RICE BREEDING INNOVATIONS

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

Heat-Tolerant Rice Varieties Promises Increased Yields in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh (June 25, 2024) – IRRI, in collaboration with BRRI and funded by BMZ, has developed heat-tolerant rice varieties to address the severe impact of rising temperatures on rice production in Bangladesh. 

Climate change, characterized by rising temperatures and increased frequency of extreme weather events, significantly impacts rice production and yields. High night temperatures disrupt the grain-filling process in rice plants, leading to reduced yields and lower grain quality. 

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IRRI showcases its Native Trait Deployment efforts at the DA-BAR’s agri and fisheries exhibition

Cagayan de Oro City (4-6 June 2024) - OneRicePH and other partnership initiatives of IRRI with the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) were among the highlights of the recently held 2nd National Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Exhibition (NAFTE).

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Bioseed and IRRI extend collaboration for developing next-generation rice varieties

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines (23 May 2024) - Bioseed and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) recently agreed to an amendment of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will extend their ongoing partnership for a further five years, advancing research initiatives that aim to develop improved rice varieties with multiple tolerances for biotic and abiotic stresses.

A seed and biotechnology company, Bioseed is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DCM Shriram Limited, one of India’s largest agricultural conglomerates. Bioseed’s partnership with IRRI is through IRRI’s Bio-Innovation Center (BIC), a membership-based program that enables public and private sector partners to leverage the institute’s world-class research infrastructure, expertise, and resources for the development or scaling up of their own products or research solutions. Bioseed has been a BIC member since August 2020.

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A disease-surveillance network in Africa will accelerate detection and actions to prevent the spread of major rice diseases

IVORY COAST—Rice diseases cause an annual yield loss of 30%, representing enough rice to feed over 70 million people. In Africa, where rice cultivation does not meet consumer demand, such losses are intolerable. Increasing rice trade between Asia, America, and Africa introduces new varieties and risks bringing rice pathogens to the continent. Furthermore, changing climates, including temperature, humidity, and heat variations, significantly impact disease occurrence, making previously disease-free areas more susceptible. Consequently, the dynamics of rice disease in Africa are vast, necessitating urgent surveillance and monitoring of pathogens.

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Biometrical genetics workflow app demonstration at IRRI Headquarters

IRRI, PHILIPPINES,  06 May 2024—The Breeding Analytics and Data Management team within IRRI’s Rice Breeding Innovations department demonstrated firsthand their biometrical genetics workflow application (bioflow) at IRRI Headquarters. 

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Dialogues on challenges facing the varietal turnover in Seed Accelerator Meet

Varanasi, India - April 22, 2024 Key stakeholders of the national seed systems formalized a National Seed Accelerator Network to foster collaboration between seed scaling institutions and breeding networks to expedite early generation seed linkage, multiplication, and supply of quality-assured seeds.

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KALRO and IRRI organize Farmers’ Field Day at Siaya County, sharing improved rice varieties and training farmers on climate-smart agronomy

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and IRRI jointly organized a Farmers’ Field Day at the Bunyala Irrigation Scheme, Siaya County in Western Kenya where they promoted the adoption of improved high-yielding rice varieties and climate-smart agronomy for increased productivity and income to help achieve food and livelihood security in the country.

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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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Building a climate-smarter Tanzania

“Raining and flooding are not common during this time of the year.”, Dr. Susan Nchimbi Msolla, Professor in Plant Breeding and Genetics at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) noted as she welcomed the delegation of the Climate-smart African Rice Project Team in SUA’s Morogoro Campus. “But look, it’s raining.”, she points at the ongoing drizzle outside the venue.

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IRRI scientists provide CLRRI researchers with advanced training on experimental designs and data analysis

CUU LONG DELTA RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (CLRRI), 15 April 2024—In response to the need for capacity-building efforts, particularly in data analysis using modern tools and breeding approaches, researchers from CLRRI underwent a workshop on “Experimental designs and modern statistical data analysis”. It was conducted by IRRI scientists, as part of the project "Securing the Food Systems of Asian Mega-Deltas through Identification of Salinity Tolerant Genotypes in Vietnam".

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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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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 and partner institutes aim to shorten breeding cycle for new climate-resilient rice varieties to as short as two years

IRRI, PHILIPPINES (21 March 2024) –The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) partners are using genomic selection (GS), marker-assisted selection (MAS), and rapid generation advance (RGA) methods in breeding pipelines that will reduce the development of climate-resilient rice from 8 to 10 years to only about two years.

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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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Healthier Rice Program featured in RBI field tour series 


The Rice Breeding Innovations (RBI) department of IRRI recently commenced its field tour series featuring research activities in the field, laboratories, and screenhouses. The Transgenic Research Facility (TRF) was the second installment of this series, in which the Healthier Rice Program (HRP) was featured. Dr. Mallikarjuna Swamy, Senior Scientist I - Rice Breeding and Biofortification, and his team welcomed 71 staff from headquarters. An interesting discussion ensued as Dr. Swamy highlighted the role of rice in a healthy diet, especially in helping to address micronutrient malnutrition or hidden hunger.  

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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 folks embark on a field tour to explore DSR

Fresh from the IRRI’s Science Days held on Feb 19-22 at the headquarters, staff members from various units joined Rice Breeding Innovations’ (RBI) latest installment of its orientation series. IRRI constituents from the Director General’s office, Human Resources and Organizational Development, Finance and Accounting, and the Safety Security Office, among others, learned about the direct-seeded rice (DSR) technology as they traversed the breezy, sunlit field demonstrations on current undertakings of this major RBI activity.

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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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