by Maria Rowena M. Baltazar
Tanzania and IRRI have committed to doing more collaborative work. Marco Martin Mwendo, plant breeder and seed scientist from Tanzania's Agricultural Seed Agency, and Charles Chuwa, plant pathologist from Dakawa Agricultural Research Institute, learned more about IRRI’s research work and facilities during their four-day visit. The officials from the East African country visited the institute on 21-26 November.
Abdelbagi Ismail, overall project leader of the STRASA (Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia) project and IRRI principal scientist gave a tour of the different scientific facilities and field experiments featuring research on abiotic stresses.
Possible areas of collaboration were discussed during the visitors’ meetings with Bruce Tolentino, deputy director general for communication and partnerships, Corinta Guerta, director for external relations, and several IRRI senior scientists and management staff. IRRI will work with Tanzania on building the knowledge and skills of Tanzanian rice breeders and scientists, including learning to use geographical information systems and identifying suitable stress-tolerant rice varieties for farmer selection and adoption.
The Tanzanian officials also met Noel Magor and the Training Center team; Tobias Kretzschmar of the Genotyping Laboratory Services; Prabhjit Chadha-Mohanty of the Genetic Transformation Laboratory; Mallikarjuna Swamy and Rafiqul Islam on rice biofortification—high-zinc rice and stress-tolerant rice, respectively; Nese Sreenivasulu on grain quality and nutrition; and James Quilty on ecological intensification and seed processing.
Marco and Charles also visited the neighboring University of the Philippines Los Baños, and the SL Agritech farm in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, to learn how a private company conducts seed production.
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