Bangladesh and IRRI


angladesh and IRRI have been working together for more than 48 years. The partnership began in 1965, when an outreach program was held in which 303 rice varieties were tested. This was supported by the Ford Foundation, and was IRRI’s first international intervention on testing rice. IRRI’s mission in Bangladesh is to help the country become rice self-sufficient by implementing several initiatives. These include the development of better varieties; improving cultivation practices for various cropping systems; improving the management of irrigation, nutrients, rodents, and other pests; and farm mechanization. To achieve these, IRRI works with several partners in Bangladesh: the Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, and many others, through knowledge and technology dissemination. IRRI interventions in Bangladesh have been supported by several donor organizations since 1970. Ongoing activities in Bangladesh are supported by the:

• Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, through the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the University of Western Australia • Bangladesh Association of Banks • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council • Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo • CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food • Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences • Consortium Office of the CGIAR • European Commission • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations • Global Crop Diversity Trust • HarvestPlus • Hybrid Rice Development Consortium • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics • International Fund for Agricultural Development • United States Agency for International Development • University of Illinois

Key achievements
• Higher productivity. Rice yield increased to an average of 4.3 tons per hectare by 2012, compared to 1.7 tons in 1970. • Improved rice varieties. Bangladesh has released 73 highyielding varieties, including two submergence-tolerant varieties, two drought-tolerant varieties, four salinity-tolerant varieties, four hybrids from BRRI, five high-yielding varieties from the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), and one from a national university. High-yielding varieties contribute nearly 80% of total rice production. The introduction of short-duration rice varieties has also enabled Bangladeshi farmers to add a third crop, such as mustard, maize, or wheat, into their cropping schedule. • Conserved rice genetic diversity. As of January 2014, the International Rice Genebank at IRRI has received about 5,800 rice types from Bangladesh. • Mechanized farming. IRRI helped introduce new rice farming machinery. About 600,000 two-wheel tractors are now in use by farmers in Bangladesh. • More efficient water use. Through alternate-wetting-anddrying technology, farmers were able to cut water use by 15–30% without compromising rice yield. • Stronger capacity. From 1966-2013, IRRI supported 313 Bangladeshi scholars and 736 short-term trainees.

Current rice research and development activities • Coping with climate change. IRRI helps farm households adapt better to climate change and assists policymakers in delivering effective adaptation programs. IRRI also aims to develop technologies for poor farmers in stress-prone areas and reduce the environmental footprint of rice farming by developing and promoting Green Super Rice varieties that produce high yields but use less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. • Breeding hardy rice varieties. Rice varieties that are tolerant of flooding, drought, and salty soil are being developed through the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project. IRRI has been distributing these varieties to millions of farmers in stress-prone areas through the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project in Bangladesh. With support from several partners, IRRI is also developing new hybrid rice varieties, generating databases on crop improvement, and tracking the diffusion of rice varieties. • Developing sustainable production systems. Together with the country’s national agricultural research and extension system and other national and international partners, IRRI continues to put together interventions to increase the productivity, profitability, and resilience of rice farming systems in Bangladesh and ensure environmental sustainability. • Targeted poverty alleviation strategies. IRRI is developing an understanding of poverty dynamics and development pathways that will guide the implementation of poverty alleviation strategies and makes these more effective. It is collecting long-term socioeconomic data to strengthen its research, policy development, and capacity building initiatives. • Sharing knowledge and building capacity. IRRI provides training and capacity-building support continuously in Bangladesh. Areas covered include the development of better rice varieties, strengthening of rice-based farming systems, and improvement of cultivation practices. As a result, rice production in Bangladesh continues to increase, softening the impact of food insecurity during the monsoon season and major flooding episodes.

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
IRRI is a nonprofit, independent organization that, through research, aims to: • reduce poverty and hunger, • improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and • ensure that rice production is environmentally sustainable. IRRI develops new rice varieties and crop management techniques that help farmers improve the yield and quality of their rice crop in an environmentally sustainable way. We work with our public and private sector partners and national agricultural research and extension systems in major rice-growing countries to do research, training, and knowledge transfer. Our social and economic research also informs governments to help them formulate policy to improve the equitable supply of rice.

Contact Paul Fox IRRI Representative for Bangladesh +880 (2) 989 8011 IRRI Headquarters (Philippines) +63 2 580 5600
Rice science for a better world