The Rice Breeding Innovations (RBI) Department of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in collaboration with national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) partners, develops and deploys innovative breeding strategies, tools, and technologies to sustainably enhance the genetic potential of rice for higher yield and its ability to tolerate pest and diseases infestations, soil and environmental stresses due to drought, salinity, and sodicity, and lower temperatures while improving its grain and nutritional qualities resulting to delivery of improved varieties and products to farmers, consumers, and other end-users in a fast and effective manner.

RBI has been actively engaged in the modernization of IRRI's breeding programs to meet the needs of farmers and consumers. To that end, it has been engaged in the development of market segments and product concepts, development of relative maturity system, product management, development of multilocation testing networks in collaboration with NARES partners. It utilizes a unified breeding strategy, dubbed as 'OneRice,' for standardization, utilizing genomic selections and predictions, and reducing breeding cycle time through Rapid Generation Advancement. Underpinning these are pre-breeding activities such as deployment of major native genes into elite materials, disease resistance stewardship, making marker-assisted selection (MAS) more reliable, digitization of data through proprietary databases, and intellectual property records.

The RBI Program Management team ensures communications, delivery of project outcomes, and fulfillment of reporting requirements. The Department conducts all its activities in compliance with IRRI’s policies and procedures to ensure minimal environmental footprint. The Rice Breeding Risk management team works with staff and liaises with the IRRI risk management team to ensure a safe working environment and implementation of safety compliance and mitigation strategies. All seeds are transferred nationally and internationally through  “safe seed transfer” processes and procedures by testing them rigorously at the Seed Health Unit based at IRRI prior to subjecting them for inspections and certification for phytosanitary and quarantine requirements. All seeds are only sent through FAO-developed Standard Material Transfer Agreement and IRRI’s Material Transfer Agreements to comply with CGIAR Intellectual Property policies and procedures.

Latest News

CLRRI and IRRI identify 12 potential salinity-tolerant rice lines for the Cuu Long Delta

CUU LONG DELTA RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (CLRRI), 15 April 2024— For the last 2–3 years, IRRI has screened more than 7,000 rice elite genotypes in coastal regions across South Asia and the Philippines. The unique integration of effective phenotypic screening with modern breeding approaches using genomics and quantitative genetics has helped identify more than 130 genotypes that are salinity-tolerant.

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IRRI Seed Health and Logistics Unit leads quality management and cost recovery systems implementation across the CGIAR CoP at the 7th CGIAR GHU Workshop

CIAT, COLOMBIA, 15 April 2024 — Germplasm/Seed health units staff members from various CGIAR centers, including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), meet once again for the 7th International Workshop of the CGIAR Germplasm Health Units, held from 15-19 April at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Headquarters in Palmira, Colombia.

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Hybrid Rice rises to the challenge of slower adoption by South Asian Farmers

INDIAN INSTITUTE of RICE RESEARCH, Hyderabad (05 April 2024) — Increase the yield of hybrid rice to 25 percent greater than inbred varieties. This is the challenge that hybrid rice scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), its National partners, and the private sector must address for South Asian farmers to adopt rice hybrids. The call emerged during the Hybrid Rice Adoption Strategy Workshop that happened during the South Asia Advancement meetings that the IRRI Rice Breeding Innovations (RBI) Department facilitated. The activity took place in the IIRR campus, a NARES partner of IRRI South Asia under Dr. Vikas Kumar Singh, RBI South Asia Breeding lead.

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IRRI wins Best Exhibit at KALRO Seeds Expo, showcasing GloMIP, improved technologies, and high-yielding rice varieties

To support the Kenyan government and KALRO’s efforts to improve rice production in the country by increasing farmers’ access to improved rice varieties, access to quality seeds, and advanced farming technologies, IRRI showcases its work under the AGGRi, SeedEqual, Market Intelligence, and ScaleDirect Initiatives at the Kilimo Biashara Expo where they won Best Exhibit.

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Faster breeding and addressing climate risks prioritized during the South Asia Advancement meetings

INDIAN INSTITUTE of RICE RESEARCH, Hyderabad (02 April 2024) – The South Asia Advancement meetings, RBI’s annual initiative where scientists come together and select rice lines to be used for recycling as parents or for product development, released one rice line and six others for AICRPR (All India Coordinated Research Project on Rice) testing and amplification in 2024 wet season, respectively, with several more undergoing continuous deliberations for release before the end of April. The advancement of these rice lines will ensure rice production increases in the region at a shorter period tolerant of climate changes.

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IRRI-Government of Odisha partnership to strengthen state’s specialty rice segment

ODISHA, India (March 16, 2024) - The state of Odisha produced nearly 11 million tons of rice in 2021, considerably contributing to the national food reserve and meeting the staple requirement of around 45 million of its population. The focus of the government has now shifted to diversify the state’s food basket to include healthier choices for consumers by mainstreaming nutritious rice varieties with high zinc, iron, protein, and low glycemic index (GI) traits.

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IRRI and PJTSAU hold training on advanced breeding techniques for regional partners in India to accelerate crop improvement programs

HYDERABAD, INDIA (27 February 2024) The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) South Asia Hub and Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) organized the training Haplotype Analysis and its Application in Breeding for National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) in India on 27-28 February in Hyderabad.

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IRRI and Thailand Rice Department Strengthen Collaboration on Climate Change Initiatives

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA (15 February 2024) - A delegation from the Thailand Rice Department (TRD) recently visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters in the Philippines, strengthening the two institutions’ shared commitment to advancing sustainable rice production in Thailand and across the region.

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Women farmers in Bangladesh trained on quality seed production to build a pool of instructors for peer-to-peer learning

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partners hosted quality rice seed production training for women farmers to facilitate peer-to-peer learning among women-led groups in Bangladesh.  Held on 07 February 2024 at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Regional Station in Barisal, the program trained 40 women from the Maddha Rakudia IPM Club Women’s Group and the Islampur Women Development Cooperative on rice seed production, processing, storage, and certification. 

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Farmers Field Day promotes high-yield rice varieties and climate-smart agronomy to increase the productivity and income of Kenyan farmers

07 February 2024 (HOMA BAY COUNTY, Kenya) –The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) held a Farmers’ Field Day at the Oluch Kimira Rice Irrigation Scheme in  Homa Bay County, Kenya on 7 February to upscale the adoption of high-yielding rice varieties and climate-smart agronomy for increasing the productivity income, and food security of Kenyan farmers.

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IRRI and AfricaRice collaborate on developing and delivering improved and localized rice varieties to smallholder farmers in Africa

As a continuation of accelerating and modernizing the breeding programs through the Accelerating Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance initiated in 2019, the second phase of AGGRi (AGGRi2) was launched in the Nanenane farm of the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)- Uyole last January 22, 2024. The AGGRi Alliance was formed to unify modern rice breeding efforts in South Asia and the African continent.

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Impact of rural outmigration on women and women empowerment through entrepreneurship discussed at Krushi Odisha 2024

(14 January 2024) Women empowerment through agro-entrepreneurship and the impact of rural outmigration on the livelihood of rural households and the women who are left behind were featured at the 2024 Krushi Odisha in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

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