Originally published on cgiar.org by:IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) on Jan 23, 2007
While rice is the main thing the six nations of the region share – as well as the Mekong River – it’s also clear they share many of the same rice production problems and a coordinated approach to find solutions could make a big difference. So, for the first time in its 46-year history, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has established a GMS office to coordinate efforts to help farmers in the region deal with production problems and improve their lives.
IRRI’s representative in
“We’re very grateful to the government of
There have been tremendous gains in rice production in the GMS in the past two decades. The most notable examples are
“To meet the needs of the growing GMS population, by 2027 average irrigated rice yields must increase by 60 percent and rainfed yields by 100 percent,” said Dr. Robert Zeigler, the director general of IRRI. Although this would be a major challenge, it is possible, and IRRI has done it before – in the 1970s, the Green Revolution raised rice yields in
“Working with the national research programs of the GMS, we have developed a research strategy to reduce crop losses from floods, drought, and pests, while improving the yield potential and management efficiency of the most popular rice varieties,” he said. “IRRI’s most recent success in this area was the discovery of a gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence for 2 weeks. The gene is being introduced to several popular rice varieties, including a variety of Lao sticky rice.
“It’s estimated that such innovations could save 20,000 to 70,000 hectares of rice annually in
Dr. Zeigler and the Lao Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Sitaheng Rasphone signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the establishment of the new GMS office in
“It will channel our combined efforts and leverage additional resources to meet four national goals in Laos: to improve the export potential of Lao rice, increase Lao rice production to 3.3 million tons by 2010, increase forested area by replacing shifting rice production with sustainable practices, and alleviate poverty among rice growers,” Dr. Jahn said. “These goals will be achieved by helping farmers to help themselves with new rice varieties that tolerate drought, floods, pests, and diseases.”
The MOU also fully recognizes the existing commitment of IRRI to rice research in the GMS. To this end, IRRI and the national agricultural research systems of the six GMS nations will formulate an agreed strategy for rice research collaboration and technology transfer to improve food security, reduce poverty, improve livelihoods, and protect the environment of the subregion.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the
For information, please contact:
Duncan Macintosh, IRRI, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines; tel +63-2-580-5600; fax: +63-2-580-5699; email firstname.lastname@example.org .
IRRI Home (www.irri.org),
IRRI Library (http://ricelib.irri.org),Rice Knowledge Bank (www.knowledgebank.irri.org).
 The Great Mekong Subregion includes