The Prime Minister on Monday visited the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Banos, an urban locality situated at a distance of around 65 kms from Manila -- the capital of Philippines -- and interacted with a large number of Indian scientists working there.
A number of scientists at the IRRI briefed PM Modi on flood-tolerant rice varieties which they said can withstand 14-18 days of submergence and can provide 1-3 tonnes more yield per hectare in flood affected areas.
PM Modi said the flood resistant rice varieties would help farmers and enhance their income.
"Salinity tolerant rice varieties will help farmers where the soil is saline, for example Kutch. I also saw a drought tolerant rice variety that can help farmers in times of droughts," PM Modi tweeted.
He said he was also shown drones that could be used in the agriculture sector and help farmers.
A 'rice field laboratory' named after Prime Minister Modi was also inaugurated by him at the institute.
He unveiled a plaque marking the inauguration of the Shri Narendra Modi Resilient Rice Field Laboratory.
PM Modi also undertook a symbolic groundbreaking for a new plot for submergence tolerant rice varieties.
He said he saw a detailed exhibition on rice varieties and the impressive work done by IRRI with women farming cooperatives.
PM Modi said India is also involved in helping IRRI in strategic planning, helping decide key goals and working to overcome hunger as well as poverty.
The Indian Government is also setting up a regional centre of the IRRI in Varanasi, the Prime Minister's constituency, to develop high-yielding rice varieties.
The IRRI, which has offices in 17 countries, is known for its work in developing rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution in 1960s.
"The Varanasi Centre would help increase farmers' income by enhancing and supporting rice productivity, reducing cost of production, value addition, diversification and enhancement of farmers' skills," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.
Spokesperson in the external affairs ministry Raveesh Kumar said the IRRI has successfully collaborated with Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) to introduce drought-tolerant, flood-tolerant and salt-tolerant varieties of rice in India.
Mr Kumar said the IRRI and its partners have provided assistance to 2,00,000 women farmers in Odisha which included providing capacity building programmes, and improved agriculture technology.
The IRRI centre in Varanasi will help in utilising the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties.
PM Modi arrived in Philippines on Sunday on a three-day visit to attend the ASEAN-India and the East Asia summits.
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