International rice industry prepares to gather in India

Los Banos, Philippines and Delhi, India – The international rice industry is preparing to meet in India at a time of unprecedented change for the food that feeds almost half the planet.

Held every four years, the International Rice Congress (IRC) will bring together all aspects of the rice industry with a special focus on the latest research, science, and technology. Hosted by the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and co-sponsored by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), it will be held in Delhi from October 9-13 and include three main events:

  1. The 26th International Rice Research Conference
    October 9-13
  2. The 2nd International Rice Commerce Conference
    October 10-11
  3. The 2nd International Rice Technology and Cultural Exhibition
    October 10-12

"Rice is going through an unprecedented time of change and development," IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler said. "Despite the fact we've been growing rice for thousands of years, the recent sequencing of the rice genome heralded a new era in our knowledge and understanding of this vitally important crop."

"We have learnt more about rice in the past five years, than we have in the past 500 and we will learn even more in the next five years," Dr. Zeigler said. "If you add other issues such as intellectual property, biofortification, the water crisis, climate change, and the huge challenge of improving the lives of poor rice farmers and consumers, then you can start to understand why this congress is going to be so important."

Adding further interest to the event is the continuing struggle of many countries in Asia to produce the rice they need to feed their growing populations--a problem compounded by the current increase in the international price of rice.

According to Mangala Rai, Secretary of India's Department of Agricultural Research and Education and ICAR Director General, "The IRC2006 aims to provide a common platform for sharing knowledge and expertise on research, extension, production, processing, trade, consumption, and related activities with stakeholders."

"At present, many nations are struggling to produce more rice at less cost in a deteriorating environment," explained Dr. Rai. "Rice research and development also needs to address the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, and environmental conservation."

"It's especially appropriate that this--the second IRC--will be held in India after the first one was held in China in 2002," Dr. Zeigler added. "As the world's two biggest rice producers and consumers, these countries showcase the extreme importance of rice to literally billions of people--not just as a food, but also in providing income and employment. Put simply, rice is fundamental to the lives of the world's poor."

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For more information, please visit www.icar.org.in/irc2006

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world's leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. Please visit the CGIAR website (www.cgiar.org) for more information.

For information, please contact:

Duncan Macintosh, IRRI, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines; tel +63-2-580-5600; fax: +63-2-580-5699; email: d.macintosh@cgiar.org

Web sites:

IRRI Home (www.irri.org),

IRRI Library (http://ricelib.irri.org),

Rice Knowledge Bank (www.knowledgebank.irri.org).


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