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Posted at: Nov 13, 2017, 12:06 PM; last updated: Nov 13, 2017, 6:12 PM (IST)

Modi contributes 2 rice varieties to Philippines centre’s gene bank

Modi contributes 2 rice varieties to Philippines centre’s gene bank
PM Narendra Modi visits the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos. Image credit: Twitter/PMO
Los Banos, November 13

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday contributed two Indian rice seed varieties to the gene bank of the international rice research centre in the Philippines which, he said, is working towards mitigating global poverty and hunger by improving the cultivation of the key grain.

The Prime Minister visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, an urban locality situated at a distance of around 65 km from Manila and interacted with a large number of Indian scientists working there.

A number of scientists at the IRRI briefed the Prime Minister on flood-tolerant rice varieties which, they said, could withstand 14-18 days of submergence and could provide 1-3 tonnes more yield per hectare in flood-affected areas.

A ‘rice field laboratory’ named after Prime Minister Modi was also inaugurated by him at the institute.

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He unveiled a plaque marking the inauguration of the Shri Narendra Modi Resilient Rice Field Laboratory.

“A contribution from India to IRRI...presented two Indian rice seed varieties to the IRRI gene bank,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

The PM also undertook a symbolic groundbreaking for a new plot for submergence tolerant rice varieties.

Modi said he saw a detailed exhibition on rice varieties and the impressive work done by IRRI with women farming cooperatives.

“My visit to IRRI was a great learning experience. Saw the exceptional work IRRI is doing towards mitigating poverty and hunger by improving rice cultivation. Their work benefits many farmers and consumers, particularly in Asia and Africa,” he said.

The Indian government is also setting up a regional centre of the IRRI in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency, to develop high-yielding rice varieties.

The IRRI, which has offices in 17 countries, is known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution in 1960s.

“The Varanasi Centre would help increase farmers’ income by enhancing and supporting rice productivity, reducing cost of production, value addition, diversification and enhancement of farmers’ skills,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Raveesh Kumar said the IRRI had successfully collaborated with Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) to introduce drought- tolerant, flood-tolerant and salt-tolerant varieties of rice in India.

“Interacted with Indian scientists, students, researchers working at IRRI. India’s ICAR and IRRI have been cooperating for four decades. India is also involved in helping IRRI in strategic planning, helping decide key goals and working to overcome hunger as well as poverty,” Modi said.

Kumar said the IRRI and its partners had provided assistance to 2 lakh  women farmers in Odisha which included providing capacity building programmes, and improved agriculture technology.

The IRRI centre in Varanasi will help in utilising the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties.

Modi arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to attend the ASEAN-India and the East Asia summits. PTI

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