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CGIAR Executive Managing Director visits IRRI Headquarters in the Philippines

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28 February 2024, Philippines: Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, the newly appointed Executive Managing Director of CGIAR, visited the headquarters of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna in the Philippines from 21-23 February 2024.

The three-day visit was part of a series of trips to CGIAR Research Centers’ headquarters that started at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Cairo, Egypt in December.  

“It was wonderful to spend the day at IRRI and see the science in the field, see the science in the lab… Hence, as I’m going to the centers, I’m really impressed on how much work is being done for climate adaptation with the co-benefits of mitigation,” said Dr. Elouafi.

Throughout her stay, Dr Elouafi dedicated time to acquainting herself with the latest innovations and technologies in rice research. She engaged with researchers and key institutional partners, fostering discussions on research opportunities and potential collaborations for the future.

Dr Elouafi kicked off her visit by delving into the latest research in nutrition and rice value addition at the IRRI Grain Quality and Nutrition Center (GQNC), where Dr. Nese Sreenivasulu, Principal Scientist at GQNC, shared the Center’s developments in low glycemic index rice and ultra-low glycemic index rice. Dr. Elouafi also participated in the rice tasting activity where she was able to compare the texture and taste of low GI rice with other varieties.

Dr. Elouafi met with IRRI’s research leadership to talk about IRRI’s priority research areas, including climate change and sustainability – particularly REMET-Rice (REducing METhane emissions from RICE) –  breeding innovations, and nutrition discovery.

She toured the campus visiting facilities, laboratories, and experimental stations, including the Long Term Continuous Cropping Experiment (LTCCE), which is the longest-running field experiment on rice in the world, the SpeedBreeding Facility, the International Rice Genebank, and the Direct-Seeded Rice fields.

Dr. Elouafi also met members of the IRRI community in a hybrid town hall event and cocktails reception in the evening. 

During the second day of her visit, Dr Elouafi joined a tripartite meeting of IRRI, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WorldFish Center (WorldFish) to discuss streamlining and coordination of research and development across these three CGIAR Research Centers.

Dr. Elouafi also spent time discussing present and future collaborations with the University of the Philippines (UP) as she spoke with the UP System President, Atty. Angelo Jimenez, and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Chancellor Jose V. Camacho.

Her second day ended with a reception dinner on Global Connections for Food and Nutrition Security where she met with representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and other strategic IRRI partners in the country.

“It was two very intensive days of listening to science, listening to innovation. And I always say that this is the best time to visit because I get to hear the juice [best] of the juice [best] of presentations,” said Dr. Elouafi.

To wrap up her Philippine tour Dr Elouafi met with His Excellency Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., President of the Philippines, to discuss opportunities for collaboration with CGIAR, IRRI, and the Philippine Department of Agriculture.

She also travelled to the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Pasig City, and the Philippine Department of Agriculture office in Quezon City, where she met with key officials.

“It was very important to meet with partners because at the end, we are [only] as good as how we partner. We are [only] as good as how we pass on our knowledge and innovation for the stakeholders and partners to take them,” said Dr. Elouafi.

Also Read: Marut Drones and PJTSAU’s Direct Seeding Device Receives World’s First Utility Patent

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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