New pact to protect rice signed

December 09, 2010

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and GrainPro, Inc. sign a cooperation agreement today to promote the adoption and dissemination of rice storage technologies in the Philippines.

Between 15 and 25% of rice harvest is lost due to inefficient and outdated postharvest operations. The agreement is part of an ongoing collaboration between IRRI and GrainPro to develop storage and other technologies that reduce physical and quality losses in the postharvest chain.

"This joint agreement allows us to better provide farmers, farmers' groups, processors, and seed producers with cost-effective technologies that help reduce postharvest losses and maintain the quality of rice and seeds," explained Mr. Martin Gummert, IRRI senior scientist and head of its Postharvest Unit.

"Working in partnership, including with the private sector," he added, "allows us to reach end-users in a way we cannot do alone, thus helping enhance food security and improving livelihoods for rice farmers and consumers."

Mr. Gummert's group pilots improved storage of rice grains and seeds across Southeast Asia. The nonexclusive agreement with GrainPro in the Philippines will hopefully lead to other agreements and partnerships in the region.

GrainPro, Inc. is a private company engaged in the development, manufacture, and commercial distribution of airtight storage systems for rice and other crops.

"We greatly value this new cooperation with IRRI, the world's foremost institute in improving and protecting rice," GrainPro Philippines' President Mr. Tom De Bruin said. "It will ensure that farmers and consumers alike will promptly benefit from the latest research on rice production and protection."

IRRI and GrainPro have informally cooperated on the development and verification of small-scale airtight storage systems for Asian rice farmers, seed producers, and the commercial sector since 2002.

One result of this cooperation is the "Superbag," a low-cost technology that allows safe storage of grains and seeds over long periods and provides insect control without pesticides. Participatory research trials with farmers in villages across Southeast Asia and with commercial processors and seed producers have shown that airtight storage reduces storage losses from insects and other pests while maintaining the quality of commercial grain for at least a year even under the adverse conditions of the humid tropics.

IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Dr. Achim Dobermann and GrainPro, Inc. President Mr. Philippe Villers are signatories to the agreement.

International Rice Research Institute

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