President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. focused on collaborative strategies to strengthen the country’s agricultural value chain during his visit to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna on November 29, 2022.
“Ang magandang naging resulta nitong pagbisita ay marami tayong nakita na meron talaga silang bagong technologies that are completely appropriate for the Philippine setting. Nabigyan kami ng pag-asa. Now it’s up to us now in the Philippine government to make sure those technologies, those products go down to the grassroots,” President Marcos said.
The President emphasized the importance of research and development as the first link of the agricultural value chain. He added that he went to IRRI with some officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to reinforce the government’s partnership with the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science.
He also supported IRRI’s plan to establish One CGIAR (Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers) – Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional hub in the Philippines. IRRI is part of the CGIAR, which is a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis.
The DA and its agencies, particularly the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), continue to work closely with IRRI on numerous research projects to help improve the country’s rice industry.
During the President’s visit, the IRRI officials presented some technologies in crop establishment, land preparation, seed drying, and seed storage such as direct seeded rice, laser land leveling, solar bubble dryer, hermetic storage system, and drones for agricultural production.
Before joining the IRRI Board of Trustees Meeting as concurrent Agriculture Secretary and ex-officio member, President Marcos also toured the International Rice Genebank, which holds the biggest collection of rice genetic diversity in the world.
The rice sector remains as the Philippine government’s top priority and the whole DA agenda revolves around deploying and scaling innovations, building capacities, and adopting supportive policies to modernize the sector as directed by President Marcos.
DA’s plan includes strategic interventions that aim for higher and sustainable yields, rice sector resilience to shocks, price and quality competitiveness of rice grains in the local market, and capacity development, better extension services, and higher and stable incomes for rice farmers. (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)