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60 Years of Impact
Stories of agricultural innovation, collaboration, and transformation across six decades by IRRI and the CGIAR Network
The future of agriculture lies in the next generation of leaders who will face the tough challenges of poverty and hunger, limited natural resources, and the impact of climate change. Empowering young people to be catalysts of change can help solve many challenges in the future. Young scientists must play a leading role in such efforts to help shape a new image for modern agriculture.
READ MORE: Rice Today
CLIMATE CHANGE & SUSTAINABILITY SOUTH ASIACSISA, USAID, BMGFTRAINING & EDUCATION
Darshan Singh Brar, a plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; 1987–2011), devoted nearly a quarter century of dedicated service to the institute, which encompassed not only cutting-edge rice research but also administration, education, and support of national programs in developing countries.
READ MORE: Rice Today
FOOD SECURITY & NUTRITIONSOUTHEAST ASIAIRRI ALUMNI
60 Years of Rice Varieties
Indica Inbred Varieties
IR8 “Miracle Rice”
IR8, popularly known as the “Miracle Rice,” is a high-yielding semi-dwarf rice variety developed at IRRI in the 1960s. Its performance was so significantly superior in many countries that farmers eagerly adopted it and hence hailed as “Miracle Rice.” For its successful contribution to the rice sufficiency and hunger reduction goals of many countries, IR8 eventually played a central role in the new wave of the “Green Revolution.” The variety was widely distributed through various organizational NARES partners of IRRI and due to its impact on rice production, IRRI was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding in 1969. It was first introduced to the Philippines where it was bred and in India in November 1966. Subsequently, IR8 was released in several rice producing parts of the world including in several countries of Southeast Asia, Asia, and Latin America. IR8 was a cross of a high yield but tall rice variety from Indonesia named Peta, and a dwarf variety Dee-geo-woo-gen (DGWG) from Taiwan. DGWG contains semidwarf-1 gene (sd-1) which encodes an enzyme in the production of gibberellin and affects plant height, improving its yield. IR8’s performance was also due to its capacity to utilize nitrogen effectively. The “Miracle Rice” later became a parent of many successful varieties developed and bred by rice breeders across Southeast Asia and Asia. In 2016, IRRI celebrated 50 years of IR8 recognizing the variety’s significant contribution to the way rice varieties were bred and distributed to reduce hunger, and released a special commemorative edition.
IR36 - First High Yielding Variety (HYV)
IR36 is an early maturing insect- and disease-resistant rice variety, and has grain quality preferred by the consumers. The variety was instrumental in improving farmers' incomes significantly and economists estimated that Asian farmers gained over 1 billion dollars in income due to planting of IR36. Grown on about 11 million hectares of ricelands in the early 1980s, at its peak, 65% of all rice grown in the Philippines and 60% of the rice in southern Vietnam and Indonesia was IR36. The variety was also popular in India, Malaysia, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Lao PDR, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, among other nations. The All-India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project (AICRIP) trials evaluated IR36 in 1978 and the variety became number one of 16 varieties grown at 56 sites throughout India, eventually being named an All-India variety in 1981. Due to IR36’s pest and disease tolerances and consumer desired grain quality, it became very popular since its planting in the Philippines in 1976 and was widely planted in Southeast Asia. IR36 was a true multiparent cross variety developed at IRRI by crossbreeding 13 parents, including IR8, from 6 nations - India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the USA. it is called PB36 in Indonesia and NN3A in Vietnam. It has a long slender grain type with less than 10% chalkiness and greater than 55% head rice recovery. In 1982, IRRI was awarded the first King Baudouin International Agricultural Research Award for the contribution of the IR36 rice variety to income and food security in Asia.
IR64 - Mega Variety
In 1985, the IRRI-developed Indica variety IR64 was released in the Philippines. It was also released soon after in Bhutan, Burkina Faso (as FKR42), Cambodia, China, Ecuador (as NIAP11), Gambia, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Vietnam and Sahelian regions of West Africa. Due to characteristics desired by farmers and consumers, IR64 was rapidly spread and widely cultivated in over 10 million hectares within the two decades after release and became known as a “Mega Variety”. IR 64 has been used as a parent in thousands of crosses breeders have conducted over the years and also in marker-assisted backcross breeding and various marker studies. In addition to its high yield, early maturity and disease resistance, it has excellent cooking quality, matching that of the best varieties available. IR64 also has one of the high levels of head rice recovery at milling. It was one of the first varieties with multi-pest and disease tolerances to Blast and Bacterial Blight diseases, and BPH. It has become a standard for cooking quality in many countries and they continue to grow IR 64.
This IRRI variety is an early maturing type variety with a long slender grain with less than 10% chalkiness appealing to farmers. It was grown in many parts of the world and until recently, grown in countries like Kenya. It was released in various countries of Southeast Asia as IR72 (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam), Yezin 1 (Myanmar), and Guojidao 72 (China). It is resistant to Blast, Grassy Stunt, Tungro, GLH, BPH, has medium resistance to stem borer, but susceptible to Bacterial Blight. It has moderate levels of salinity tolerance.
IRRI 123 (PSB Rc 82)
IRRI 123 has been deployed widely as it is an early maturing rice with good performance. It has resistance to Blast, intermediate reaction to bacterial leaf blight, BPH, and stem borer, and is moderately susceptible to GLH but susceptible to Tungro disease in the Philippines.
IRRI 154 (NSIC Rc 222)
IRRI 154 is one of the most utilized varieties in the Philippines and also performs well in other countries of Southeast Asia. Its maturity range is from 114-120 days. It has intermediate tolerance to blast, bacterial leaf blight, and tungro. The variety is moderately resistant to BPH and GLH. It can be grown in irrigated and dry direct-seeded conditions and performs well with high yield.
Hybrid (indica) Varieties
IRRI started its indica hybrid rice program in 1979. In 2008, IRRI launched the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) as a strong platform with public sector institutions and private seed companies as members. HRDC members get access to IRRI parental lines and high-value farmer-desired hybrids. IRRI has developed several promising cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) female parents and restorer lines that are extensively being used in many countries across the globe for hybrid rice production, including China. For instance, public sector programs in India benefited from these parental lines leading to the release of popular hybrid rice varieties such as CORH1, CORH2, ADTRH1, DRRH1, APHR1, APHR2, CNRH1, KRH1, KRH2, Pant Sankar dhan 1, Narendra Sankar dhan 2, and Sahyadri. In Bangladesh, BRRI Hybrid Dhan (BHD) 1, BHD 4, BHD 6 and BHD 7 have been utilized by farmers. Meanwhile, Indonesian farmers have cultivated hybrid rice varieties such as Maro and Rokan. More recently in Nepal, two hybrids—Hardinath Hybrid 1 and Hardinath Hybrid 3—have enjoyed popularity among farmers. The Philippines has been extensively utilizing hybrid rice varieties. Recently, HRDC was successful to license six of IRRI hybrids (Mestiso 30, Mestiso 61, Mestiso 68, Mestiso 71, Mestiso 77, and Mestiso 89) to private seed companies in the Philippines, and is being expanded to other target countries in Asia. By doing so, the adoption of hybrid rice technology will expand across Asia and help in bringing about rice self-sufficiency in many Asian countries.
IRRI 121 (PSB Rc 72H, Mestizo 1)
PSBRc72H or Mestizo 1 as it is most commonly called, is promoted for nationwide planting in the Philippines because it is adapted to various agro-climatological conditions in the country. It has an intermediate reaction to blast, bacterial leaf blight, tungro, green leafhopper and it is susceptible to brown planthopper and stem borer. Mestizo 1 became the centerpiece of the PH government’s Hybrid Rice Commercialization Program spearheaded by the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
IRRI 138 (Mestiso 3)
An early maturing hybrid rice variety (106 DAS), with wide adaptability across the Philippines, under irrigated transplanting culture for both dry and wet season but with better potential in DS. It has acceptable milling and head rice recovery with intermediate amylose content (22.2%). It exhibits intermediate reactions to Blast, BLB, ShB, GLH, YSB and BPH. Average yield is 5.8 t/ha with a potential yield of 8.6 t/ha.
IRRI 158 (Mestiso 30)
A high yielding hybrid rice variety for both dry and wet seasons with an average yield of 7.2 t/ha and potential yield of 11.4 t/ha. IRRI 158 matures in 106 days, has good grain quality, low amylose content (17.9%), high milling potential, and is highly acceptable in both raw and cooked forms.
IRRI 183 (Mestiso 61)
An early maturing (109 DAS) two-line hybrid rice variety recommended for Visayas. Averages 6 t/ha with a potential yield of 9.7 t/ha. Exhibited intermediate to resistant reactions to major pests and diseases, has intermediate amylose (20.5%) with premium milling recovery, and is acceptable both in raw and cooked forms.
IRRI 187 (Mestiso 68)
An early maturing (108 DAS) hybrid rice variety recommended for Luzon with an average yield of 6 and a potential yield of 10.6 t/ha. Exhibited intermediate to resistant reactions to major pests and diseases, has intermediate amylose content (19.8%) with premium milling recovery, and is acceptable in both raw and cooked forms.
IRRI 190 (Mestiso 71)
An early maturing (110 DAS) hybrid rice variety recommended in the dry season across the Philippines. It has an average yield of 6.4 t/ha with a yield potential of 10.7 t/ha. It has intermediate to resistant reactions to major pests and diseases, with premium milling recovery. It has high percentage acceptability in raw form with intermediate amylose content 21.1%).
IRRI 194 (Mestiso 77)
A hybrid rice variety suitably recommended for Luzon with an average yield of 6.3 t/ha and a potential yield of 12.3 t/ha. It matures in 111 days, with intermediate to resistant reactions to major pests and diseases, has premium milling recovery with high amylose content (22.9%). It also passed grain quality standards parameters including eating quality.
IRRI 203 (Mestiso 89)
A hybrid rice variety recommended for irrigated lowland areas in the Visayas with an average yield of 6.4 t/ha with maximum yield of 10.1 t/ha. The hybrid matures in 110 days, with intermediate to resistant reactions to pests and diseases. It has intermediate amylose content (21.4%) with premium milling recovery and better acceptability in the raw form. It was also found to be highly suitable for dry-direct seeded rice conditions.
Hardinath Hybrid 1
It is a fine grain hybrid developed by NRRP, NARC using the IRRI parental lines shared through the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium(HRDC) and recommended for its cultivation in Nepal with an average yield of 6.2 t/ha with a maximum yield of 8.5t/ha. HH-1 is highly suitable for growing during Spring (120-129d)and rainy season (112-121d) in the Terai and inner Terai region while it can be successfully grown during main rainy season (Kharif season) in the irrigated condition of lower to mid hills of Nepal with intermediate to resistant reactions to pests and diseases. It possesses excellent cooking and eating quality.
IR 74371-70-1-1 (Sahbhagi Dhan)
Sahbhagi Dhan was released in India in 2010 and was recommended for direct-seeded upland rice or as transplanted lowland rice, producing 4-5 tons per hectare under normal condition while giving 1-2 tons per hectare under severe drought condition. The same cultivar was also both released in Bangladesh and Nepal in 2011 as BRRI Dhan 56 and Sookha Dhan 3, respectively. These varieties have performed well in rainfed farmer’s fields.
IRRI 148 (NSIC Rc 192, Sahod Ulan 1)
In the Philippines, Sahod Ulan 1 was released in 2009 and produced an average yield of 3.7 tons/ha under the National Cooperative Testing (NCT) trial and was recommended for rainfed lowland areas, as well as good for dry-seeding and wet-direct seeding and transplanting. The same cultivar was released in Nepal in 2011 as Sookha Dhan 2. Similarly, another variety, Sookha Dhan 1 (IR 74371-46-1-1) was released in Nepal in the same year for rainfed lowland rice cultivation.
IRRI 191 (NSIC Rc 434, Sahod Ulan 21)
It is an early duration( 105d), high yielding (3.3t/ha) rainfed lowland variety released in 2016 in the Philippines.It exhibited intermediate to resistant reactions to major insect pests and diseases. It has intermediate amylose(19.4%) with long (7.2mm) and slender grain(3.3mm) and possesses premium milling quality (70.7%).
IRRI 178 (NSIC Rc 29, Katihan 4)
It is an early maturing (108d), high yielding upland rice variety with an average yield of 2.2 t/ha and an yield advantage of 15.9% over the check variety NSIC Rc 192. It exhibited intermediate to resistant reactions to major insect pests and diseases. It has intermediate amylose(18.5%) with long (7.1mm) and slender grain(3.3mm) with high consumer acceptance in the Philippines.
Swarna Sub1 (India), Samba Mahsuri-Sub1 (Bangladesh), IR64-Sub1 (Philippines)
The SUB 1 gene was identified in the year 2006 and triggered the development of submergence tolerant versions of multiple high yielding popular varieties from different parts of Asia. Some varieties include Swarna Sub1 (India), Samba Mahsuri (Bangladesh), IR64-Sub1 (Philippines), Ciherang Sub1 (Indonesia, Nepal). Improved varieties incorporated with the SUB1 gene have shown a yield advantage of 1–3 tons following flooding for upto 10–15 days. Building upon the success of the SUB1 gene for tolerance to complete submergence, research efforts were initiated for developing varieties tolerant to other forms of flooding such as Stagnant flooding and anaerobic germination. Further, the development of varieties with tolerance to multiple forms of flooding has been taken up in more recent years. These include a combination of Submergence and stagnant flooding tolerance. The most recent variety IR13F265 with tolerance to both these stresses was released in the Philippines in the year 2020. Apart from this, previously released variety IRRI 119 (PSBRc 68) is also known for its tolerance to Submergence and moderate tolerance to stagnant flooding. Varieties with tolerance to anaerobic germination are in the release pipeline for direct-seeded rice systems.
IRRI 198 (NSIC Rc 468, Salinas 24)
Salinas 24, released in the Philippines in 2016, produced an average yield of 3.6 tons/ha under the National Cooperative Testing (NCT) trial and was recommended as a national variety for saline prone lowland coastal areas. This variety has a high yield advantage of 15.5% -27.1% over the check variety, PSB Rc88 across season and has a good eating quality compared to IR64 as check.
IRRI 209 (NSIC Rc 534, Salinas 29)
It is an aromatic, saline, and drought-tolerant variety. NSIC Rc 534 (Salinas 29) was released in 2018 as national variety for saline prone areas with an average yields 3.2-4.4 tons/ha.It has yield advantage of 20.8% in the DS, 8.7% WS, over the check variety, NSIC Rc182.
IRRI 207 (NSIC Rc 530, Salinas 27), IRRI 208 (NSIC Rc 532, Salinas 28), IRRI 230 (NSIC Rc 554, Salinas 31), and IRRI 231 (NSIC Rc 556, Salinas 32)
These varieties were released as national varieties for saline prone areas in 2018 and 2019. These new varieties can offer an average yield of 2.2 to 3.1 tons/ha in the farmer's field. They showed an average of 18.4% -23.4% yield advantage across season over the check variety, PSB Rc 90.
IRRI 205 (NSIC Rc 512, Tubigan 44)
Tubigan 44 is an irrigated variety with excellent cooking quality that is amenable to both transplanted and direct-seeded conditions. It possesses salinity tolerance.
IRRI 210 (Makassane)
Makassane is the first rice variety that has been designed for Mozambique consumers and farmers considering local market needs and production conditions. Two distinct characteristics - its grain quality is significantly better and it is resistant to two major diseases, bacterial leaf blight and blast. Makassane was also found to be salinity-tolerant.
Multiple stress-tolerant varieties
IRRI 201 (NSIC Rc 480)
Popularly known as Green Super Rice 8 (GSR 8) due to its high and stable yields despite lesser input requirement, NSIC Rc 480 is the first climate-smart high yielding rice variety that can tolerate multiple abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, alkalinity, and iron toxicity. It is one of the most popular rice varieties in the Philippines, released in 2016 covering an area over 0.7 million ha. With an average yield advantage of 8.5%-15.8% against the check varieties, NSIC Rc192 and PSB Rc14, respectively under drought while a yield advantage of 8.8% - 28.9% under saline environment. It has intermediate resistance to pests, such as yellow stem borer (YSB) and brown planthopper (BPH).
Bahuguni Dhan 1 and Bahuguni 2
These varieties were released in Nepal as a replacement for Swarna for drought and flood-prone areas. These varieties combine tolerance to drought and submergence. These varieties were developed by combining QTLs for high yield under drought with the SUB1 gene through marker-assisted selection while retaining key attributes of the Swarna variety.
Healthier Rice Varieties
IRRI 195 (NSIC Rc 460, High Zinc Rice 1)
It is the first high Zn rice variety released for commercial cultivation in the Philippines. It has an average Zn content of 19 ppm, acceptable yield potential and an average Zn increment of 4.5 ppm over the popular check variety IRRI 123. This is approximately 30% of the target increment of the Zn content. The grain quality traits of both NSICRc 460 and IRRI 123 are similar with intermediate amylose content, gel consistency and gelatinization temperature. This variety is being scaled up in the Philippines.
INPARI IR NutriZinc
INPARI IR NutriZinc is the first high Zinc (Zn) rice variety released in Indonesia. It has Zn content of 26 ppm and helps to address the country’s stunting problem. It is a high yielding, brown planthopper-resistant rice variety which provides up to 50 percent of the estimated average daily Zn requirement and can help reduce the economic losses due to micronutrient deficiencies in Indonesia.