June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

DA proposes partnership to showcase IRRI technologies in commercial scale

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will expand its strategic partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to showcase the research institute’s technologies and foster development of more nutritious, higher-yielding, climate-resilient and environment-friendly rice varieties.

During a meeting with IRRI officials in Los Baños, Laguna, Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr.  said the DA is looking for cluster of farm lands where IRRI could showcase seed varieties and technologies it has developed to further increase rice output, especially in the face of climate change.

El Nino, La Nina and other weather phenomena have adversely affected rice production worldwide, causing a spike in the price of the grain that is a staple food for over 3 billion people in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

“Together with farmers, DA and its Operating Units like PhilRice, NIA, the National Rice Program, LGUs and IRRI, we will showcase convergence of interventions and services like mechanization and digitalization in these clustered farms. This, basically, will be commercial-scale testing. If you agree with that concept, we will find the legal framework to do it, and fund it,” Sec. Tiu Laurel said.

“We can make it a reality by the second half of this year,” he added.

Cao Duc Phat, chairman of IRRI’s board of trustees, welcomed Sec. Tiu Laurel’s proposal, underscoring the need to show that technologies developed by IRRI works as shown in the case Vietnam, which has emerged as major rice producer and primary source of imported rice for the Philippines. Phat is a former minister of agriculture and rural development of Vietnam. 

“That is the best music to our ears. We are very much up for that. Scaling is important,” said Phat. “The Philippines can be the model to the rest of the world to show how to bring these packages of technologies to be useful to the environment, to the farmers, and to the people generally. So we are very happy to do that,” he added.

Sec. Tiu Laurel also sought IRRI’s support for   government’s goal of attaining a rice self-sufficient and nutrition-secure Philippines by 2028.

“Let us continue to work together on technology scaling, utilization and deployment, as well as in setting priority research-for-development projects,” the agri chief said.

Headquartered in the Philippines, IRRI played a key role in the so-called “Green Revolution” in Asia in the 1960s and 1970s. Its development of semi-dward varieties, including IR8, saved India from famine and its continuing research has developed other varieties that are climate resilient, more nutritious and yields more per hectare. 

IRRI is an independent, non-profit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government.