PM to inaugurate International Rice Congress on Oct 9

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New Delhi, Oct 7 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the 2nd International Rice Congress 2006 (IRC 2006) at Vigyan Bhawan, here on Monday, where 1,400 delegates from 40 different countries, will deliberate on various aspects of rice production with a special focus on the latest research, science and technology.

More than 900 research papers, including 300 from participating countries, will be presented during the 5-day mega Congress.

The Ist International Rice Congress was held in Beijing, China, in 2002.

Agriculture Ministers from India, China, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam will meet on October 10 to foster partnerships in rice research, development and trade.

At least four Chief Ministers from major rice producing states of the country will also attend the Rice Congress to discuss important aspects related to rice.

The event, first of its kind in India, is being organised by Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA).

The Congress will have four major events organised at National Agricultural Science Centre (NASC), namely 26th International Rice Research Conference (Oct 9-13), 2nd International Rice Commerce Conference (Oct 10-11), 2nd International Rice Technology and Cultural Exhibition (Oct 10-12) and 2nd International Ministerial Round Table Meeting (Oct 10).

''The IRC2006 aims to provide a common platform for sharing knowledge and expertise on research, extension, production, processing, trade, consumption and related activities with stakeholders,'' Dr Mangala Rai, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Director General of ICAR, told mediapersons here today.

At present, many nations are struggling to produce rice at lower cost due to deteriorating environment, Dr Rai said, adding that rice research and development also needs to address the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security and environmental conservation.

Due to high consumption of rice in developing countries, increasing its nutritional value can lead to significant positive health outcomes, he added.

Rice exports from India touched 5.06 million tonnes during 2005.

India was the third major rice exporter accounting for 13.5 per cent of the total global trade. Basmati exports clocked Rs 3000 crore and the overall export of rice crossed Rs 6,000 crore.

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