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INTRODUCING IRRI

Proud to lead the way


depend on them for reliable, affordable supplies of their staple food. IRRIs work, on its research campus at Los Baos and across Asia in collaboration with the national partners it has nurtured, has greatly contributed to the near doubling of the Asian rice harvest since 1970. Today, the institute combines ricebiodiversity conservation, gene discovery and plant breeding with natural resource management, integrated pest management, agricultural engineering and postharvest technologies, and social and policy studies to develop ecologically and economically sustainable strategies to reverse a troubling new stagnation in rice-yield improvement. This trend occurs in the contexts of slowing population growth and Asian farmers enjoying an average yield more than double that of their parents and grandparents at IRRIs founding. It nevertheless threatens to undermine the indispensable agricultural foundation of development, thus sabotaging the prospects of todays 500 million poor in rice-producing Asia and a large portion of the billions to be born in the several decades before the global population finally stabilizes. People at IRRI take pride in how they, their colleagues and their predecessors going back to the shell-shocked middle of the 20th century have helped to make the world a more prosperous, safe and hopeful place. But much remains to be done to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and so alleviate hunger, want, preventable disease, ignorance, inequality and environmental degradation. With continued support, IRRIs 1,000 scientists, administrators, support staff and contract workers will contribute much more than their share.

he world was a terrifying place in 1952-53. The period saw the first use of population explosion in Time magazine and a cruel irony the first detonation, over the Pacific Ocean, of a hydrogen bomb. It also brought across the Pacific two senior Rockefeller Foundation agriculturalists to study how to end 2 decades of stagnating rice yields in Asia. By 1960, the population explosion was a cover story in Time, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was established in the Philippines to shore up global food security in the face of exponential population growth. Along with the other midwife of the Green Revolution, the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, IRRI was a prototype for a global network of research centers that, since 1971, have found common purpose within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. With more than US$400 million in annual funding from its 63 cosponsors and member states and organizations in particular the World Bank and developed countries in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific the 15-center group represents the worlds largest investment in mobilizing science to generate public goods for poor farm communities. Since IRRIs release in 1966 of the first modern rice variety, the institute has led the way in developing improved rice cultivars and other agricultural technologies to benefit Asias 200 million rice farmers and the billions of rice consumers who