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PBBM seeks sustainable rice value chains; reaffirms vow to modernize rice industry

MANILA -- President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday rallied stakeholders to support the government in elevating the current condition of the Philippine rice industry and pushing for sustainable rice value chains.

In his visit to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters in Los Banos, Laguna, President Marcos raised the need to adopt supportive policies to modernize the rice sector as part of a vibrant agri-food industry in the Philippines.

“There are new technologies that address the problems that we are facing, and that those technologies are beginning to be disseminated down to the local farmers,” the President said  in his speech.

Global issues, including the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, reminded the world of “how fundamental” the agriculture sector is, according to the President.

“The pandemic and the situation in Ukraine have been a glaring reminder of how fundamental the agricultural sector is and food supply is to not only in the Philippines but to the entire world,” the chief executive said.

“We hope to strengthen those partnerships because we very much need — not only to be able to disseminate or to provide these new varieties, the new techniques — but we also have to have a more focused approach to how we deal with the agricultural sector to the rice lands in the Philippines,” the President pointed out.

The President, who as head of the DA and is also an ex-officio member of IRRI’s Board of Trustees, recognized IRRI’s vigor and success over the years in the development of climate-resilient, high-yielding rice varieties and farming technologies that significantly improved farmers’ productivity, profitability, and competitiveness all over the world.

“I think that there is no way that I could overstate the importance of the work that you were doing. And so you – I have received so many thank yous from all of you. And I feel that perhaps it should I, it should be us from the Philippines who should be thanking you for the continuing thirst for knowledge that you have shown,” Marcos said.

President Marcos said agricultural technologies are being pursued as rice crops face risks from higher fertilizer prices and challenges in water management.

“And as I’ve said, it gives me hope to see the research that we were doing is headed exactly in those directions that we feel are going to be necessary — that we have to develop further,” the President said.

In his visit to the IRRI, President Marcos was briefed about the various initiatives being done to improve crop resilience, which includes direct seeding of rice, which is the process of putting up a rice crop from seeds sown in the field. It offers a more sustainable and environment-friendly option, reducing the labor and cost of rice production while significantly lowering water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Laser Land Leveling (LLL), on the other hand, is a laser-guided mechanized system to redistribute soil across a field for a leveled and uniform cultivation area, significantly improving water and input efficiency and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions of paddy farming.

Solar Bubble Dryer, meanwhile, is a low-cost seed drying technology that can be set up anywhere, eliminating losses from traditional sun drying such as spillage, animals, weather, and vehicles running over the grains.

For seed storage, President Marcos was briefed about the Hermetic Storage System, wherein airtight seed storage containers in various sizes help reduce oxygen and moisture penetration, minimizing losses from insects and rot and helping preserve grain quality for longer. (PND)

IRRI is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government.  It has offices in 17 rice-growing countries in Asia and Africa and employs more than 1,000 staff.

The IRRI is the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science; improving the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers and protecting the rice-growing environment for future generations. (PND)

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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