Rice value chain © Adaivorukamuthan, Unsplash


Rice is the major staple food worldwide, and will continue to be so in the coming décades. Although most of what is produced is consumed in producing countries, international trade is progressing rapidly, from less than 4% of total output in the mid-1990s to almost 10% in 2015. However, even if rice production increases, there are no guarantees that the increase will cover future demand. CIRAD is therefore involved in international and global research programmes on rice and rice growing. It is specifically interested in rice growing in marginal environments, which are often associated with increased poverty.

Our remits and research fields

CIRAD's research is conducted within a framework of strong partnerships.

  •  A global partnership coordinating operations at the main international research organizations working on rice production-marketing systems and the associated value chains.
  • Platforms in partnership for research and training in the global South.

Some 50 scientists are involved in fulfilling the various remits:

  • analyses of public policy and value chain dynamics
  • rice genome editing
  • sustainable technical and social management of water supplies
  • design of cropping systems based on the concepts of conservation agriculture
  • modelling of the interactions between rice and its biophysical environment, on a cellular, whole plant, plant cover and landscape level
  • creation-dissemination of new rice varieties better suited to current and future environmental constraints and market demand.


  • Economic analyses of the rice sector in support of development policies, diagnostic analyses of value chain performance in conjunction with institutional organization.
  • Rice development project feasibility studies.
  • Design and coordination of R&D projects for rainfed rice, including sustainable management of natural resources, and irrigated rice, including the hydro-agricultural infrastructure component.
  • Advice on the development of sustainable cropping systems, including agronomic management and varietal choice in line with the production site.
  • Assessment of rice research and development projects.
  • Agronomic and varietal choice advice at production sites.
  • Analyses of the conditions for establishing geographical indications or terroirs.
  • Laboratory analyses: soils, leaves, diseases, varietal purity, etc.
  • Analyses of the organoleptic and technological quality (sensorial and instrumental analyses) of rice grains.


Biodiversity and exploitation of genetic resources

  • Genetic resource management, analyses of gene diversity and flows, molecular biology, ecophysiology, varietal creation and breeding.
  • Seed production, including F1 hybrid seeds.

Optimization of production

  • Agronomic engineering for the design of systems based on DMC or conservation agriculture.
  • Cropping practices and fertilization.
  • Weed and pest control.
  • Technical and social management of water supplies.

Crop models

  • PYE: agro-climatic yield simulator.
  • SAMARA: trait assembly and environmental response simulator, aimed at pinpointing plant ideotypes and testing them in variable climatic environments, in combination with different agronomic parameters.
  • RiDev: simulator of rice spikelet phenology and sterility as a function of temperature constraints.

Decision support and stakeholder capacity building

  • Design of rice market observatories and information systems.
  • Training in supply chain analysis and information system management by stakeholders.
  • Support of public policy decisions and of the negotiating capacity of producers' organizations.