Cabinet gives nod for IRRI’s regional centre in Varanasi
- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi.
- Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi.
- This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.
- The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
- This will be the first international Center in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region.
Benefits from ISARC
- It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.
- The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties. This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents.
- India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed. The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers. The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.
Management of ISARC
- ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director.
- A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair.
- The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.
- For setting up of the Centre, A Memorandum of Agreement will be signed between DAC&FW and IRRI, Philippines.
- The Department of DAC&FW will provide physical space for laboratories, offices, training classes, etc. with associated infrastructure and land at NSRTC, Varanasi. The Centre will be commissioned within six months.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI):
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international agricultural research and training organization with headquarters in Los Banos, Laguna in the Philippines and offices in seventeen countries with ~1,300 staff. IRRI is known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution in the 1960s which preempted the famine in Asia.
The Institute, established in 1960 aims to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability of rice farming. It advances its mission through collaborative research, partnerships, and the strengthening of the national agricultural research and extension systems of the countries IRRI works in.
IRRI is one of 15 agricultural research centers in the world that form the CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, a global partnership of organizations engaged in research on food security. It is also the largest non-profit agricultural research center in Asia.