By Bertrand Collard
Senior Scientist, Irrigated Rice Breeder/Acting INGER-MET Coordinator
Plant Breeding Division (PBD)
22 January 2016
DL Umali Rooms ABC
View the seminar video and photos.
Fifty years ago, IRRI released IR8, the first rice variety of the Green Revolution. Many other irrigated varieties were subsequently released and disseminated all over the world, including the mega-varieties IR36 and IR64, which have covered tens of millions of hectares to date. New irrigated rice varieties developed from the program at headquarters continue to be released in different countries across the world through national release systems.
However, in recent years, there have been many challenges to the irrigated breeding program’s continued operation. Furthermore, there has been concern that genetic gain (or rate of yield improvement from new varieties over time) has not reached expectations to meet future projected demands for rice.
In response to several drivers of change, the irrigated breeding program was completely redesigned in 2012 to be quicker, more cost-effective and resource-use efficient, and more product-oriented. Activities have been conducted within a new 5-year project, which began in late 2013, called Transforming Rice Breeding (TRB) funded by the Gates Foundation. Recent progress, current activities, and constraints will be described in this seminar. Finally, some ideas on priorities for the future will also be presented.