Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (IRRI SARC) in Varanasi, his electoral constituency in Uttar Pradesh on December 29, 2018. This is also the first educational and training hub of the IRRI outside Philippines.
This research facility will strengthen the national research capacity of rice-growing countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Delivering advanced research, teaching and services to improve crop production, seed quality and the nutritional value of rice, the centre will also work with national partners to enhance farmers’ knowledge and income.
India began its partnership with IRRI through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1967. IRRI-India’s greatest success was in introduction of IR8 — high-yielding rice. The variety is regarded as ‘Miracle rice’ that saved India from a famine in the 1960s.
“This is a landmark moment for India and IRRI. This state-of-the-art rice research centre will catalyze South-South collaboration, strengthen the research expertise and capacity of rice-growing countries in the region, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals,” remarked IRRI Director General, Dr. Matthew Morell.
IRRI SARC facilities include the Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA), a suite of modern laboratories where rice grains are assessed for quality and nutritional value and sensory evaluations for grain taste, texture, and aroma are conducted; on-site facilities.
The education and training arm of IRRI SARC, IRRI Education, will teach scientists and agriculture leaders about the latest technologies and innovations for sustainable farming; and laboratories for digital crop monitoring and assessment, and demonstration fields where variety testing is conducted.
The inauguration was also graced by the Chief Minister for Uttar Pradesh Shri Yogi Adityanath, Shri Ram Naik, Governor for Uttar Pradesh and Representatives from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Earlier, Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit IRRI headquarters in the Philippines in November 2017, where he discussed agricultural innovations and research advances for the rice sector. He had also inaugurated the Resilient Rice Field Laboratory at the IRRI headquarters during his visit.