New Delhi, India - In 1977, a promising rice breeder named M.A. Salam began his career at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). Almost 30 years on, he is one of the country's most influential agricultural scientists, with rice varieties he has helped develop grown on over 4 million hectares--more than one-third of Bangladesh's entire rice-growing area.
Dr. Salam, now chief scientific officer and head of BRRI's Plant Breeding Division, today received the Senadhira Rice Research Award for 2006 at a ceremony at the International Rice Congress in New Delhi, India. He won the award for his outstanding contributions to the development of varieties for the rainfed lowlands of Bangladesh.
Ren Wang, deputy director general for research at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), noted that Dr. Salam--who studied for his Ph.D. at IRRI in 1985-88--has devoted his career to the service of Bangladeshi rice farmers, in particular those in marginal and difficult production areas.
"Dr. Salam offers an excellent example of how international support for agricultural research directly benefits the national agricultural research systems, such as that of Bangladesh," said Dr. Wang.
As well as co-developing popular rice variety BR11--currently grown on more than 2 million hectares in Bangladesh--Dr. Salam had a strong hand in breeding 16 other varieties. These included several varieties for deepwater rice areas, one of which allowed farmers in low-lying areas to grow dry-season rice and thus dramatically increase their production. Dr. Salam is also involved in breeding submergence-tolerant, arsenic-tolerant, and iron-rich rice, as well as salt-tolerant rice varieties for coastal areas.
Just as important, Dr. Salam pioneered the use of farmer participatory breeding in evaluating breeding lines for unfavorable environments. This approach, in which scientists work hand-in-hand with farmers to choose promising lines, has advanced the development of varieties for saline and stagnant water conditions.
The award is named after Dharmawansa Senadhira, one of IRRI's most successful rice breeders, who tragically died in a traffic accident in Bangladesh in 1998.
IRRI has also announced the 2006 winners of the International Rice Research Notes (IRRN) Best Article Awards. IRRN celebrates its 30th birthday this year and, according to Dr. Wang, is one of IRRI's most important publications. "IRRN offers an important opportunity for rice researchers in developing countries to connect with each other and publish their own findings," he said. "As a forum for sharing information, IRRN helps advance rice-related knowledge and technology."
This year's winners, in five categories, are listed below. For more information about IRRN, visit www.irri.org/irrn.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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