LOS BANOS, Laguna: Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) signed a memorandum of understanding with Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on Monday in Los Banos, paving the way toward greater collaboration on related research.
Scheduled to take effect next year, the pact requires both sides to boost bilateral personnel exchanges relating to joint research promotion, as well as collaborate on rice breeding and varietal improvement.
COA Deputy Minister James Sha said Taiwan will contribute its experience with best practice in rice cultivation to the IRRI’s pool of knowledge. “This will advance development of production techniques to benefit rice-growing countries in East Asia,” he added.
Operating on the campus of University of the Philippines at Los Banos, IRRI was established in 1960 and is part of efforts to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and hunger through environmentally sustainable rice farming.
Taiwan has maintained a close partnership with IRRI—home to the world’s largest rice gene bank—since its inception, with local agricultural experts such as T. T. Chang, Paul C. Ma and Shen Tsung-han playing an instrumental role in launching the nongovernmental organization.
In addition, the International Rice Germplasm Center of IRRI was renamed T. T. Chang Genetic Resources Center in 2006 to honor the Academia Sinica member’s contribution spanning three decades.
IRRI Director-General Robert Zeigler said the memorandum allows the COA and the institute to engage in advanced cooperation and take relations to the next level going forward.