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President Aquino visits International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Laguna

LOS BANOS, Laguna) President Benigno S. Aquino III visited on Thursday the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to get an update on the progress of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the institute with the aim of enhancing their collaboration in support for the Philippines’ Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP).

Upon his arrival here, the chief executive was welcomed by Dr. Emerlinda Roman, IRRI Board of Trustees chair, Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI Deputy Director General for Communications and Partnerships and other IRRI officials.

The President’s visit coincided with the celebration of the 2013 National Year of Rice. Also in attendance were Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad.

The President also visited the IRRI to help highlight the important role of the research in boosting the country’s rice production.

During the visit, President Aquino was given an overview of the IRRI’s history since 1960, and an update on the collaboration between the DA and IRRI to support the (FSSP).

Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman and Dr. Achim Dobermann made a presentation on IRRI’s research agenda at the Board Room located at the FF Hill Building at the IRRI headquarters. They presented a statistic to the President showing no slowdown in global rice consumption and discussed with him the global per capita rice consumption and the productivity and proficiency growth.

They, likewise, briefed the President on the various IRRI programs such as Home of the Green Revolution, the new breeding products, mechanized diversified cropping systems, ecological intensification platform at IRRI, Solar bubble dryer prototype, the new business models for smallholder farming, training of extension agronomists from Africa, among others.

Sec. Alcala and Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino also conducted a presentation regarding several programs and initiatives launched through IRRI-Philippines partnership such as the Green Revolution, Restoring Ecosystem resilience to control inspect pests, Alternate Wetting and Drying Rice Knowledge Bank, among others.

“The Philippines is more focused than ever before on improving productivity in its rice sector to meet its rice self-sufficiency targets,” Dobermann said in a statement.

“We are also working closely with Philippine agencies to develop real-time maps of rice production. So, at any point of time, we will able to tell the state of the nation’s rice crop,” Dobermann said

Sec. Alcala and Director General Robert Zeigler of the IRRI signed in December, 2012 the MOA which aims to support the delivery research and extension services of the FSSP. The program is aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in rice and other food staples by 2013 – the National Year of Rice.

Under the FSSP, the DA aims to strenghten national resilience to impacts of climate change in attaining the objective of meeting the domestic requirements of riceit his year.

The President’s visit to IRRI was highlighted by a tour to the IRRI’s International Rice Genebank that conserves more than 117,000 different types of rice, including nearly 10,000 from the Philippines. The rice seed preserved in the International Rice Genebank is the source of valuable traits for the development of new and improved rice varieties for future generations.

A total of 101 bred varieties have been released in the Philippines suited to irrigated, rainfed, upland, low-temperature and saline environments.

The collaboration between the IRRI and the Philippines has helped enhanced the Philippines’ excellent international standing and impact in agricultural research productivity.

The Philippines was the first country to get the IRRI’s Nutrient Manager for Rice Mobile and App that deliver site-specific nutrient management advice to farmers via their mobile phones.

October 22, 2014 02:21:05