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Gates funding to help poor rice farmers
Date:1/25/2008

Los Baos, Philippines The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is receiving significant new funding to harness major scientific advances and address some of the biggest unsolved problems in agriculture. IRRIs new project will help develop and distribute improved varieties of rice that can be grown in rainfed ecosystemswhere farmers have little or no access to irrigationand withstand environmental stresses such as drought, flooding, and salinity.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a grant to IRRI for US$19.9 million over three years to initially help place improved rice varieties and related technology into the hands of 400,000 small farmers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Farmers are expected to achieve a 50 percent increase in their yields within the next 10 years.

The grant to IRRI was part of a package of agricultural development grants announced today by Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. All of the grants are designed to help small farmers boost their yields and increase their incomes so they can lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.

IRRI will draw on its past success in improving incomes for millions of poor farmers to reach its ultimate goal: more than 18 million households benefiting from improved rice varieties that will generate income increases and help lift farmers out of poverty. IRRI will work closely with other national and international agricultural research centers, including the Africa Rice Center (WARDA). In addition, the project will build the capacity of researchers and seed producers in poor rice-dependent countries.

The success of the Green Revolution in the 1960s and 70swhich sharply boosted production, causing rice prices to steadily fallhelped lay the foundation for the economic growth and prosperity in Asia in the two decades that followed. The new funding comes at a vital time for rice farmers, who are now facing majo
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Contact: Duncan Macintosh
irrimedia@cgiar.org
632-580-5600
International Rice Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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