Case Study Sector
Asia was desperate for food after World War II. Only massive shipments of U.S. grain prevented famine.
Rice was, and is, Asia’s lifeblood. That’s why the Ford and Rockefeller foundations pooled resources and, in 1960, established a modern research center to focus on the world’s most important crop: the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in Los Baños, Philippines.
Robert Chandler, IRRI’s first director, assembled a team with a mission: to develop a high-yielding rice variety.
The remarkable rice-breeding project culminated in the release of a rice variety under an unremarkable name—IR8. This is the story of the research that would ultimately change the face of agriculture across Asia.