced Rice Research and Innovation (Photo Source: PAU/FB)

A high-profile delegation from Punjab, led by Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, and K A P Sinha (IAS), Special Chief Secretary Punjab, visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi in a siginficant move to support agricultural research and innovation. During the visit, they engaged with Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director of ISARC, and other prominent scientists to discuss potential collaborations on new research initiatives, capacity building, and joint projects.

K A P Sinha (IAS) praised IRRI for its outstanding contributions to rice research, particularly highlighting its successful collaboration with the Odisha Government. He expressed keen interest in replicating this successful model in Punjab. Sinha envisioned a tripartite partnership involving the Punjab Government, PAU, and IRRI to enhance rice research in Punjab, focusing on addressing the issue of rice straw burning.

Dr. S.S. Gosal underscored the deep-rooted relationship between PAU and IRRI, mentioning influential figures such as Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, a World Food Prize Laureate, and Dr. Darshan Singh Brar, a noted rice breeder. He identified several critical areas for potential collaboration, including water management, soil health, climate change adaptation, disease and pest management, paddy straw management, and environmental protection.

Additionally, Gosal highlighted the development of short-duration and dwarf rice varieties and root-trait breeding as crucial research areas. He also revealed ongoing plans to host an International Conference at PAU in collaboration with IRRI, aimed at facilitating knowledge exchange and networking among scientists.

Dr. Sudhanshu Singh reaffirmed IRRI's commitment to collaborating with policymakers and national research and extension systems (NARES) to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and equity of the region’s rice-based agri-food sector, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He emphasized IRRI's dedication to leading significant projects with PAU and the Punjab Government.

The Punjab delegation also included key officials such as the Commissioner of Agriculture, Mrs. Neelima (IAS), Director of Agriculture Punjab, S. Jaswant Singh, and PAU experts Dr. Jagjeet S. Lore, Dr. Buta Singh, Dr. Nitika Sandhu, and Dr. Vishal Bector. They toured IRRI’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the speed breeding lab, GIS lab for sensor-based crop monitoring, spectroscopy lab, and rice grain quality evaluation lab. These facilities are pivotal in providing tailored solutions for diverse research requirements.

This visit signifies a major step towards establishing a robust partnership between Punjab’s agricultural institutions and IRRI, aiming to drive innovation and promote sustainable practices in rice research and production. The collaboration holds promise for addressing critical agricultural challenges and enhancing the overall productivity and sustainability of rice farming in Punjab.

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