|Mobilizing science for global food security. Fifth External Programme and Management Review of IRRI (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research - CGIAR ) (1998)|
|CHAPTER 4 - RESEARCH PROGRAMMES|
The Panel was able to examine a considerable proportion of the IRRI research Programmes. It found that most of the work was scientifically exciting and of good quality.
Most of the important research objectives (drought tolerance, submergence tolerance, salt tolerance, improved human nutrition, etc.) cut across more than one of the three rainfed programmes and the breeding techniques needed to address these objectives are the same. A reduction in administrative effort and transaction costs is desirable and limited resources must be used in an efficient and flexible manner.
The Panel recommends that the Rainfed Lowland, Rainfed Upland, and Flood-prone Programmes be combined into a single Rainfed Rice Programme, in which related lines of work can be brought together, emphasizing those where prospects for success are greatest.
The Panel noted the fact that the Irrigated Rice Programme no longer has an agronomist. They also noted the need for more technical staff to support plant breeding, and in the longer term for more capacity in biotechnology to service the marker-assisted selection needs of the breeders. Molecular marker-assisted breeding promises important advances in the form of improved drought and submergence tolerance, improved pest resistance, and other important traits. This work is labour-intensive and research support personnel is the major limiting factor.
The Panel recommends that the research staffing in the Irrigated Rice Programme be reassessed with the aim of filling key positions, including an IRS agronomist with wide experience and certain skilled support staff in critical areas of work .