The association between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) dates back to 1984. This association continued actively till 2000 during which Bhutan immensely benefitted in terms of technical support, access to technologies and human resource development in rice research and development.
To further strengthen the linkages between two institutes, Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Deputy Director General for Research, IRRI, Philippines and Dr. Uma Shanker Singh from Country Office, India paid a short visit to Bhutan from the 10-13 July 2016. The visit was to revive and strengthen the collaboration between IRRI and Bhutan in rice research and development. The delegates discussed on the possibility of reinforcing the ties by signing a formal memorandum of understanding between two organisations during the meeting with the Agriculture Director General and senior officials held at Thimphu on 11 July 2016.
The delegates visited the Research Development Centre-Bajo on 12 July 2016.The meeting focused on rice research at center highlighting the important role of IRRI in the center’s development. The meeting also saw discussion on the areas that IRRI would provide support in the future. Rice breeding and variety improvement, promotion of bio-fortified and micronutrient dense rice varieties to address nutrient deficiency, development of seed sector, capacity building of researchers, extension workers and farmers, and use of satellite-based technologies for monitoring and loss assessment were identified as key areas for support by IRRI.
The discussion was followed by a field visit to rice trials at the center and later to the farmer fields in Wangdue and Punakha. The visit of the IRRI delegates is an important aspect of strengthening the collaboration between two institutes and enabling Bhutan to explore new dimension on rice technologies that will contribute to food security and rice self-reliance in the country.
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