Mechanization and Technology

IRRI and Philippine Agriculture Department announce International Rice Congress 2023’s cross-continental keynote speakers line up

19 July 2023, Philippines: An assembly of cross-continental experts in rice science and technology is set to lead the programs and discussions in the upcoming International Rice Congress 2023 (IRC 2023).

These resource persons representing the academia, private companies, and research institutions in countries across Asia, Africa, as well as the United States are setting the tone at this year’s IRC to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, Philippines on 16-19 October.

The keynote speakers include epigenetics expert Dr. Sally Mackenzie, Director of the Plant Institute; Huck Chair of Functional Genomics; Professor of Biology and of Plant Science at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), and Dr. Yvonne Pinto, Director Bioeconomy AgBio at Eagle Genomics Ltd., among other high level speakers from the research and private sectors.

Representatives from the Department of Agriculture and IRRI held a press conference at IRRI’s Los Baños headquarters to share key conference updates and IRRI-DA collaborations on climate resilient rice among other issues.

“This year’s IRC is an excellent platform for rice professionals to network, learn from other experts, and update themselves on current knowledge and practice. We are pleased to gather the foremost experts from all over the world here in the Philippines,” said Alice Laborte, Senior Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Laborte is a member of the Overall Organizing Committee at IRC.

Michael Graham, Head of Crop Science Research and Development Breeding of Bayer Crop Science is also expected to give a keynote address as the event’s platinum sponsor. IRC Silver Sponsor, Regrow Ag, will be represented by William Salas, its Chief Strategy Officer.

“IRC is the largest gathering of stakeholders of rice-based food systems worldwide. We are delighted to have a set of keynote speakers that will provide critical perspectives on the most timely rice cultivation issues globally, whether it be flood-resistant seeds or agronomic practices, agricultural IT solutions or post-harvest technologies” said Ajay Kohli, Deputy Director General for Research at IRRI. He is also a member of the IRC 2023 Overall Organizing Committee.

Meanwhile, the Africa-Asia panel will explore rice cultivation challenges, knowledge gaps and complementary solutions on each continent.

The panel’s experts will include Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE), New Delhi and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Dr. Baboucarr Manneh, Director General of AfricaRice; Dr Keijiro Otsuka, Professor Development Economics, Kobe University, Japan.

IRC is an important forum for identifying solutions that can contribute to the future productivity improvements needed, including the latest findings in genetic research. Bringing rice experts together in one venue at the IRC 2023 is a significant advantage for participants representing the entire rice value chain – from rice farmers and producers to marketers and consumers.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture is the co-organizer of the IRC 2023 together with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

“The Philippine government supports advances in agricultural research and technologies, especially those that can modernize farming practices while simultaneously enhancing food security. Events like IRC play a pivotal role in presenting and disseminating new knowledge in the rice sector,“ said Mercedita Sombilla, Undersecretary, Philippine Department of Agriculture. Sombilla is one of the Alternate Co-Chairs of the IRC 2023 High Level Advisory Committee.

Started in 2002 and held every four years, the International Rice Congress has served as a platform for scientists, experts, and decision makers from the government, private, and public sector to develop evidence-based solutions to the challenges of the global rice sector. Rice, the staple food for more than half of the global population, remains a critical commodity for farmers, consumers, and government decision makers.

With its central theme “Accelerating Transformation of Rice-Based Food Systems: From Gene to Globe,” IRC 2023 will highlight solutions and innovations that could help address critical issues on agriculture and climate change, food and nutrition security, environmental sustainability, and human and economic development.

The sixth edition of International Rice Congress will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which has recently been declared as a Natural Cultural Treasure for its richness in Filipino history, heritage and culture. Previous International Rice Congress have been held in Beijing (2002), New Delhi (2006), Hanoi (2010), Bangkok (2014), and Singapore (2018). This year’s congress will be the first edition held in the Philippines, the headquarters of IRRI.

The last International Rice Congress attracted some 1,500 delegates from 64 countries, including high-level representatives from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development, governments of India, Uganda and Singapore, Bayer Crop Science, Oxfam, and Corteva Agriscience. The event also featured over 300 posters with technical details on individual topics and more than 400 research presentations of different studies across the globe.

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