LOS BANOS, LAGUNA: WorldFish, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) signed a five-year tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today. The agreement provides a framework for cooperation on research for development (R4D) initiatives focused on the sustainable intensification and management of rice-fish production systems in irrigated landscapes and wetlands in Southeast Asia.
The agreement aligns with the CGIAR 2030 Plan which calls for transformations of its research programs to usher in a "food systems revolution" to tackle challenges related to sustainability, nutrition, genetics, socio-economics, and information and to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through greater cooperation between Centers.
WorldFish Director General Dr. Gareth Johnstone shared that the multi-agency partnership provides a strategic push for wider research, promotion, and implementation of integrated rice-fish systems and builds on previous successes of WorldFish and its partners.
"This partnership helps create better synergies for leveraging our individual research expertise and network strengths to accelerate the sustainable supply of nutritious fish and rice into national, regional, and global food systems. Together, we will also be able to better support regional cooperation by increasing awareness, disseminating knowledge, and scaling critical solutions for this intensification to be truly sustainable."
Previous individual and joint program partnerships involving IRRI, WorldFish, and IWMI have yielded positive results. Among them include the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (2004), and an earlier project on fish-rice between IRRI and WorldFish with Bangladesh research and non-profit agencies.
More recently, WorldFish, IRRI, and IWMI came together for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)-funded Development of Rice Fish Systems (RFS) in the Ayeyarwady Delta project. The project aims to improve the productivity and profitability of rice-fish systems in Myanmar and seeks to benefit small-scale rice farming households, and fishers by diversifying production in rice-based farming systems and landscapes, enhancing resilience of rice-based farming systems.
"This agreement exemplifies a food systems approach to transforming the global rice sector. The combined global research expertise and influence of IRRI, WorldFish, and IWMI in the core elements of diets such as rice and fish, as well as land and water systems make this strategic collaboration essential to a food systems revolution," said IRRI’s Director General Dr. Matthew Morell.
IMWI’s work on sustainable water and land use converges well with IRRI’s work on landscape-level water management and environmental sustainability.
"What we aim to achieve as individual organizations is interconnected and geared toward the fulfillment of almost the same SDGs. We envision a sustainable food, nutrition, and water secure world and this strategic partnership gets us closer to that goal," said IMWI Deputy Director General - Research for Development, Mark Smith.
Under the MoU, IRRI, WorldFish, and IWMI will co-develop and implement R4D activities to discover the impact of rice-fish production systems on environmental, socio-economic, and cultural values on land and waterways. The R4D projects will be developed based on themes which include constructed water bodies, rice-fish landscapes, climate resilience and water, trade-offs and foresight analysis, and ICT and big data.
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WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Headquartered in Penang, Malaysia, with regional offices across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, WorldFish leads the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-Food Systems. For more information, please visit our website (link below).
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. IWMI works in partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector to develop scalable agricultural water management solutions that have a real impact on poverty reduction, food security and ecosystem health. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with regional offices across Asia and Africa, IWMI is a CGIAR Research Center and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science; improving the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers; and protecting the rice-growing environment for future generations. IRRI is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government. The institute, headquartered in Los Baños, Philippines, has offices in 17 rice-growing countries in Asia and Africa.