IRRI advances partnership with Bihar to improve rice-based cropping systems
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has advanced its partnership with the Government of Bihar in India in order to improve rice-based cropping systems in the state.
To discuss future collaborations through the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC), IRRI Director General Matthew Morell recently met with Prem Kumar, Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Government of Bihar at Vikas Bhawan, Patna Secretariat.
In the context of Bihar’s agricultural roadmap, and keeping in mind that 76 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood, Kumar emphasized that a centre such the ISARC will support the achievement of broader goals such as helping farmers improve incomes and enhance their livelihoods, while increasing food and nutrition security.
Kumar said that by way of a new planned collaboration with Government of Bihar, IRRI will be able to work closely with Bihar Agricultural University (Sabour, Bhagalpur), the State Department of Agriculture, as well as other Bihar state government agencies, to improve rice varieties and develop and capitalize on innovative technologies.
Rice is an important crop and consumed widely across Bihar. However, its productivity is affected by extreme weather conditions, such as floods and drought. This is further exacerbated by farmer’s limited access to reliable irrigation and pest management techniques.
To overcome the constant threat to food production, the government of Bihar has stepped up efforts to develop and deliver climate-resilient rice varieties and improve farmer’s livelihoods.
The ISARC established by IRRI and the Government of India in Varanasi, (Uttar Pradesh), is a center of excellence for furthering research and capacity development in rice and rice-based agri food systems.
It is a state-of-the-art facility that provides a conducive environment for developing and delivering climate-resilient and stress-tolerant rice varieties and intensifying cereal cropping systems to invigorate economic activities.