Los Banos (Philippines), May 30 : The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has appointed a leading German soil scientist as head of its research programs for the next five years.
Born in East Germany, Achim Dobermann takes over one of the world's largest and most respected rice research programs at a crucial time for the crop that feeds almost half the world.
Rice production is under unprecedented pressure globally, causing rice prices to rise to historically high levels. Rice research will also be on the agenda of the United Nations High-Level Conference on World Food Security next week.
As IRRI's new deputy director general for research, Dr. Dobermann is responsible for rice research programs, projects, and activities in almost every Asian nation as well as important new partnerships in Africa. He was recruited from his position as a full professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, one of the world's leading agricultural research and extension institutions.
"Dr. Dobermann brings to the position the energy, enthusiasm, and expertise to drive and direct the research that can reverse the decline in productivity gains that have resulted in the world consuming more rice than it produces-and the consequent price rises that can push poor rice consumers deeper into poverty," said IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler.
"The appointment of Dr. Dobermann," said Dr. Zeigler, "furthers IRRI's mission to attract some of the best and brightest minds in the world to solve the biggest problems facing rice production in Asia and beyond."