PH-developed IR8, world’s first high-yielding rice, turns 50
November 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of IR8; the world’s first high-yielding rice variety and the first rice variety released by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
IR8 sparked the Green Revolution in Asia—a phenomenon that saved the region from famine in the 1960s and 70s. This scientific innovation was soon followed by other high-yielding varieties that each offered increasing vigor and resistance to pests and disease—the major scourges of that period. These varieties were also adaptable where they were most urgently needed: the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar (then Burma), Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the biggest of them all—India.
In the 1950s, Asia was on the brink of famine and millions of people were in danger of starving. In 1960, IRRI was established with one pressing mission: To develop high-yielding rice varieties.
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