LivingThe International Rice Research Institute wins the BBVA Foundation...

The International Rice Research Institute wins the BBVA Foundation Award for Development Cooperation

arrozTheBBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awardin the category ofDevelopment Cooperationhas been awarded in its third edition toInternational Rice Research Institute(IRRI), for its contribution “to the reduction of poverty and hunger in the world through research on rice and the training of its farmers,” according to the jury. The award also recognizes? The quality of his research, which has allowed him toobtain new varieties of rice – a staple food – adapted to different growing areas in Asia, significantly increasing its efficiency and sustainability in many climates.? The candidacy was presented by theNational Graduate Institute for Policy Studiesfrom Japan.

TheIRRIit’s anon-profit agricultural research and training centerestablished in Los Baños, Philippines, which aims to improve the living conditions of the populations that depend on rice as their main source of subsistence. Created in 1960 with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Government of the Philippines, IRRI collaborates with multiple international food and agriculture institutions, as well as other organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Over the past five decades, IRRI has played a key role in increasing rice production, particularly in Asia. By stimulating scientific research in this area, and transferring advances from the laboratory to the field, IRRI researchers have developed new varieties ofmore productive rice, more resistant to diseases and with less need for water. Currently, his research also seeks to reduce the use of pesticides and the environmental impact associated with growing rice in earlier times.

International rice bank

IRRI has also established the largest bank of rice varieties, the International Rice Genebank , which contains more than 100,000 cultivated and wild varieties of this plant and therefore acts as an insurance against the loss of biodiversity. This bank makes it possible to investigate new varieties of rice with traditional and biotechnological methods with which to face the threats derived from climate change, such as variations in temperatures and rainfall patterns, and increased droughts.

Rice is the main food for more than half of the world’s population. Currently, the average consumption per inhabitant per year in Asia is 108 kilos, while in sub-Saharan Africa it is 33 kilos. According to FAO data, worldwide 151 million hectares are dedicated to rice cultivation ; of them 132 million are in Asia, and 8 million in Africa. Some forecasts estimate that a 70% increase in production is necessary to meet the needs of the global market in the next two decades.

 

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