LOS BAÑOS, THE PHILIPPINES — IRRI is working closely with the government of South Korea through its Rural Development Administration (RDA) in advancing rice research to help more rice-growing countries.

The IRRI-RDA collaboration goal is to maximize research opportunities and go beyond challenges to create a strong impact in helping resource-poor farmers. IRRI works with RDA in the delivery of tailored solutions to the country’s local needs.

Arvind Kumar senior scientist at IRRI
Arvind Kumar, senior scientist with the IRRI

“Our 50-year partnership with the Republic of Korea has led to the development of premium quality varieties — Gopumbyeo and Unkwangbyeo — as well as high-quality and high-yielding temperate japonica rice varieties that also benefit the Philippines,” said Arvind Kumar, senior scientist with the IRRI. “It has also launched the Rice Technology Transfer System Workshops, which has benefited around 130 practitioners from over 17 countries in Asia.”

In the 1960s, the government of the Republic of Korea through RDA started working with the IRRI to improve rice production and build the country’s national capacity. This partnership brought the Green Revolution to South Korea and helped transform the country from a rice importer to a self-sufficient producer and exporter of rice.

“Through our partnership with IRRI, Korea has revolutionized rice production and RDA came to have world-class rice breeding technology,” said Jeom-Ho Lee, director of the RDA. “We hope that through this meeting, we will be able to evaluate our current projects and plan future initiatives on delivering impactful rice research, which is crucial for both organizations.”

South Korea supported more than 50 research projects with IRRI and is looking forward to more research collaborations. In 2010, RDA committed $2.09 million for cooperation, training, and support to INGER and other ongoing projects. Among the priority areas of research in the new agreement are the development of abiotic stresses and disease tolerance in temperate japonica, and the development of rice cultivars with tolerance to high temperature.

RDA officials led by Lee met with IRRI scientists to evaluate current projects and other opportunities for collaboration last April 25 at IRRI headquarters.