The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has signed an Agreement with the #International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in June 2015 so that IAEA training activities taking place at IRRI can be optimized, more tailored to Member State needs, and more cost-efficient.
The Nepalese pounded rice ritual, ceremonial rice-based wines from the Philippines, and yearly Laotian rice festivals all underscore the cultural importance of rice, a staple food which has been cultivated and consumed since the 15th Century BC. Today, rice is the most widely-consumed food in the world, and is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production. In the Asia and the Pacific region—which accounts for 87% of the world’s production—lowland rice strains form the bedrock of national diets.
Rice is unquestionably the most important food crop in the Asia and the Pacific region, and plays a vital role in ensuring regional food security. However, the effects of climate change—which include a higher incidence of drought, pest infestations and temperature spikes–have had a direct impact on rice production in the region. Moreover, despite promising scientific developments which have led to larger yields, many Member States face challenges in meeting the increasing demand for more focused training on improved technologies and agriculture practices. The Agreement signed in June by the IAEA and IRRI will ensure that this training is available.
The IAEA and IRRI share a history of cooperation which began in August 1997 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in research and training in the areas of soil, water and nutrient management. Since then, the IAEA and IRRI have cooperated on activities which have leveraged, respectively, the advantages of nuclear techniques for crop mutation induction for rice, supported by the IAEA, and other conventional methods such as molecular and bio-technologies, supported by IRRI. In fact, as part of an ongoing regional technical cooperation (TC) project , the IAEA has been implementing annual training courses at IRRI’s facilities since 2012 with the aim of enhancing the adoption of improved mutants, and hence promoting the climate-proofing of rice in the Asia and Pacific region.
Through collaboratively-organized training courses and group fellowships, the IAEA and IRRI are contributing to strengthening capacities in the production of more resilient, adaptive strains of rice in the Asia and Pacific region. For more information on the cooperation between these organizations. Click here for more information about IAEA and IRRI collaboration.