Around the world, value chains and food systems are being transformed at a rapid pace. As countries continue to grapple with this reality along with the realities of climate change, pandemics, and increasing poverty and hunger, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) stands ready to ensure the sustainability of the global rice sector, which provides food for half the world’s people.
For 60 years, IRRI’s work on rice has played a pivotal role in increasing agricultural productivity and providing technological and innovative solutions for governments and farmers across Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa and it continues to work with AfricaRice to adapt solutions across African landscapes. As a decentralized international organization, IRRI is able to rapidly move ideas, technology, and people across the globe to accelerate innovation, development, and adoption.
Transforming the world’s rice-based agri-food systems and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are no small challenges. In these crucial times, IRRI is focused on bolstering the resilience of the global rice sector against economic shocks while attempting to help meet the deadlines for many SDG indicators and targets. IRRI is committed to working across its 17 offices and with its trusted network of partners to ensure that in the race for impact, no one gets left behind.
Director General's Message
This year, I was anticipating reporting to you about the positive year we’ve had at IRRI in 2019. However, as I sit down to write this, 2020 has delivered us a global pandemic that threatens to permanently alter the most fundamental aspects of our lives–not least of all for the rice-based farmers and consumers that we serve.
Our partner governments are facing incredible challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world food supply chains have been interrupted and individuals and families face pressing hardship. At IRRI, we have a moral obligation to help our partner governments find the best way forward towards a smooth supply chain, consistent pricing, and adequate support for farmers. We are actively engaging with our partners' needs and stand ready to help further as needs become clearer.
Be the linchpin of scientific innovation and thought leadership for the global rice sector
The paradigm on which food policies are built is changing rapidly. Today, it is increasingly recognized that agriculture and food policies should align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by addressing several human and planet centered goals through interconnected and complementary impact pathways. To achieve this, IRRI continues to work towards high-impact, scalable innovations that re-focus global solutions to local needs.
Create and support a network of catalytic agents to drive wide-spread adoption of high-level innovations and technologies
IRRI provides optimal solutions for changing consumer preferences and nutritional requirements, climate resilience, resource scarcity, and other issues that impact those who depend on rice for food and livelihood. In 2019, IRRI launched multi-stakeholder initiatives around nutritious and climate-resilient rice varieties, sustainable farming practices, and resource-efficient cultivation and mechanization that provide further pathways for improved agri-food systems across Asia and Africa.
Establish a track record of delivering successful policy interventions and institutional capacity building programs that underpin the development of equitable and sustainable rice sectors globally
Using reliable scientific evidence, IRRI cuts through a multitude of options and designs appropriate knowledge tools and policy environments. In the last year, IRRI helped fast-track the approval of several high-impact policies, instrumental in strengthening local and regional rice sectors and bringing countries closer to a sustainable, food-secure future.
Awards and Accolades
Abdelbagi Ismail receives Fellowship of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI representative for Eastern and Southern Africa received the prestigious Fellowship of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India as a foreign fellow. The fellowship was bestowed upon Dr. Ismail in recognition of his outstanding contributions to understanding tolerance of drought, cold, and heat in dry-land crops, as well as for salinity and different types of flooding stresses in rice. He also contributed to developing phenotyping tools, markers, and varieties which generated significant impacts in South and Southeast Asia, and in Sub-Saharan Africa.
IRRI researcher wins best scientific poster at prestigious Asian genomic congress
Lawrence Uy, a researcher at IRRI’s Genetic Transformation Laboratory, received the award for best scientific poster presentation at the 6th Plant Genomics and Gene Editing Congress Asia in Malaysia in July 2019. The poster, Gn1a and TGW6 Targeted Knock-Down via Genome Editing Increases Yield Components in Samba Mahsuri, featured research on how grain number and grain weight can be significantly improved through targeted knock-down of gene regulators using CRISPR-Cpf1.
Also acknowledged were Mr. Uy’s co-authors Drs. Yvonne Ludwig and Inez Slamet-Loedin from IRRI and Drs. Merlyn Mendiolo, Ma. Carmina Manuel, and Jorge Angeles from the University of the Philippines.
Myanmar recognizes IRRI contributions
Myanmar’s Department of Agricultural Research acknowledged IRRI’s valued partnership and contributions to the country’s agriculture sector during its 65th anniversary celebration.
IRRI and Myanmar have been collaborating on rice research for more than half a century, beginning with the 1967 introduction of the high-yielding IR8 rice variety (locally known as Yar Gyaw). Recent key achievements include the development of the Myanmar Rice Sector Development Strategy and Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy, the release of 81 IRRI rice varieties, the dissemination of post-harvest technologies and best crop management practices, and building institutional capacity.
IRRI passes global standards in stewardship for its biotech research
IRRI is now recognized by the Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS) Organization after its successful completion of the audit cycle under the ETS Global Audit Process.
The ETS, a global not-for-profit organization, drives the universal adoption of stewardship programs and quality managements systems for the full life cycle of agricultural technology products biotech research. Members include agriculture research leaders Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science, Mahyco, and Syngenta. Through the membership, IRRI will have access to expert advice and guidance in the implementation of its stewardship programs and quality management systems, and an independent third party audit to verify them.
IRRI scientist wins best poster presentation at 2019 KSBS SABRAO International Conference
MK Hossain from the IRRI-Bangladesh Office won the best poster presentation at the 2019 International Conference on Plant Breeding for Sustainable Development in Gwangju City, South Korea.
The poster, The promise of genomic selection in breaking yield ceiling in rice, illustrates how IRRI’s high throughput molecular markers and data-driven breeding decision-support tools reduce breeding cycles 2-3 fold and make it easier to select for best traits. The poster was authored by Dr. Hossain in collaboration with IRRI Bangladesh Plant Breeding team led by Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, and partners from the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute and the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture.
Former Vietnamese minister of agriculture appointed as member of IRRI Board of Trustees
Cao Đức Phát, the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) from 2004 to 2016, was recently appointed as a new member of IRRI's Board of Trustees effective January 2019. During his time as head of MARD, Dr. Phát enabled IRRI to have an active role in the development of the rice restructuring plan of Vietnam. He was also instrumental in strengthening the research and capacity building collaboration between IRRI and the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS).
Statement by the Chair of the IRRI Board of Trustees for the year ended 31 December 2019
2019 was a significant year with regards to the advancement of IRRI’s mandate of creating impact. The institute continues to pursue and strengthen relationships with governments and private sector partners around the world, taking the lead in strategic initiatives and supporting transformative innovations in both policy and technology. Research remains a core strength, as numerous projects in IRRI Headquarters, the South Asia Regional Centre in India, and the regions gain momentum and deliver key outputs. While the global financial situation continues to be challenging, enhanced management of resources and fiscal responsibility have led to the institute’s first net surplus in six years.
IRRI continues to be the lead center for the CGIAR Research Program on Rice (RICE CRP), joined by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and over 600 other partners across the globe. RICE CRP aims to address nine of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDCs) and 26 of their 169 targets. The RICE CRP has been approved for operation through 2021.
Despite continued budget cuts in the CGIAR Fund in 2019, IRRI’s financial position remains stable, with total assets of USD 73.664 million compared with USD 83.829 million in 2018. The decrease of USD 10.165 million was balanced by a corresponding decrease in total liabilities and net assets. The liquidity and long-term stability indicators remained above CGIAR benchmarks. After six (6) consecutive years of losses, IRRI reported a net surplus of USD 1.187 million in 2019.
In 2019, IRRI’s grant portfolio was USD 63.791 million, which included USD 4.063 million of RICE CRP Windows 1 and 2 funds for the flagship expenses of our CGIAR partners, AfricaRice and CIAT.
In 2018, the Institute's financial statements became fully compliant to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and are now aligned with international quality standards for financial reporting that are recognized inter alia by donors, the banking industry, partners, and potential collaborators. Further, compliance to this standard allows for comparability with other organizations and enhances the annual audit report.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Republic of India
Assam Rural Infrastructure & Agricultural Services Society
Department of Biotechnology
Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, & Farmers Welfare
Government of Andhra Pradesh
Government of Karnataka
Government of Odisha
Indian Council of Agricultural Research
Global Crop Diversity Trust
Government of Japan
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
People’s Republic of China
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
Provincial Government of Yunnan
Ministry of Agriculture - Department of International Cooperation
Republic of Germany
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Republic of the Philippines
Department of Agriculture Agricultural Training Institute
Department of Agriculture Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry
DA Regional Field Offices - ARMM, CAR,I, II, IVA, IVB, V, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII
Land Bank of the Philippines
Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD)
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
The World Bank
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
UK Space Agency
United States of America
National Science Foundation
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Rural Development Administration (Korea)
Syngenta Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
United Nations Environment Programme
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
African Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
AXA Research Fund
Catholic Relief Services
Central de Achat & Prestations
CIRAD Agricultural Research for Development
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Council of Agriculture of the Republic of China
DKT Liberty Project
General Directorate of Agricultural Research (Turkey)
Mr. George Chung Hang Liang
International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
Instituto de Investigacao Cientifica Tropical
Kingdom of Thailand
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation (MOALI)
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Reliance Industries Limited
Republic of Indonesia
Republic of Korea
Republic of Mozambique
Republic of Turkey
Rothamsted Research Limited
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Vietnam)
United Nations Women
We would like to thank all funders who supported our research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund (cgiar.org/funders/)
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
International Food Policy Research Institute
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Heinrich Heine University of Duesseldorf
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Kansas State University
National Academy of Sciences, USA
New York University
The National Institute of Agricultural Botany
Pennsylvania State University
Université Catholique de Bukavu
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cambridge
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
University of Sheffield
University of South Carolina
University of the Philippines Los Baños
University of York
University of Zurich
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University