ISARC to focus on Rice Value Addition
New Delhi: In order to establish the IRRI-South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC), a Memorandum of Association (MOA) has been signed today between the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) represented by Secretary, DAC&FW and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines represented by Director General, IRRI. Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh graced the occasion.
Singh said that the Center will be the first international Center in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.
Agriculture Minister said this would be a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) and will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with the capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw. The Centre will also undertake capacity-building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.
ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director. A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, DACFW as Co-Chair. The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.
Singh further said that the rich biodiversity of India can be utilised to develop special rice varieties. This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents. India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed. The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers. The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.