International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice 

Working together or rice varietal evaluation, improved variety release to benefit global rice farmers and consumers

The International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice or INGER is a global model for the exchange, evaluation, release, and use of genetic resources under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)Established in 1975, initially as International Rice Testing Program or IRTP and funded by UNDP, and later named as INGER, it is a consortium of national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) of rice-growing countries and international agricultural research centers (IARCs) such as the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) under the umbrella of OneCGIAR. 

Benefits from INGER 

INGER and National Agriculture Research and Extension Partners (NARES) partners work together to evaluate diverse rice pre-variety improved elite lines for fast tracking varietal release under vagaries of climate change, changing market demand to benefit global rice farmers. INGER also supports organizations without full fledged breeding programs having crossing and selection infrastructure, to release varieties to ensure benefits of improved varieties to all global farmers. INGER creates a community for sharing advanced pre-variety elite lines across global rice breeding organizations for benefit of all. 

It supports faster access to advanced breeding lines through modern breeding methods and best practices of selection. Since IRRI breeding programs continually develop new rice breeding lines through crosses utilizing breeding lines which carry farmer and end user desired characters, NARES partners get access to new genetic combinations annually through pre-tested rice elite breeding lines. These elite breeding lines are evaluated in the local NARES environments to capture differences in Genotype x Environment x Management practices and select best performing pre-variety breeding lines for nomination to national variety release systems. For Global Impact of INGER see below.

How INGER works

  1. INGER is a rice pre-variety elite breeding lines evaluation network. IRRI breeding programs predominantly contribute advanced elite rice breeding lines to INGER. For how to obtain trials from INGER see below. INGER only distributes seeds in the form of trials for evaluation and does not send individual seed packets for any trait. . INGER caters for public sector organizations for rice research and breeding. It does not produce or share seed commercial quantities or to private sector. INGER enables NARES partners to directly release varieties from INGER germplasm shared by IRRI, however recipient partner is expected to acknowledge contribution of the INGER IRRI or NARES contributing partner. Varieties should not be released without such acknowledgement. Details are provided in the SMTA and OMTA shared by IRRI prior to sharing trial seed consignments.

  2. NARES public sector institutions can also contribute advanced elite rice breeding lines to INGER with with appropriate Standard Material Transfer Agreements (SMTA) originating from FAO. For how to nominate pre-variety elite rice breeding lines to INGER see below. Breeding materials sent to IRRI for INGER purpose under SMTA from any organization or country are automatically considered for distribution to INGER partners. These entries are not restricted in any way including for commercialization by any recipient partner. However recipient partner is expected to acknowledge contribution of the INGER IRRI or NARES contributing partner. Varieties should not be released without such acknowledgement.

  3. Seeds are multiplied at IRRI whether received from IRRI breeders or through nominations from NARES. All seeds are subjected to quarantine required testing at IRRI Seed Health Unit (SHU) for seed health as per Philippines Bureau of Plant Industries (BPI) guidelines and regulations. 

  4. The predominant trial types are Irrigated, Rainfed, Upland as three predominant ecosystems, Blast, Bacterial Blight, Tungro as predominant diseases types, Brown Plant Hopper as a predominant pest and drought, flood, salinity, cold tolerance selections for abiotic stresses, High level of Zinc in the grain as nutritional enhancement. These trial types are based on the availability of elite breeding lines in any given year.

  5. IRRI will send a request for NARES partners to request the trial types required each year and provides the list of trial types available each year for sharing from IRRI. NARES partners request trials annually for evaluation 6-8 months in advance to assist IRRI in seed multiplication and planning. This will also assist NARES partners to plan ahead for the trials to be conducted based on their needs and requirements. 

  6. NARES trial partners receive trials only after the IRRI INGER team receives trial request, import permits and acceptance of SMTA and IRRI Open Material Transfer Agreement (OMTA) which contains IRRI specific clauses. All import permits are developed and applied for by the NARES focal person collaborator in each country.

  7. NARES partners and Cooperators evaluate the trials under appropriate ecosystems or biotic and or abiotic hotspots to conduct selections for the region. IRRI provides data sheets, trial layout based on the design, for sowing and data collection. IRRI also provides character rating guidelines as per the Standard Evaluation System (SES) developed at IRRI. NARES partners can also attend Rice Production Training courses at IRRI to enhance their knowledge and information apart from interaction with the INGER team.

  8. NARES partners use the best lines for direct varietal release as per their national variety release systems or as parents in hybridization or for co-development of lines through crosses. 

Global impact 

  • INGER through sharing of higher performance pre-variety rice breeding lines and evaluation in local NARES environments and selections for high performance including higher yields, supports national goals towards rice self-sufficiency and enables updating of rice reserves for need during crises such as floods, droughts, and other natural calamities. This has a significant impact on food security. University of Yale, economists, Evenson, and Gollin in 1997 estimated that each released variety contributes US$2.5 M annually to the global economy. INGER as a long term program continues to support Sustainable Development Goals such as Zero Hunger, Improved livelihood by providing rice varieties with higher performance and climate resilience. 

  • INGER has trained several thousand scientists directly at IRRI HQ based in Los Banos, or through workshops held bi annually in various advancement in breeding methods and selections. INGER continues to enhance the scientific capacity of the NARES partners through scientific visits and virtual meetings. 

  • Since its founding, the INGER program has provided more than 70,000 breeding lines developed by IRRI and NARES partners in 600 research stations and 85 countries. INGER has facilitated more than 1,300 varieties in rice producing countries and numerous popular rice varieties which contain IRRI-developed germplasm as one or both of the parents. and enable farmers to get varieties with desired characters and end users to utilize higher quality rice. Several varieties tested through the INGER program including IR 8, IR 64, IR 36, IR 72, IRRI 154, IRRI 156 have been performing very well across several countries. 

  • NARES partners such as India, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Uganda, Bangladesh have all contributed pre-variety germplasm to INGER for free distribution to the NARES partners. Such a partnership has led to access to pre-variety germplasm to many aspirational development countries and developed countries to strengthen the rice research as a whole and increase genetic diversity of rice benefitting all users along the supply chain. 

  • In ASEAN alone INGER evaluation has led to over 430 varieties being released. Some of the best performers have been IR 64, IR 72, IR 36 which have been mega varieties and varieties such as IRRI 154, IRRI 156 have performed across countries like the Philippines, contributing to food self sufficiency and security. INGER’s impact is even more pronounced in smaller and newer breeding programs. Percentages of varietal releases directly or indirectly traceable to INGER were 73% for Nepal, 72% for Myanmar, 61% for Indonesia, and 51% for Cambodia.

  • In India, 25% of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) have been due to evaluation under the INGER program. Over 250 varieties with INGER-derived parents have been released in 24 Indian states. India has contributed several hundred rice lines to INGER. In China, 246 inbreds and 34 hybrids have been developed using INGER materials directly or indirectly. From 1981–2012, 16.6M hectares planted to INGER-derived materials produced 6.2M tons valued at US$53M. Over 13,000 inbred lines were sent to China for evaluation, over 2,600 lines have been utilized in crosses, and 560 Chinese varieties have been nominated to INGER by China.

    Obtaining rice elite breeding lines from INGER for evaluation under trial

    INGER germplasm is sent under FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). to facilitate the sharing and exchange of the germplasm developed by various organizations across several countries which are not yet released as a variety in the public domain but still under development (PGRFA under development: PGRFA-UD) FAO developed a Multi Lateral System.


    To assist the countries to exchange germplasm under the multilateral system, FAO has developed Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA). SMTA allows organizations in countries to record and share germplasm among organizations for research and development purposes with or without extra attached conditions in alignment with the FAO guidelines as the treaty.


    Study the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) carefully, and verify that you are able to comply with it. IRRI follows the “Shrink Wrap System as per FAO guide page 55. IRRI will also send an Open Material Transfer Agreement (OMTA) with specific conditions set by IRRI for its Intellectual Property Management as per CGIAR guidelines.


    Only improved rice breeding lines PGRFA-UD and pre-released improved varieties are part of INGER network. Land races, heritage rice, wild rice, Genetically Modified Organisms, Gene Edited Organisms are not part of INGER.


    INGER Head at IRRI will send email to all the INGER partners with documents for requesting INGER trials each year.

    All requests for INGER trials must come from Authorized person from the organization who is employed by the organization. Requests must be sent at least 6-8 months prior to sowing time with additional time added for obtaining import permits and other clearances.

    Please Send request by email together with the following:

    • Name of the requester with designation and organizational details

    • A statement of the purpose for which you need the material. Project proposal brief with names or multi organizations if needed. If the project involves private organization it must be disclosed. IRRI will not send germplasm to private sector under INGER network.

    • A statement that SMTA accepted by the authorized person in the organization.

    • The person or organization who should be named as recipient in SMTA

    • An import permit, if needed

    • GMO free certification if required.

    • Phytosanitary instructions (commonly included with the import permit)

    • Shipping particulars if any. IRRI will generally send seed through double layered cardboard boxes housing the seed packed in sealed plastic bags.

    • Shipping address with any special shipping instructions if any 

    Nominating pre-variety advanced rice breeding lines/varieties for distribution under INGER

    For nominations of elite pre-variety advanced rice lines to INGER, please first communicate first with the Head of INGER under Experts. INGER team (contacts) will guide you.

     All seed nominated to INGER must be approved by an authorized person in a particular organization for the sharing and distribution to INGER members without any restrictions by the nominating organization. All germplasm must be accompanied by the documented information for claiming the ownership of the germplasm, quarantine and customs compliance information.

    Nominating organizations must be the owners and developers of the PGRFA-UD. All germplasms are property of the organizations not individuals of the organizations. Hence even a breeder will not own the rights to a particular rice breeding germplasm.


    Individual farmers are not allowed to nominate any line to INGER and INGER will not provide germplasm to individuals including farmers.