IRRI, Sri Lanka ink deal to boost output

A comprehensive work plan has been signed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the government of Sri Lanka on Friday to help mitigate the effects of climate change and restore Sri Lanka’s rice self-sufficiency.

The five-year partnership was formalized during Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena’s five-day visit in the Philippines, which included a tour in the IRRI facility in Los Baños, Laguna.

Signatories of the said framework were IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Jacqueline Hughes and Additional Secretary for Bilateral Affairs of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sumith Nakandala.

Under the partnership, IRRI would provide the government of Sri Lanka with technical assistance to reduce post-harvest losses and introduce new techniques to promote the value addition of rice.

“This plan aims to improve and build on what we have learned from that to unlock the full potential of Sri Lanka’s rice sector and help the country regain this achievement once again.” IRRI Director General Matthew Morell said. He said the work plan also targets current issues on agricultural productivity and sustainability.

“Improving the resilience and sustainability of Sri Lanka’s national rice economy through environmentally sustainable approaches is of utmost importance to address the complex challenges of population growth, agricultural production, and climate change in Sri Lanka. We are honored to have Sri Lanka’s continued trust and we remain committed to supporting their efforts to restore rice self-sufficiency and attain food security,” Morell explained.

Sri Lanka’s current rice productivity level is less than half of its potential, producing an annual 4.6 million metric tons (MT) with an average yield of 4.3 MT per hectare. Sri Lanka first gained rice self-sufficiency in 2010. To remain self-sufficient, IRRI had predicted that Sri Lanka needs to increase its rice production by 20 percent over current levels by 2030.

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