Sri Lankan envoy visits IRRI, discusses building capacity for research

 JayCo Valmon   |  

H.E. Dr. Gamini Samaranayake, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Philippines, visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters on 12 February to learn more about IRRI’s research program and training activities, and strengthen collaboration between Sri Lanka and IRRI.

Ambassador Samaranayaka and his party were welcomed by IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler, IRRI Director of External Relations Corinta Guerta, IRRI Training Center Head Noel Magor, and Benedict Pamatmat of the Partnerships Unit. Sri Lankan scholars Buddhika Sampath Channara and Swarna Herath also joined in welcoming the delegation. Part of the visit included a trip to the International Rice Genebank which holds about 2,027 types of rice from Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka and IRRI started collaboration in 1960 through exchange of rice varieties and training. In 1967, an agreement between Sri Lanka and the Ford Foundation led to a 2-year program between IRRI and the country’s Department of Agriculture (DOASL). Under the program, DOASL scientists underwent training at IRRI. It was renewed in 1969 and included technology transfer activities.

From 1964 to 2014, 135 scholars from Sri Lanka have completed their studies and 426 trainees attended short courses at the Institute.

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