Rice institute receives 500,000-dollar research donation

International Rice Research InstituteManila - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said Tuesday it has received a donation of 500,000 dollars worth of materials that would boost research for cheaper and high-yielding rice varieties.

The Philippines-based institute said the donation pack from 5 PRIME, a Germany-based biotechnology company, includes technologies and reagents for DNA isolation, amplification and molecular analysis.

The materials would "strengthen IRRI's research capabilities for enabling more efficient and cheaper rice production," such as work on developing drought-tolerant rice varieties, the institute said in a statement.

"Scientists at IRRI use molecular biological methods, which require high-quality reagents, to develop drought-tolerant rice varieties," the institute said. Such research would help farmers in rain-fed lowlands in Asia that are vulnerable to drought.

Achim Dobermann, IRRI's deputy director general for research, said the institute was "very grateful" for the support amid efforts to boost rice research.

"In 2008, rice prices have risen dramatically, hurting poor consumers who are dependent on affordable rice for their food security," he said. "This situation underscores the need to intensify research efforts to develop improved, more efficient rice production."

In the past, IRRI research has lead to significant improvements in rice supply. The development of high-yielding, short-stemmed varieties in the 1960s fueled the Green Revolution that more than doubled global rice harvest. (dpa)

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