IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) was founded in 1960 and is supported by several US families such as Ford and Rockefeller. The concept was to apply scientific tools to increase rice productivity and decrease hunger and poverty. The foresight of the leaders and funders led to major successes in what is now known as the Green Revolution in Asia.
Around 1.1 billion people struggle on incomes of less than a dollar a day. Higher food prices, caused by increasing demand and stagnating growth in productivity – threaten to increase the number of poor people and push them deeper into poverty. To address this issue, IRRI created a six step action plan:
1. Help farmers improve management of the crop to reduce existing gaps between actual and potential yield.
2. Accelerate the delivery of new post-harvest technologies to reduce losses.
3. Accelerate the introduction and adoption of higher yielding rice varieties.
4. Strengthen and upgrade the rice breeding and research pipelines.
5. Accelerate research on the world’s thousands of rice varieties so scientists can tap the vast reservoir of untapped knowledge they contain.
6. Develop a new generation of rice scientists and researchers for the public and private sectors.
IRRI is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year to ease poverty and ensure food security. Their goal is to raise $300 million from donors in the US and Asia to create the second Green Revolution in Asia. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made a significant contribution to the campaign. Here is a short clip from Jeff Raikes, CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation explaining why supporting IRRI is important. He encourages philanthropists in Asia to join them in the campaign.