THE International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has entered into a partnership with Bioseed Research Philippines, Inc. to develop rice varieties for the Philippines which are resilient in drought and flood conditions.  

Gururaj Guddappa Kulkarni, IRRI Bio-Innovation Center and Global head of Research Infrastructure and Compliance, said in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld: “This research project aims to develop rice varieties that can better cope with environmental and man-made stresses, such as floods, droughts, etc., to bolster yields,” Mr. Kulkarni said.   

Mr. Kulkarni said Bioseed Research is based in General Santos City and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian conglomerate DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd.

“Bioseed owns one of the richest collections of germplasm in the world, which has sprouted one of the highest success rates in all of Asia. Its work is focused on research and development, field and lab testing, production, farm management and farmer interaction,” Mr. Kulkarni said.

Asked about the project’s timeline, Mr. Kulkarni said the pandemic has the prevented the start of laboratory work due to quarantine restrictions.

“We are still planning to start work as soon as possible, and are currently working on the seed movement and fine-tuning the milestones or deliverables of this project,” Mr. Kulkarni said.

“Researchers are currently working to import seeds and validate protocols to begin activities soon, with the end goal of developing rice varieties with multiple traits to address the biotic and abiotic challenges,” he added.

Mr. Kulkarni said the IRRI Bio-Innovation Center offers research, service, and resource sharing partnerships with public, private, and research institutes all over the world.

He added that the center allows the public and private sectors to tap IRRI’s research infrastructure and expertise.

“This most recent project is just one of 130 active projects initiated by IRRI with an overall value of around $225 million. Since 2015 to the present, IRRI has initiated some 390 projects (grants) with a total value of around US$310 million,” Mr. Kulkarni said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave