(MSSRF file pic: Prof Swaminathan at the Foundation Stone laying ceremony for the rice biopark at Yezin, Nay Pyi Taw, Feb 2013)
On the basis of my suggestion, a few years ago, the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs decided to extend support to Myanmar in the following two projects,. First, establishment of an Advanced Centre for Agriculture Research and Education (ACARE) and second, establishment of a Rice BioPark for the preparation and marketing of value added products from the rice biomass consisting of straw, bran, husk and grain. I am happy that the visit of Her Excellency Aung San Suu Kyi, as Myanmar’s Foreign Minister to our country has resulted in a further strengthening of the collaboration with Myanmar in areas relating to sustainable development and food security. When we prepared the proposal for the Rice BioPark, Her Excellency Aung San Suu Kyi was leader of the opposition. The then Indian Ambassador and I met her in her office in Parliament and explained the proposals for Myanmar – India collaboration in agricultural research and biomass utilisation. She was extremely happy that India will extend its expertise in breaking the linkage between paddy and poverty. I mentioned to her that our aim is to reverse the paradigm and link paddy with prosperity.
The Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi is implementing ACARE, while the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) is implementing the establishment of the Rice BioPark, an idea which was conceived by me many years ago. I established the first Rice BioPark at the International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos in 1985. By promoting the use of every part of the rice plant for preparing value added products, we can improve the income and prosperity of rice farm families. Linking Paddy and Prosperity would then become a reality.