Statement of the Board Chair

Cao Đức Phát
IRRI Board Chair

As more businesses opened their doors to additional in-person interactions in 2022, IRRI embraced the opportunity to operate in new ways in a post-pandemic world.
The transition to working onsite was a gradual process and challenges were met as staff navigated the hybrid working set- up. Nonetheless, the Institute and its staff proved to be resilient and adaptive. The great effort that went into the four Flagship Projects and One CGIAR initiatives and the outputs of those efforts can be attributed to the persistence of IRRI staff and their dedication to the mission and mandates of the Institute.

Financial Highlights

Good financial management across the research and corporate areas is highly welcomed and applauded and continues to strengthen the Institute. This is especially recognized given the last few years of a particularly challenging environment.

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic—aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict resulting in volatile market conditions and local currency fluctuations translating into unrealized investment losses—were the critical challenges in 2022.  Through the collective efforts across the Institute to effectively manage overhead costs, further strengthen donor engagement, and accelerate research activities made possible by the easing of restrictions in the second half of 2022, the Institute managed to end the year with a net surplus of USD 70,000 as IRRI’s grant portfolio increased to USD 56.262 million in 2022 from USD 52.462 million in 2021.

Research Achievements

Climate change is a priority
In 2022, IRRI focused on climate change and related issues central to protecting the food systems of vulnerable communities. This translated into the IRRI Climate Change Strategy for 2022–2027 . IRRI capitalizes on its current strengths and plans to invest in uplifting or establishing novel strengths necessary to complement and advance the present strengths. With a focus on low-carbon farming, rice-carbon credit markets, and policy support and analyses, IRRI aims to collaborate with national and international partners to co-create and disseminate solutions at scale.

In the regions
In Africa, combining the best varieties with high-quality seeds, good agronomic practices, and relevant harvest and postharvest technologies led to improved yield and low production costs within the selected communes. In Asia, a recent study showed that the net returns from IRRI rice varietal development efforts in the Philippines and Bangladesh returned more than what was invested by partners. The returns amount to USD 3.61 billion and USD 33.32 billion, respectively from 1990 to 2018. 

Vietnam is a prime example where our technologies, such as Climate Smart Mapping and Adaptation Planning, are actively adopted by stakeholders, leading to an increase in rice production and income of rice farmers. Our research efforts in India have also continued. The government funded the second phase of the IRRI South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) with USD 16.7 million from April 2022 to March 2027 to scale-up existing activities and partnerships for food and nutrition security in South Asia using technologies under the Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition. 

Lastly, our partnership with the Philippines saw many outcomes as the Institute, the Department of Agriculture, and agencies such as the Philippine Rice Research Institute developed ready-to-scale technologies and innovations tailored to Philippine conditions, which offer multiple benefits such as increased productivity and reduced production costs.

Partnerships for Impact

The year has been eventful as IRRI participated in several global events and organized or co-hosted engagements that connected us with key players in the food and agriculture sector. Several country and regional visits such as India, Bhutan and others  were arranged with our national partners to continue and create new collaborations post-pandemic. 

Leading the way

IRRI’s vision is to continue its mandate of being the center of excellence in rice research, a hub with enabling conditions where the most talented scientists in rice research can continue to explore innovative possibilities through science. The Institute hopes to push this strategy forward by developing more effective cutting-edge technologies and varieties that will cater to the needs of our stakeholders, recommending science-based policies, and making sure that NARES partners are trained to master these advanced methods in rice research. Our close cooperation with centers in the One CGIAR and NARES will help us reach a new era of rice-farming advances and systems.