2nd February, Batalagoda, Sri Lanka — The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in South Asia reached another milestone with the opening of its Sri Lanka country office. The office will be based in the Rice Research and Development Institute (RRDI) at Batalagoda, Sri Lanka. Its establishment follows the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between IRRI and the Department of Agriculture of the Government of Sri Lanka on 24th October in 2017.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. R.R.A. Wijekoon, Director General of Agriculture, Government of Sri Lanka, said “This will strengthen rice research development activities in the country especially to ensure food and nutrition security and sharing of global innovative technologies for the country’s successful rice production.”
This marks a new chapter in the collaboration between IRRI and the Department of Agriculture in Sri Lanka. The new IRRI office will revitalize the partnership between IRRI and Sri Lanka, which dates back to the early 1960s. With over five decades of work in Sri Lanka, IRRI has partnered with the Department of Agriculture on 43 projects and has trained some 550 Sri Lankan scholars and trainees.
Dr.Nafees Meah, the South Asia representative for IRRI, welcoming the establishment of the IRRI Sri Lanka office said, “IRRI sees this as a great opportunity to work hand-in-hand with national partners in Sri Lanka for raising productivity, profitability, and resilience of rice farming systems”.
Agriculture in Sri Lanka contributes nearly 7.5 per cent to the national GDP and employs over a third of the country’s manpower. The primary food crop is rice, which comprises nearly 40 per cent of total crop production.