The ongoing climate change process has posed new challenges to the scientists and demands a quick response from the scientific community for sustainable crop production and to maintain a balance between demand and the supply. Over years, IRRI in partnership with national programs has successfully used molecular biology tools to speed up the development and delivery of products combining tolerance to various abiotic and biotic stresses. However to expedite the process of delivering recent discoveries and for developing targeted specific products, a strong need has been felt of a breeding facility in the region. India with its large diversity of soil and climate, provide opportunities to develop situation-specific rice varieties which will be relevant to not only India but also to other neighboring countries.

Keeping this in view, IRRI established South Asia Rice Breeding Hub at ICRISAT, Hyderabad to carry out targeted breeding research and training program in India with a spillover benefit to other SAARC countries. India with its large diversity of soil and climate, provide unique opportunities to develop situation-specific rice varieties which will be relevant to not only India but also to other south Asian countries as well. The program will be in close collaboration with India’s premier rice research institutes Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), and other national partners both public and private sector in India. This facility would allow the implementation of upstream research agenda agreed under the India-IRRI collaborative research program and contribute to the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), a new CGIAR Research Program (CRP) in which India is a key partner.

The IRRI South Asia Rice Breeding Research and Training Hub at ICRISAT shall work:

  1. To serve as a platform for first-hand evaluation of new products developed at IRRI.
  2. To ensure quick delivery of the recent discoveries at IRRI to partners in South Asia.
  3. To add values to the products developed at IRRI to make them suitable for adaptation in different countries in South Asia.
  4. To develop varieties tolerant to multiple abiotic stresses.
  5. To develop new generation dry direct seeded varieties to promote mechanized dry direct seeded technology to address the water-labor shortage problems under transplanted system.
  6. To develop a high-quality training program for the new generation of scientists in breeding and molecular biology.
  7. To work more closely with Indian council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) especially with Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), Hyderabad, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack, SAUs involved with rice research in India and similarly with national agencies in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on research problems of mutual interest.
  8. To undertake basic and applied research on climate related abiotic and biotic changes including drought, heat, submergence, salinity, cold, sheath blight, false smut, and stem borer.
  9. To share with partners in South Asian countries donors. mapping population, near isogenic lines to identify, validate QTLs/genes for different stresses/races of pathogens.
  10. To develop with partners within the country and between countries national and international joint proposals on new emerging problems.

The IRRI South Asia Rice breeding hub will not compete but complement the research activities being conducted by different institutes in South Asia. The IRRI South Asia Rice Breeding Hub shall follow the Govt. of India approved guidelines for transfer of germplasm outside India.