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World Wide Success in Mutation Breeding for Food Security - Achievement and Outstanding Achievement Awards

News Article
2 October 2014

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano made an opening statement

This year, the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

On the occasion of this milestone of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, Achievement and Outstanding Achievement Awards were initiated to honor and appreciate the successes of Member States in plant mutation breeding and to further promote the use of nuclear techniques for sustainable food security.

Forty-three (43) official nominations were received. An international selection panel was set up for the evaluation, and identified five Outstanding Achievement Awardees from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Peru, Viet Nam (alphabetical order) and 18 Achievement Awardees from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Viet Nam, Yemen (alphabetical order).

The main criteria for selection were the number of mutant varieties released, the farm area covered with these varieties, and the socio-economic impact such as additional income per year or value at farm-gate.

The Awards were handed out to the representatives of the concerned countries in the form of a certificate at an official ceremony during the 58th General Conference in the presence of the IAEA Director General on 24 September 2014.


The application of mutation techniques, i.e. gamma rays and other physical mutagens has generated a vast amount of genetic variability and is playing a significant role in plant breeding and genetics and advanced genomics studies. The widespread use of mutation techniques in plant breeding programmes throughout the world has led to the official release of more than 3200 mutant varieties from more than 200 different plant species, in more than 70 countries. These varieties provide higher yields, better quality, resistance to diseases and resilience to climate change and variability.

A large majority of these varieties (including cereals, pulses, oil, root and tuber crops, and ornamentals) have been released in developing countries, resulting in enormous positive economic impacts. Their contribution to the national economies is measured in billions of dollars, and they are grown on hundreds of millions of ha cropping area. Thus, plant mutation breeding is an efficient tool for preserving and enhancing global food security.

Outstanding Achievement Award Recipients

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Representative of Permanent Representation of Peru

Peru - Cereal and Native Grains Research Program, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina
In Peru, farming activities 3000 meters above sea level are very limited by the harsh conditions of the environment.

The Cereal and Native Grains Research Program produced improved mutant barley and Amaranth varieties, thriving at up to 5000 m altitude, thus providing the 7 million Andean farmers living there with more food and income and enhancing their life quality.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Permanent Representative of China HE Mr Cheng Jingye

China - Team of Radiation Mutant Breeding, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences
The team has released 17 mutant varieties, including eight rice, five wheat and four barely cultivars.

Three of the mutant wheat varieties together cover more than 30 million ha and create more than 30 billion Yuan RMB (about US$ 4.9 billion) of socio-economic benefit.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Representative of Permanent Representation of Bangladesh

Bangladesh - Dr Mirza Mofazzal Islam, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture
Nine mutant varieties were released by this institute (fibre jute, vegetable jute, mungbean, chickpea) with improved yield and quality traits and are widely accepted by farmers for cultivation.

The mutant varieties have an increased yield ranging from 20 to 45% compared to other existing crop varieties and the area cultivated by these mutant varieties is increasing.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Permanent Representative of Indonesia HE Mr Rachmat Budiman

Indonesia - Plant Breeding Group, Centre for Isotopes and Radiation Application, National Nuclear Energy Agency, BATAN
Twenty mutant rice varieties have been released by the Plant Breeding Group. This represents 10% of the total rice varieties registered in the country, and thus has a major positive socio-economic impact.

Total income from one top mutant rice variety is estimated at US$ 2 billion. Hundreds of thousands of farmers in Indonesia and millions of Indonesian citizens have benefited from the release of mutant varieties.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Permanent Representative of Viet Nam HE Mr. Nguyen Thiep

Viet Nam - Agricultural Genetics Institute, Viet Nam Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Rice and soybean mutant varieties improve farmer’s livelihoods: one top mutant rice variety from the Agricultural Genetics Institute created a total value of US$ 3.3 billion, an increase of US$ 537.6 million compared to the old varieties.

Soybean mutant varieties have brought product value of US$ 3 billion, and increased the income for 3.48 million farmers by 30%.

Achievement Award Recipients:

- XYW Rice Team, Institute of Nuclear Agricultural Sciences, Zhejiang University - China
- Plant Mutation Breeding Team, Bhabha Atomic Research Institute - India
- Wheat Mutation Breeding Team, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences - China
- Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission - Pakistan
- Genetics Breeding Team of SIAE, Sichuan Institute of Atomic Energy - China
- Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences & Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute - Vietnam
- Dr Sekander Hussaini, Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan - Afghanistan
- Rice Department, Bureau of Rice Research Development, Department of Agriculture - Thailand
- Research Group: Use of in vivo and in vitro induced mutation in plant breeding, CENA, IAC, IAPAR, EPAGRI, CENTRO DE MELHORAMENTO GENETICO DO FUMO, CLONE VIVEIROS E FRUTICULTURA,    ESALQ, UNESP - Brazil
- Radiation Breeding Team, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute - Korea
- Dr Abdel Shafy Ibrahim Ragab, Nuclear Research Centre, Atomic Energy Authority - Egypt
- Prof. Udda Lindqvist, Nordic Genetic Resource Centre - Sweden
- Phuong Tan Tran and Cua Quang Ho, Department of Agricultural and Rural Development - Vietnam
- Dr Maria Caridad González Cepero, National Institute of Agricultural Science - Cuba
- Dr Abdulwahid A Saif, Agricultural Research & Extension Authority - Yemen
- Malaysian Nuclear Agency - Malaysia
- Rice Research Division, National Institute of Crop Science, Rural Development Administration - Korea
- Department of Agriculture - Sri Lanka

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