Philippine Agriculture Secretary visits IRRI Headquarters to explore collaboration opportunities for boosting rice sector

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LOS BAÑOS, Laguna (6 March 2024) – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) welcomed the Secretary of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. at its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna during his first 100 days in office. IRRI showcased cutting-edge technologies aligning with the Secretary’s eight-point plan for advancing the agriculture sector.

Dr. Alice Laborte, Senior Scientist II at IRRI, outlined methods for IRRI to accelerate rice production, highlighting a suite of technologies categorized in four areas: nutritious rice, high-productivity rice, climate-resilient rice, and low-carbon rice.

Nutritious rice focuses initially on low and ultra-low glycemic index rice to curb diabetes and provide better returns for farmers. The rice varieties also ensure excellent taste, and cooking qualities to match consumer preferences, and will address nutritional gaps and lower the risk of diseases.

High-productivity rice involves developing high-yielding rice varieties, implementing technology in farming processes, improving post-harvest handling and storage, ensuring soil health, managing pests and diseases, providing training for farmers, and supporting policies. The goal is to optimize farming methods, increase yield, and boost the competitiveness of rice farmers.

Climate-resilient rice will target the farmers in areas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change like higher temperatures, floods and droughts. It will entail identifying superior rice varieties that can better withstand the impacts of climate change and promoting sustainable farming practices. This helps smallholder farmers cope with severe climate effects and minimizes environmental impact.

Meanwhile, low-carbon rice refers to the promotion of environmentally-friendly farming practices aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from rice cultivation such as alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation techniques, direct-seeded rice (DSR) and straw management.

The Agriculture Secretary, who also sits as one of the IRRI Board…

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