Ag Tech and Research News

IRRI and Department of Agriculture sign agreement anew to boost PH rice industry development

19 February 2024, Philippines: The Philippine Department of Agriculture entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to continue their collaborative efforts to enhance the country’s rice sector competitiveness during a signing ceremony on 13 February 2024.

The move is a bid to support the Philippine Development Plan that provides a policy framework for effective public investments towards making the country food secure, achieving an inclusive and globally competitive rice industry, and enhancing farmers’ resiliency to the changing climate.

The signing of the MoU not only underscores IRRI’s commitment to collaboration with Department of Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr., but also marks the first formal agreement between the two parties since he took office.This also reflects his emphasis on the critical role of research in fostering the growth of the rice industry and safeguarding the welfare of farmers and consumers alike.

Under the five-year agreement, the DA and IRRI will implement rice and rice-based research for development (R4D) projects anchored in the four-point strategy of the government’s Masagana Rice Industry Development Program and specifically, DA’s plan to boost the agriculture and fisheries sector. These endeavors aim to  optimize yields, reduce risk, and increase resilience to climate change, achieving economies of scale, more efficient operations, while also promoting digital transformation and agribusiness development.

“We will leverage our already successful joint projects with the DA in crafting this next phase of our partnership. This agreement not only ensures strategic alignment of IRRI’s research with national priorities but also strengthens the country’s rice R&D capabilities for future problem-solving needs,” said IRRI Interim Director General Dr. Ajay Kohli.

The MOU signing represents a continuation of the longstanding partnership between IRRI and DA, which has yielded numerous technological and institutional innovations specifically tailored to Philippine conditions. These include new rice varieties that will increase farmers’ yields, climate adaptation, support for the digital transformation of the rice sector and policy research. Many of these initiatives have been primed for further expansion and scaling in 2024 and IRRI plans to further collaborate with the DA on the development and roll out of low glycemic index rice, in collaboration with PhilRice, that can help reverse rising diabetes levels, and precision agriculture and digitalization.

The strong relationship between IRRI and the DA was also emphasized in its successful co-organizing of the 6th International Rice Congress (IRC2023) in Manila last October 2023. At this congress, President Marcos, Jr. addressed the international participants, highlighting the challenges facing the Philippine rice industry. He emphasized the importance of collaboration with international institutions like IRRI in finding innovative  solutions to strengthen the rice sector, calling upon government agencies and private sector partners to contribute to this endeavor.

Moving forward, the collaboration between the DA and IRRI will focus on leveraging digital technology, extension services, and scientific capacity development to empower stakeholders across the rice and agricultural landscape. By fostering innovation and collaboration, DA and IRRI aim to drive sustainable growth and resilience in the Philippine rice industry.

Also Read: Promising Outlook for Normal Monsoon in India in 2024

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)