IRRI appoints Elizabeth Woods as new Chair of its Board of Trustee

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New Delhi, Sept 27 (UNI) The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has announced the appointment of leading Australian agricultural scientist Elizabeth Woods as the new chair of its Board of Trustees.

A former Rhodes Scholar and winner of several honors in Australian agriculture, Dr Woods is recognized as an expert in tropical and subtropical agriculture and agribusiness, an IRRI release received here today said.

She takes over from Keijiro Otsuka, a respected agricultural economist from Japan, who is stepping down officially after almost four years in the position. IRRI's independent 15-member Board of Trustees meets twice a year to set the Institute's policies and review its research agenda.

The Board met last week in Vientiane to confirm the new appointment which is effective January 1, 2008.

Dr Woods is currently Foundation Professor of Agribusiness at the School of Natural and Rural Systems Management at the University of Queensland in Australia. Her role there is to provide leadership in the areas of agribusiness and rural management to enhance the university's service to tropical Australia and Asia.

She previously chaired Australia's Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Dr Woods, who was elected to the IRRI board two years ago, takes over as chair at a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity in rice research and production. "World food reserves, including those for rice, are low and cereal prices are high. In this context, my priorities will be to focus IRRI on its core mission - to improve the efficiency and sustainability of rice production," Dr. Woods said.

Dr Woods further said she would particularly encourage IRRI to focus on the needs of rice farmers and others in the rice supply chain, including the many women who are playing increasingly important roles in their family farms and professions.

UNI

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